Investment Zone launch heralded as major opportunity for region

Sci-Tech Daresbury

The Liverpool City Region Life Sciences Investment Zone has officially launched.

It is estimated that it will help achieve up to £800m of public and private investment and 8,000 new jobs.

It follows the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between Liverpool City Region Combined Authority and the Department of Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, unlocking the first instalment of the Government’s £160m contribution.

The city region’s Investment Zone plan includes an initial 21 projects designed to supercharge the economy by creating new hi-tech facilities, providing business and innovation support and training the next generation of talent.

Major developments are proposed at Sci-Tech Daresbury and Knowledge Quarter Liverpool, where two new buildings will provide additional commercial laboratory space to boost the city region’s world-leading infection innovation capabilities.

Key schemes are also planned for Maghull Health Park, St Helens Manufacturing and Innovation Campus and Earlsfield Park Knowsley, while other projects will drive breakthroughs in children’s health, infection control, vaccine production, personalised medicine and long-acting therapeutics and the use of data and AI to help people lead healthier lives.

The projects are detailed in an Investment Zone Prospectus which, in collaboration with the UK Office for Investment, was unveiled to global investors at global property event MIPIM last month and cited as a major international opportunity for the UK to grow its life sciences sector.

Liverpool City Region Combined Authority Executive Director Investment and Delivery, Dr Aileen Jones, said: “This is a landmark moment that promises to unlock huge amounts of funding and investment to drive the city region’s life sciences sector to the next level.

“It heralds a new chapter in the city region’s economy that will help drive our world leading innovation and create thousands of good quality, well paid jobs and training opportunities.”

The Investment Zone commences operation just weeks after AstraZeneca announced a £450m investment in its Speke vaccine facility, which is part of one of Europe’s largest biomanufacturing clusters.

Together with neighbouring Cheshire and Warrington, the city region already delivers £2bn of infectious disease research and development each year – the biggest concentration in the UK and one of the largest in Europe – with iiCON (Infection Innovation Consortium), led by Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine, and the Pandemic Institute set to expand their pioneering R&D through the Investment Zone programme.

The Liverpool City Region also has the UK’s largest concentration of specialist hospitals outside London and with more than 7,000 volunteers, is a leader in clinical trials.

Three Investment Zone tax sites at Maghull Health Park, St Helens Manufacturing and Innovation Campus and Sci-Tech Daresbury will offer financial benefits to expanding or relocating businesses, while Halton and St Helens borough councils will be able to retain business rates on new properties to help pay for further developments.

Investment Zone projects will provide business and innovation support, with KQ Liverpool and Inovus running new skills and talent programmes for local people to raise aspiration, expand opportunity and offer practical training leading to well paid employment.

Social value, net zero and equality, diversity and inclusion will be important considerations in project development.

The Investment Zone plans were developed in collaboration with the city region’s life sciences sector, with the University of Liverpool playing a major role. They will be overseen by the newly established Health and Life Sciences Cluster Board.