Sci-Tech Daresbury, the leading location for high-tech business and leading-edge science based in the Liverpool City Region, is celebrating a strong 2020, which has seen 28 new tenants arrive on site.
The figure represents a very significant achievement for the campus, given the uncertain market conditions brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic.
The strong demand for lab space, driven by both new and growing existing tenants, means that facilities such as the 33,000 sq ft. Techspace One for more established businesses, and the Science and Technology Facilities Council’s (STFC) equipped and affordable laboratories specifically for SMEs and microbusinesses, are likely to approach capacity by early 2021.
Businesses are benefitting from the campus’ “home for life” ethos – offering ambitious entrepreneurs the opportunity to scale up on site as their needs change. This has been evidenced by both Arcis Biotechnology and Quantum Science expanding from their initial laboratory space to Techspace One, while Perfectus Biomed increased its existing footprint within Techspace One.
Techspace One has also seen the arrival of companies new to campus, such as water filtration experts G2O Technologies – previously located in the North East.
Demand for campus space has also been driven by Sci-Tech Daresbury continuing to attract international companies, with several firms with a particular focus on digital technologies develop a base on site. Tangent Works (Belgium), Mish Mash (Bulgaria) and Factory Talk (Thailand) all arrived to further their work in areas such as AI, predictive analytics and Industry 4.0. Elsewhere, my mAInd (Austrian) are working in digital health and join the growing community of health tech businesses – such as Sky Medical Technology, C-Major Medical, Orcha and Glow New Media.
The campus continues to support its other growing sector communities or “clusters” on site, with businesses also being represented in the Materials, Space and Digital Technology fields. Notably, it was announced in November that the STFC’s world renowned Daresbury Laboratory is set to play a key role in developing a north west ‘space hub’. It is hoped that the scheme will enable the North West to be instrumental in the rapidly expanding, multi-billion pound UK space industry.
The ongoing demand for high quality office space is a key driver for the site’s newest development, Project Violet, with work starting on site in November at the £17.8m three-building development, which will offer a total of 42,000 sq ft for science and technology-focused businesses. It further encapsulates Sci-Tech Daresbury’s “Home for Life” offering for high-growth, scale-up companies, as exemplified by the number of companies that have developed at STFC’s laboratories or within other Sci-Tech Daresbury facilities, before moving to other premises on site.
Investment of £8.4m from the Liverpool City Region Combined Authority provides cornerstone funding for Project Violet, which is expected to create or support 332 full-time equivalent jobs.
John Downes, Chief Executive Officer of Langtree and Chairman of Sci-Tech Daresbury, said: “2020 has been a year like no other, with our businesses and the campus itself having to adapt to new ways of working and address a range of challenges that were impossible to predict. Given the way the COVID-19 pandemic has disrupted so many elements of our life, it is a testament to the drive, creativity and continued commitment to innovation and collaboration that so many of our companies have continued to flourish in such exacting circumstances.
“As we look ahead to 2021, we can take great heart in the continued demand for office and lab space, exemplified by several of our buildings reaching capacity and work beginning on our latest outstanding facility, Project Violet. Our businesses have a huge part to play in driving forward both the local and national economy in the years to come, and we are committed to supporting them in reaching their potential.”
Steve Rotheram, Metro Mayor of the Liverpool City Region, said:
“Our region is very lucky to have Sci-Tech Daresbury, home to some world-leading businesses and research organisations who are doing some incredible work in the fields of science, technology and industries of the future.
“We’ve invested £8.4m to help the site continue to grow and succeed and to ensure that we’re able to offer the world-class facilities to keep attracting new businesses and jobs to the area. It’s fantastic to see that, despite the difficulties this year has thrown up for all of us, they have continued to flourish.
“Retaining as many businesses, jobs and investment as possible, while attracting more will be really important in helping our region recover from the economic effects of this pandemic, but we’re already making a start.”
Minister for Investment at the Department for International Trade, Gerry Grimstone said:
“I am pleased to see so many international businesses taking advantage of the world class facilities and talent available at Sci-Tech Daresbury. Its thriving science and innovation ecosystem continues to create jobs and prosperity in the Liverpool City Region and wider Northern Powerhouse for tech, engineering and life science companies from across the globe.”