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‘The Naked Scientist’ joins Bruntwood SciTech to celebrate topping out of first phase at Birmingham Health Innovation Campus

News, Birmingham
pictures of sector leaders in construction wear in front of sisk sign on bhic building site

Bruntwood SciTech has marked the topping out of No.1 Birmingham Health Innovation Campus (BHIC) - Birmingham’s forthcoming specialist life sciences hub - with a ceremonial event celebrating the next milestone in advancing the world-class infrastructure being developed to support the growth of the West Midlands life sciences sector.

The topping out ceremony, follows Prime Minister Liz Truss and the Chancellor of the Exchequer Kwasi Kwarteng touring the new £45m development during last week’s Conservative Party Conference. The event included a keynote speech from Chris Smith, presenter of the BBC’s ‘The Naked Scientist’ podcast and consultant virologist and lecturer at Cambridge University.

Due to complete in September 2023 and led by main contractor John Sisk and Son, No.1 BHIC will provide 133,000 sq ft of specialist lab and office space for innovative life science and digital healthcare companies, in response to increasing demand for space from the sector. It has already been confirmed to be the future home of the University of Birmingham’s Precision Health Technologies Accelerator (PHTA) and Birmingham Precision Medicine Centre which will provide opportunities for pioneering R&D startups to colocate and collaborate with scale up and larger life science businesses. No.1 BHIC will also offer a cafe and large event space, car parking and EV charging, meeting rooms and breakout space, located in the heart of leafy Selly Oak, a stone’s throw from Edgbaston and historic Bournville.

One of only six national Life Sciences Opportunity Zones and identified by the Department for International Trade as a High Potential Opportunity for Data Driven Healthcare, the development forms the first phase of a 10-year masterplan for the 10-acre campus being developed by Bruntwood SciTech, a 50:50 partnership between Bruntwood and Legal & General, in partnership with the University of Birmingham.

Once complete, the campus will provide up to 657,000 sq ft of new commercial lab and office space and is expected to catalyse the growth of the region’s life science sector, creating up to 10,000 local jobs and contributing £400m GVA to the region’s economy. It will sit at the heart of a critical cluster of health excellence in the city; with unparalleled links to the University of Birmingham Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust and Birmingham Women’s and Children’s NHS Foundation Trust.

Businesses locating to BHIC will be closely aligned to the University of Birmingham’s clinical trials facility and provided with direct access to a fully connected clinical trials ecosystem. Companies will also benefit from Bruntwood SciTech’s Innovation Services support, which provides direct access to highly skilled specialist talent, funding and finance opportunities, and introductions for opportunities into new markets.

Dr Kath Mackay, Director of Life Sciences at Bruntwood SciTech, said: “It has been fantastic to come together in such a celebratory way to reflect on the success of the UK life sciences sector, Birmingham’s contribution to date, and the huge impact BHIC is set to make in the future. The reception this development is receiving from local and national government shows just how much appetite there is for regional centres of excellence that drive prosperity and support local communities.

“BHIC will provide research that matters through a full life sciences supply chain, creating up to 10,000 local jobs and contributing £400m GVA to the region’s economy. With No.1 BHIC now less than a year away from completion, we’re looking forward to opening its doors and welcoming the first businesses to the campus.”

Andy Street, the Mayor of the West Midlands, commented: “No.1 BHIC is an incredibly exciting project for our region- bringing world class R&D to Birmingham and helping to transform health outcomes for local people. I have no doubt that BHIC is set to become a beacon of British ingenuity and scientific excellence. This state of the art facility will result in breakthroughs for patients and healthcare professionals around the world and- crucially- will support economic recovery right across the West Midlands in the months and years ahead.”

Professor Adam Tickell, Vice-Chancellor and Principal of the University of Birmingham, said: “The University is proud of its longstanding collaborative relationship with partner NHS institutions. Our vision and ambition for this site was a dedicated health and life sciences park to enhance Birmingham’s life sciences expertise.

“Through our collaboration with Bruntwood SciTech, our vision is becoming a reality. We are delighted by today’s topping out ceremony, which celebrates the University’s own flagship life sciences research facility, the Precision Health Technologies Accelerator – PHTA Ltd. This building demonstrates our dedication to providing a vibrant space to encourage new ways of thinking, encouraging interdisciplinary work and exploring new opportunities.”

Professor Gino Martini, CEO of PHTA Ltd, commented: “Having PHTA at the heart of the BHIC development means that businesses locating here will be elbow-to-elbow with key opinion leaders and clinical-academics in areas such as clinical trials; complex diagnostics; health data; medical devices and regulatory science. It’s a unique opportunity to commercialise life science innovations and accelerate the development of cutting-edge therapies and technologies, and we can’t wait to move in this time next year.”

Alan Rodger, Managing Director - UK North, John Sisk & Son said: “Sisk is delighted to reach this important milestone at No.1 BHIC. It gives us time to reflect upon the great work done so far by our client, our staff and supply chain partners. BHIC is one of a number of projects in the Sisk Life Sciences portfolio and contributes to our growing presence across the UK. We are on course to complete No.1 BHIC in Q3 2023 with the campus expected to catalyse the growth of the region’s life science sector. We look forward to works progressing on site and reaching completion over the coming 12 months.”

As the UK’s leading property provider dedicated to the growth of the life science and tech sector, providing world-class specialist workspaces, infrastructure, and support, Bruntwood SciTech will also provide businesses and organisations based at BHIC with access to its UK-wide network of innovation districts of 11 campuses across seven cities - from Cambridge to Glasgow - enabling them to collaborate with a 500-strong specialist community of science and tech businesses.

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