What the government’s Life Sciences Vision means for the construction industry

In the lead up to a major Science and Innovation Parks event I am attending next month, I have been reading the Government’s new 10 year strategy for the Life Sciences sector with interest. I am excited about the potential opportunities that could arise for our industry if the strategy is fully implemented over the coming years.

It is clear that Life Sciences is a real strength for the UK, and without getting into politics, I would agree with the introductory Foreword paragraph written by the Prime Minister: “I cannot think of a time when we have been more indebted to the astonishing power of Life Sciences, so much of it pioneered here in our United Kingdom.”

The new strategy, released last month, has three main objectives – 1) to build on our world class science and research capabilities, 2) to make the NHS the most powerful driver of innovation, and 3) to create outstanding business environments for Life Science companies.

I believe that the property and construction industries can contribute to all three of these objectives by providing high quality, flexible, and sustainable buildings, within collaborative environments. We have seen how the sector can also contribute to successful place making and delivering genuine regeneration and social value, and how this type of work can contribute to the levelling up agendas for both health and wealth, and the Building Back Better initiatives.

The objectives are not new, and are consistent with the vision set out in the 2017 Life Sciences Industrial Strategy and Life Sciences Sector Deals, but the impact of Brexit and Covid-19, and changes in the NHS, mean there are new opportunities to maximise the sector for the UK.

The new strategy sets out a vision where innovation in the sector takes the approach seen through the pandemic on the prevention, detection, diagnosis, and treatment of other diseases and illnesses – it is exciting to think that over the lifetime of this 10 year strategy the buildings we have worked on, and will work on in the future, could contribute to achieving these objectives.

Curtins has been heavily involved in the science and research sectors for numerous years, with many of these projects linked to Life Sciences and medical research and innovation. Our work in this sector includes working for public organisations such as Public Health England, large pharmaceutical companies, private sector developers, public private partnerships, health trusts, and over 40 universities.

We look forward to contributing to achieving this ambitious long term vision for the country by continuing to work on high quality buildings and masterplans for existing and new clients. If anyone else is attending the BE Networking Science and Innovation Parks event and would like to meet for a coffee, please get in touch with me direct.

GlaxoSmithKline Centre, University of Nottingham