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09/02/2024

Construction Work To Commence On New UK Biobank Headquarters

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Construction work is to begin on the new £75 million UK Biobank headquarters at Bruntwood SciTech's Manchester Science Park.

UK Biobank is the world's most comprehensive source of health data used for research, providing access to de-identified data to approved researchers worldwide.

The cutting-edge 131,000 sq ft new building, of which UK Biobank will occupy three floors, will include laboratory space and a latest-generation robotic freezer that stores and retrieves UK Biobank's 20 million biological samples four times faster than before, revolutionising the pace of scientific discovery. It will increase UK Biobank's capacity, speed and efficiency and is supported by a £127.6m award from the UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) Infrastructure Fund for the next phase of UK Biobank’s development.

UK Biobank will be located alongside fast-growth life science businesses working in diagnostics, genomics, biotech and precision medicine in the highly specialist purpose-built building, which includes specialist labs and features such as increased vibration resistance, piped gas distribution systems, enhanced cooling and ventilation systems, high security access and 100GB superfast connectivity. The new facility will be 100% electric and net zero carbon in construction and operation in its shared spaces - one of the first lab spaces in the UK to be so.

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Professor Dame Ottoline Leyser DBE FRS, Chief Executive of UKRI said: "UK Biobank is a unique resource, powering research and innovation in the biomedical sciences, creating jobs, and connecting pioneering organisations. UKRI is investing significantly in UK Biobanks’ future. Recent enhancements to UK Biobank, such as the addition of whole genome sequencing data of its half a million participants, are drawing even more scientists to the database, increasing its potential to improve public health. This new facility will help to drive research and innovation on disease prevention and treatment."

The Secretary of State for Science, Innovation and Technology, Michelle Donelan was joined by senior representatives from UKRI, the University of Manchester, Bruntwood SciTech, and UK Biobank. To mark this celebration, the Secretary of State completed the planting of the 'living wall' hoarding for the site, which will be maintained throughout construction before becoming part of a 7m high, two-storey green wall wrapping around the building to act as a layer of insulation, increase biodiversity and improve air quality.

The campus is one of the UK's most well-established life science and technology hubs, home to 150 startups, scaleups, and globally leading businesses, and is located within the heart of the Oxford Road Corridor innovation district - Europe's largest clinical academic campus. Supported by the University of Manchester, the new building importantly puts UK Biobank near leading institutions operating across research, academia, business and the NHS. This will provide UK Biobank with new opportunities for collaboration between multi-disciplinary researchers and industry which will stimulate innovation, health impact and economic growth in the Manchester region and beyond.

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