Oxford-Cambridge Arc ‘Has Huge Economic Potential’

The Oxford-Cambridge life sciences arc already contributes a significant amount to the UK’s economy. Research from Bidwells shows that, in 2019, it’s estimated the arc contributed £111 billion to the country’s GDP.

However, there is potential for significant growth in the life sciences sector in this region of the country, particularly following the Covid-19 pandemic.

The organisation’s research predicted that the Oxford-Cambridge arc has the potential to contribute nearly 11 per cent of the UK’s Gross Value Added (GVA) by 2050, which would be a marked increase over the six per cent in GVA it currently produces.

A lack of suitable lab and office space has been identified as one of the factors that has slowed growth within life science organisations in recent years, as well as lower levels of investment due to the uncertainty caused by Brexit.

But the Covid-19 pandemic has highlighted the importance of both the research that’s undertaken and this hub both within the UK and on a global scale. As a result, the report suggested that there needs to be “a strategic approach to transport infrastructure, housing and education across the arc as a whole”.

It also noted that one of the reasons why so many R&D firms have chosen to base themselves in the region has been recruitment, with two-thirds of such companies citing the ease of recruiting and retaining staff as one of the main considerations when deciding where to be located.

The Covid-19 pandemic has also highlighted the need for greater collaboration between organisations. In April, the UK rolled out the world’s biggest trial of possible Covid-19 treatments, with 132 hospitals across the country recruiting more than 1,000 patients to participate in the trial.

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