Vicky Ford MEP

Member of the European Parliament for the East of England

16 MAY 2011

Babraham Research Campus visited by local MP and MEP to see impact of investment

Mrs Vicky Ford MEP and the Rt Hon Andrew Lansley CBE, MP for South Cambridgeshire visited the Babraham Research Campus to see how the proposed £44M investment in their constituencies will contribute to economic growth for the life sciences industry and the region.

As a leading hub of life sciences innovation in the UK, the Babraham Research Campus plays a key role supporting the region's early-stage biomedical enterprises while also helping to attract inward investment. The funding is enabling the campus to build on its current strengths in research and innovation and expand the infrastructure to support the UK's life sciences industry. This is expected to help drive economic growth through the creation and development of new companies and new jobs, as well as extending the impact of public investment for society and the economy of the region and the UK.

Mr Lansley said, "It is wonderful to see first-hand the excellent work that is done here at the Babraham Research Campus in South Cambridgeshire. This significant £44M boost from the Government will help to foster new research and create new jobs in our region, putting Babraham firmly at the forefront of world-class biomedical and life-sciences research."

Babraham's Bioincubator Buildings, which currently accommodate 28 early-stage life sciences companies, are central to the campus' mission to create a supportive, entrepreneurial environment promoting bioscience innovation. Construction of a 5th Bioincubator Building is expected to commence later this month, providing a further 20,000 sq ft of flexible laboratory and office space as 30 lettable units.

The campus tour included a visit to the Bioincubator Buildings and facilities such as the Technology Development Lab (TDL), which was established to support early-stage biomedical ventures through providing access to state-of-the-art equipment and scientific expertise of the TDL staff.

Mrs Ford said, "I was extremely impressed by what I saw and learnt at Babraham. Here the UK is investing in our world-leading research capacity. The benefits not only support science and economic growth but also develop an understanding of medical conditions and diseases which we all hope will lead to better treatments in the future. I was also able to discuss with Professor Wakelam and his colleagues the substantial European budget for research and development. Whilst many researchers around Cambridge and the UK have benefitted from EU funding, it is still far too bureaucratic. Many colleagues in the European Parliament would like to divert parts of this science budget to less well off countries - that would be a mistake. Ideas discovered in centres of excellence like the Babraham Research Campus can help solve problems faced in all countries. Science funding must nurture excellence."

A unique aspect of the Babraham Research Campus is the proximity of a world-leading academic institute with commercial ventures, potentially facilitating the commercialisation of ideas emanating from basic bioscience research and delivering economic benefit.

Professor Michael Wakelam, Director of the Babraham Institute said, "We were delighted to introduce Mr Lansley and Mrs Ford to the high quality basic research carried out at Babraham and the approaches adopted to translate this and other research within Babraham's Bioincubator. This recent further investment will help to maximise the impact of public investment in bioscience research and strengthen the campus as a cluster for science and innovation in the UK."

Derek Jones, Chief Executive of Babraham Bioscience Technologies, the Institute's commercial company said, "This additional investment to the campus enables us to build on the success of our 4th Bioincubator Building, developed with financial support from BBSRC, which is already full. Our vision for a new building will therefore help to support exciting new companies and create jobs based on world-leading bioscience."

The Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC) provides strategic funding to the Babraham Institute to support its international-quality life sciences research, which is generating new knowledge of biological mechanisms underpinning ageing and lifelong health. Professor Douglas Kell, BBSRC Chief Executive, said, "A great many studies have shown that investing in research and innovation is the most effective way to generate economic growth and job creation. The innovation facilities at Babraham and world-class research at the Babraham Institute have already attracted a thriving community of bioscience companies to the site. Further investment in innovation at the campus will help growth efforts to move up another gear." 

Download this as a PDF

Back to all posts

My Political Priorities

Economic Stability must come first. Without a strong economy we can not deliver a strong society. I work with businesses and consumers to keep Britain open for business, cutting red tape, boosting trade opportunities and helping to deliver jobs and growth for all.

I support Science and Research which is key to delivering better medical care, healthy food as well as the Innovation and Creative Industries which bring improved lifestyles for all our families.

Strong home Security is vital in today's uncertain world, which requires robust policing and defence and deep international relationships that we can depend on. I work with others to achieve this.

I care about the Countryside and the Environment and making sure that rural and urban communities flourish.