UK Biobank in £127.6m move to Manchester Science Park

UK Biobank, the large-scale biomedical database, is set to receive £127.6m to fund a move to purpose-built facility at Bruntwood SciTech’s Manchester Science Park.

The funding from the UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) Infrastructure fund will cover a state-of-the-art robotic freezer that stores and retrieves 20 million biological samples that have been donated by UK Biobank’s 500,000 participants. The facility is being developed with the support of The University of Manchester.

UK Biobank will continue to operate at multiple sites (including Bristol, Newcastle, Oxford, Reading, and Stockport) but its biological samples, laboratories, headquarters and around half of its 250 staff will move from their current home in Stockport, where they have been based for nearly two decades.

“We are thrilled to be moving to a world-leading centre for genomics and data, where we can build on existing relationships with The University of Manchester, the NHS, and global pharmaceutical and data science companies,” said Prof Sir Rory Collins, principal investigator and CEO of UK Biobank.

“We are incredibly grateful to UKRI for their funding and support which will help increase UK Biobank’s unrivalled work. With this funding it will be quicker and easier for researchers from around the world to conduct vital research into common and life-threatening diseases and enable new scientific discoveries that improve human health.”

Kath Mackay, director of life sciences at Bruntwood SciTech, said: “Manchester is a world-renowned hub for science and technology, and the ability for UK Biobank to grow here is testament to the quality of talent, innovation and support within the city. The development of Greenheys represents the third phase of our masterplan to grow Manchester Science Park to more than 1 million sq ft of cutting-edge life sciences and tech space which, critically, will support the creation of over 2,500 jobs as Manchester’s Oxford Road Corridor continues to thrive.”

The new scheme is subject to planning approval by Manchester City Council. UK Biobank’s relocation is supported by Arcadis, the global built environment consultancy. Bruntwood SciTech’s facility design team is led by BDP Manchester with Silcock Leedham, DW Consulting, Walker Sime and Deloitte.

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