Developers and investors

Five key factors when repurposing spaces into lab environments

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Photo of HereEast, London (© CK / Shutterstock)
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In: Developers and investors

The life sciences sector is growing and so is the demand for suitable R&D premises, presenting public sector bodies and commercial developers with an opportunity to repurpose existing assets into laboratory facilities. “It is fast, cost-effective and sustainable", says AECOM’s Alison Wring, Director Commercial Science / Tech Lead.

Alison Wring, Director Commercial Science / Tech Lead
Alison Wring, Director Commercial Science / Tech Lead

The UK’s life sciences sector is a national success story. Figures from the Office for Life Sciences (2020) show that the sector supports almost 270,000 jobs and generates €105.5 billion (£88.9 billion) in economic value. It continues to grow fast. This growth is, in part, thanks to historic and continued investment. In the Autumn 2021 budget, the Chancellor of the Exchequer (the government’s chief financial minister), Rishi Sunak, committed to spend €5.9 billion (£5 billion) on health-related R&D before 2025. Further, in March 2022 the Department for Business Energy & Industrial Strategy (BEIS) and the Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) announced up to €237.4 million (£200 million) to support NHS-led health research into diagnostics and treatment and €71.2 million (£60 million) of new government funding to expand life sciences manufacturing in the UK.

The sector is also in the spotlight as numerous organisations, from global pharmaceutical companies to the DHSC, Public Health England (PHE), academia and science parks collaborate on further Covid-vaccine development and new drug innovation. This combination of factors means that the demand for suitable, well-located research and development facilities is rising very fast, creating an acute shortfall of space in key locations.

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