GSK development plan boost for smart precinct in life sciences

Our latest WORKTECH Wednesday Briefing looks at a proposal by pharmaceutical giant GSK to develop a key UK research & development site. Is this the future of the life science workplace?

Global healthcare giant GSK is seeking a development partner to transform land on an existing 92-acre research & development site in the UK into one of Europe’s largest ‘clusters’ for biotechnology and other early-stage life science companies.

The vision for the new Stevenage campus would build on the existing presence of GSK, the Cell and Gene Therapy Catapult, and the Stevenage Bioscience Catalyst on the site.

As part of the proposals, GSK is looking to sell the 33 acres of land, with an aim to subsequently unlock up to £400 million in new investment from a private-sector developer to build the new campus and, potentially, create up to 5,000 jobs over the next five to ten years. The company expects to select a development partner later this year, with a view for work to begin on master-planning for the new campus in 2022.

‘This will create opportunities for collaboration in a state-of-the-art, life science ecosystem…’

Tony Wood, senior vice-president, medicinal science and technology at GSK, explains: ‘The past 18 months has shown the UK life sciences sector at its best and the UK has recently unveiled an ambitious ten-year vision for the UK life sciences sector. Our goal is for Stevenage to emerge as a top destination for medical and scientific research by the end of the decade.’

The intention is for the new campus to attract a number of world-class research organisations to Stevenage, creating opportunities for collaboration in a state-of-the-art, life science ecosystem. The new campus – which would sit next to GSK’s existing site at Stevenage – could eventually deliver 100,000 square metres of new floorspace for commercial life sciences research and development.

GSK’s proposals can be the seen in the context of a global trend to developing smart knowledge-driven precincts that are based around an over-arching theme – from life sciences to education. Read WORKTECH Academy’s report with Australian developer Mirvac, ‘The Future of the Smart Precinct’, here.

The Stevenage campus project also reflects a future scenario in which the ‘big science’ campus is refreshed or realigned, as large pharmaceutical companies adopt a partnership model. Read WORKTECH Academy’s report, ‘The Changing Life Science Workplace: Designing to Accelerate Science’, here.

Summer festival to bust silos

Don’t forget that  WORKTECH Events is hosting a month-long festival during the month of August which comprises of some of the best speakers across the WORKTECH network. The event is comprised of a carefully curated line-up of more than 30 keynote speaker presentations from around the world, under the broad themes of people, place and technology.

Launching on 2 August with a live two-hour session introducing the event and key workplace trends, the festival will feature such headliners as Gillian Tett, Editor-at-large at the Financial Times.

As more organisations seek to break down siloes and build equitable workspaces as we return to the office, Tett will put forward her argument for how we can design a workplace that is more inclusive and fair. Watch an extract from an exclusive WORKTECH interview with Gillian Tett here.

Book your ticket to WORKTECH Festival here.

In our WORKTECH Wednesday Briefings, we reach out to our 10,000-plus Academy members, WORKTECH attendees, speakers, partners and sponsors while WORKTECH’s professional conference series continues through our virtual platforms. This edition is posted 21 July 2021.
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