A number of highly regarded healthcare providers which seek to utilise innovative research can be found in the Thames Valley. These include the Royal Berkshire Hospital, the National Spinal Injuries Centre at Stoke Mandeville Hospital, Oxford University Hospitals and Berkshire Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust.
The LSH cluster within the Thames Valley is supported by a range of academic institutions and R&D centres of excellence. These include the University of Oxford, Oxford Brookes University, the University of Reading and Imperial College London.
A number of science innovation ‘hubs’ and centres of excellence find their home in the Thames Valley, including Harwell, with its world class facilities such as the Diamond Light Source Synchotron.
A close proximity to both national and international markets has drawn many world-renowned drugs and delivery technology companies to the Thames Valley.
Many of the leading pharmaceutical companies have chosen to locate or relocate into the region and enjoy the benefits to being part of a major cluster of companies in the sector.
There are now over 5,600 life sciences companies operating in the UK, generating a turnover of more than 60 billion GBP and more than 30 billion GBP in exports. These companies span the life sciences product development, supply and services chain, and employ more than 220,000 people.
Since the Government launched its Life Sciences Strategy in 2011, over £7.5bn of inward investment in Life Sciences has been secured; leading to the creation of 18,000 new jobs.
In December 2018, a second Life Sciences Sector Deal between Government and the life sciences industry, with input from digital, medical and biological technology companies, diagnostics experts and pharmaceutical companies, was published. Co-authored by the University of Oxford’s Regius Professor of Medicine, Sir John Bell, it sets out the second phase in implementing the Life Sciences Industrial Strategy and contains several references to the work, assets and companies across the Thames Valley.
Within the Thames Valley, the Life Sciences and Healthcare (LSH) sector is one of the most important, having more than 135 companies and 8,000 employees, and benefitting from a number of world leading academic institutions and industry centres of excellence. The region is at the heart of the wider ‘golden triangle’ which links Oxford with London and Cambridge – one of the densest clusters in Europe, comparable to international super-clusters such as the one in Massachusetts.
The Thames Valley saw 16 foreign life sciences and healthcare businesses locate to the region in 2015/16, including Seqirus. Their operational hub in Maidenhead was officially opened in 2015 by Prime Minister Theresa May (then Home Secretary), with the words:
“It is a pleasure to open the Seqirus office here in Maidenhead. Seqirus joins a significant cluster of Life Sciences and Healthcare businesses that have chosen the town as their base, drawn here by a highly skilled workforce and specialist talent pool, connectivity to London Heathrow, proximity to the world’s leading research institutions (University of Oxford) and some of the country’s best quality of living.”
In the same year, German-owned Bayer relocated to larger premises in the Thames Valley, expanding into 80,000 sq ft of office space and opening the UK’s first BayLab. Specifically created for schoolchildren, the laboratory allows them to undertake experiments which are not possible on a school site.
The Thames Valley is home to a number of academic institutions with a strong reputation for life sciences and health research. These include the University of Oxford, currently ranked no. 1 in the world (Times Higher Education World University Rankings 2019) and in first place globally for the eighth year in succession for Clinical, Pre-clinical and Health.
Several science innovation ‘hubs’ are also located in the Thames Valley.
Harwell Campus – Brilliance Every Day – is a beacon of the UK knowledge economy, a science and innovation district the size of a small town with outstanding people, world-class facilities and unrivalled access to open source national laboratories and super computing resources.
“Harwell Campus is an established and important hub for the very best of European space and science technology. The European Space Agency’s decision to base itself there underlines the quality of the facility and shows the high regard that the industry has for Harwell. I’m delighted to see it first hand and be part of its success. it’s always exciting to visit Harwell campus, I can’t wait to be back.” Major Tim Peake, Astronaut
Thames Valley Science Park, owned and developed by the University of Reading and officially opened in November 2018, offers access to Reading University infrastructure, support from Henley Business School and interaction and collaboration opportunities with other companies in the life sciences and technology sectors. More information on the science park can be found here.
The UK is the number one destination for health and sciences foreign direct investment (FDI) in Europe. For more information on the sector here in the UK go to: https://invest.great.gov.uk/us/industries/health-and-life/