The Minister for the Northern Powerhouse and Local Growth has launched construction work on a new £22.3m research and training facility to drive growth in the bioscience industry.
The National Horizons Centre, being built by Wates Construction on behalf of Teesside University at Central Park in Darlington, will concentrate on developing the technical, innovation and management skills needed for the sector to generate jobs and wealth in Tees Valley and the UK.
Minister for the Northern Powerhouse Jake Berry joined Tees Valley Mayor Ben Houchen and Teesside University vice-chancellor and chief executive Professor Paul Croney to mark the start of the build programme, due to be completed in spring 2019.
The National Horizons Centre will play a key part in driving STEM skills and economic growth in the Tees Valley, through industry-focused education and training and collaborative research and innovation.
It has been financially supported by the Local Growth Fund, via the Tees Valley Combined Authority, and the European Regional Development Fund. The Local Growth Fund contribution of £17.5m represents the single biggest investment by the fund in the Tees Valley.
The centre includes a blend of teaching, learning and collaboration spaces, together with hi-tech laboratories and a state-of-the-art computing suite.
Minister for the Northern Powerhouse Jake Berry said: “I was delighted to be here celebrating the start of the build of the National Horizons Centre today, which has received £17.5m government investment.
“This is the Northern Powerhouse in action because this centre will not only be of regional importance but will be a nationally significant asset too.
“It will train our young people to become the scientists of the future and continue to drive forward the Tees Valley as a leader in research, science and innovation in the UK and the world.”
The £22.3m investment in the National Horizons Centre is part of Teesside University’s ambitious campus masterplan, which will see £300m spent over the next 10 years to provide an outstanding student and learning experience.
Professor Croney said: “The National Horizons Centre is the result of significant work with industry and our partners, to identify how best the bioscience sector can reach its full potential through provision of the right education, training and collaborative innovation.
“Our investment in The National Horizons Centre is an example of this in action. It will play a vital role, providing first-class facilities and programmes to grow knowledge and research in sectors that are set to transform the UK economy.”
Paul Dodsworth, business unit director for Wates Construction Yorkshire and North East, commented: “As a national company with a Darlington office, we welcome this huge investment in the local area, and we are honoured that Wates is to play such a pivotal role in this landmark project for both the Tees Valley region and the bioscience sector across the UK.”