Blog 02 May 2023 

Our impact: Transforming industrial landscapes

Find out how nurturing place-based innovation in regions across the UK, helping to level up economic prosperity and create the jobs of the future.

Sophie Walton

Sophie Walton

Director of Strategic Partnerships

We’re nurturing place-based innovation to create golden assets” in regions across the UK, helping to level up economic prosperity and create the jobs of the future by building hubs for high-value manufacturing on the national and global stages.

At NETPark in County Durham, we’ve helped transform a brownfield site into a home for exciting new manufacturing industries. As an anchor tenant since 2008, we now host three National Centres on the site, offering laboratory, clean room, and manufacturing space. 

We’ve collaborated with partners to deliver £72 million of R&D activities and enabled those businesses to secure over £283 million of follow-on private investment. We also incubated 15 of these businesses – six of which have since moved into their own premises.

We also have a strategic Memorandum of Understanding with Durham University and Business Durham around our shared vision for NETPark. Business Durham has started construction on a 26-hectare expansion with the potential to support 1,250 new direct jobs and 2,200 supply chain jobs – a testament to NETPark’s success.

A thriving centre for research and innovation

In addition, Darlington Central Park is home to our recently opened RNA Centre of Excellence and National Biologics Manufacturing Centre. We’re also next-door neighbours to our partner Teesside University’s National Horizon Centre, dedicated to training and research in health and biosciences. 

By 2030, Darlington Central Park’s partners are aiming for the area to be a thriving 50,000 square metres of commercial scientific research and innovation space. Green areas, an ecological reserve, and a public square will complete the development, attracting players from the digital, biologics, and bio-pharmaceuticals sectors. 

Atom Valley and beyond

We’re also involved in early discussions about Atom Valley – a large site seven miles outside Manchester city centre. This ambitious project is poised to accelerate economic growth and industrial regeneration across Oldham, Bury and Rochdale by creating 1.6 million square metres of employment space, 20,000 jobs, and 7,000 new homes. We’re primed to help realise the innovation components of this development – contributing our experience and expertise to support the local vision. 

We’re also collaborating on the development of the Advanced Manufacturing Innovation District Scotland (AMIDS). Building on the existing strengths of the Glasgow City Region and sitting next to Glasgow Airport, we opened our Medicine Manufacturing Innovation Centre there earlier this year, which sits alongside the National Manufacturing Institute for Scotland, and established businesses such as Rolls Royce, Vascutek, and Thermo Fisher.

The UK has immense innovation potential, and we’re proud to be building on solid local foundations to maximise each region’s unique characteristics and individual strengths.

This article was originally published as part of CPI’s 2022/23 annual review, a summary of our incredible work in the UK innovation system. To read the full review, click here.

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