In a bid to help regional economies around the UK recover following the Covid-19 pandemic, the government announced its £900 million Getting Building Fund, which will be used to support developments and other projects that create jobs, skills and infrastructure around the country.
Birmingham is one of the regions that’s set to benefit from some of this pot of money, with the University of Birmingham revealing that it will receive £10.8 million to kick start the construction of the Birmingham Health Innovation Campus (BHIC).
When it’s completed, the BHIC will be the only science park in the West Midlands that’s dedicated to health and life sciences.
Under the proposals for the development, BHIC will feature high-quality lab, office, incubation and innovation facilities designed to attract forward-thinking businesses to the area.
The BHIC will sit “at the heart of a critical cluster of health excellence led by Birmingham Health Partners – a strategic alliance between the University of Birmingham and two co-located NHS foundation trusts”, the university explained.
Construction is ready to begin on the project and the hope is that the buildings can be up and running within 18 months.
The first building on the site that will be constructed is the Precision Health Technology Accelerator, with the facility allowing clinical trials to take place and supporting the development of new medical technologies.
“By developing an environment specifically designed to help life science businesses to form, scale, collaborate and grow, BHIC is set to create 3,000 jobs in the first ten years, along with adding more than £180 million GVA to our local economy,” Professor Tim Jones, provost and vice-principal at the University of Birmingham, asserted.
Andy Street, Mayor of the West Midlands, added that the funding the region is receiving, which amounts to £66 million in total, will not only boost the local economy in the short term, but will also have positive long-term impacts on the area.
“The £66 million is also an investment in our future, to secure the West Midlands’ place as a global leader in green and clean technology, life sciences and the transport of the future,” Mr Street stated.
Earlier this year, the BHIC was named as a Life Sciences Opportunity Zone by the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS).
It is one of only six sites around the UK to receive this designation, which was awarded in recognition of the work that has been done to bring together academics from the University of Birmingham, clinicians at the University Hospitals Birmingham and Birmingham Women’s and Children’s NHS Foundation Trusts, as well as those in the broader life sciences industry.
Once construction on the BHIC is complete, it will provide up to 750,000 sq ft of space for health and life science businesses in the Birmingham area. Among its aims are to connect businesses directly to the NHS to help the health service access cutting-edge technology.
The BHIC will also boost the UK’s capability to run clinical trials, and help to deliver “data-enabled healthcare innovation”.
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