Life science labs are in high demand. Identifying the right spaces to nurture innovation – and fitting them out flexibly and sustainably – offers opportunities
Research and development (R&D) in life sciences has long been recognised as a vital engine for GDP growth, with its potential for increased knowledge, health and profit. The UK is seen as a life sciences powerhouse: pharmaceutical products are among its top five exported goods, and the nation comes second only to the US in terms of inward investment. Last year, the UK ranked fourth in the World Intellectual Property Organization’s global innovation index, which ranks the political environment, education, infrastructure and knowledge creation of national economies.
The UK government values the domestic life science sector at £94bn and estimates it provides 250,000 high-skilled jobs in fields such as drug discovery, diagnostics, medtech devices and vaccine creation. It is an expanding area, encompassing AI, genomics, biomanufacturing, tech‑enabled healthcare devices and personalised immunotherapies. The government plays a vital role in supporting this growth and is prioritising investment in the sector. In March, prime minister Rishi Sunak launched a plan to cement the UK’s position as a “scientific superpower” by 2030. This will invest up to £500m across programmes targeting AI, quantum technologies, engineering biology and the upgrade of existing lab facilities.
Besides state support and investment, life sciences R&D can be funded by corporates, academia, donations from individuals, overseas institutions and not-for-profit bodies such as the NHS, medical research charities and global health organisations.
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