Spring start for Bruntwood SciTech’s £75m Manchester lab
The first living wall hoarding has gone up on the site of the future UK Biobank headquarters at Manchester Science Park as a flurry of funding arrives to bolster the research facility’s equipment.
Bruntwood SciTech is gearing up to build a 131,000 sq ft lab complex on the site of the now-demolished Greenheys building. Planning permission was secured for the BDP-designed block in July last year. The project is one of several that will benefit from the £480m loan facility Bruntwood secured this week.
While a contractor has yet to be appointed to the £75m project, Bruntwood said it had a construction start date pencilled in for late spring – with a target completion of 2026.
UK Biobank will take three floors in the new facility, moving its headquarters from Stockport to Manchester. UK Biobank stores 20m biological samples that are key to medical research.
UK Biobank is supported by a £127.6m award from the UK Research and Innovation Infrastructure Fund. The group was recently awarded £21m from the Department for Science, Innovation, and Technology as well – money that will go towards purchasing robotic freezers capable of quickly retrieving samples for scientists.
The new Manchester Science Park lab is set to be capable of running fully on electricity. It has been designed to be net zero in construction and, in shared spaces, net zero in operation.
Sir Rory Collins, principal investigator and chief executive of UK Biobank, spoke about the need for a new UK Biobank home.
“This new facility is an essential step forward in ensuring that researchers across the globe can more efficiently access our tens of millions of samples to turn them into data which can be used to propel research and innovation,” he said.
To commemorate the site being ready for construction, Secretary of State for Science, Innovation, and Technology Michelle Donelan was on hand to do the final planting on the living wall hoarding.
“UK Biobank makes an unparalleled contribution to science across the whole world, by putting invaluable information at researchers’ fingertips,” Donelan said.
“It is already unlocking insights with the potential to detect Parkinson’s sooner, and tackle heart disease. It is without question a jewel in the crown of UK science, and an envy of the world,” she continued.
“UK Biobank’s new home at Manchester Science Park – supported with an accelerated £21 million from government – will mean it has the state-of-the-art facilities it needs, to keep its place at the forefront of our understanding of human health.”
The living wall hoarding will be maintained throughout the construction of the complex and, later, incorporated into the building itself.
The project team for the new UK Biobank home includes DW Consulting, Walker Sime, Deloitte, and Silcock Leedham.