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Home » Manchester Biobank Building Could Be ‘jewel In Crown’, Minister Says

Manchester Biobank Building Could Be ‘jewel In Crown’, Minister Says

Work is set to begin on a £75m science site in Manchester that aims to be a “jewel in the crown’ of the UK’s science sector.

Science and Technology Secretary Michelle Donelan visited Bruntwood SciTech’s Manchester Science Park to see how the centre is ready for construction.

UK Biobank – which aims to provide huge amounts of anonymised biological data for medical researchers – will occupy three floors of the 131,000 sq ft building, including laboratory space and a robotic freezer that will store and retrieve UK Biobank’s 20m biological samples at high speeds. The facility – which will be 100% electric and net zero carbon in construction and operation in its shared spaces – has been funded by a £127.6m award from the UK Research and Innovation Infrastructure Fund.

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Ms Donelan marked her visit to the site by completing a ‘living wall’ which will eventually act as part of the building’s insulation. She was joined by representatives of UKRI, Manchester University, Bruntwood SciTech, and UK Biobank.

She said: “UK Biobank makes an unparalleled contribution to science across the whole world, by putting invaluable information at researchers’ fingertips. It is already unlocking insights with the potential to detect Parkinson’s sooner, and tackle heart disease.

“It is without question a jewel in the crown of UK science, and an envy of the world. UK Biobank’s new home at Manchester Science Park – supported with an accelerated £21m from Government – will mean it has the state-of-the-art facilities it needs, to keep its place at the forefront of our understanding of human health.”

The new building will put UK Biobank near leading institutions operating across research, academia, business and the NHS. This will provide UK Biobank with new opportunities for collaboration between multi-disciplinary researchers and industry which will stimulate innovation, health impact and economic growth in the Manchester region and beyond.

Manchester University vice-chancellor Prof Dame Nancy Rothwell, who is also a member of UK Biobank’s Board, said: “Manchester is home to a globally acclaimed science and technology base and I’m really excited for UK Biobank to join this bustling hub of terrific research organisations which work closely with the University of Manchester to push the boundaries of science.”

The new centre is due to open in 2026 and will house UK Biobank’s biological samples, laboratories, headquarters and around half of its 250 staff.

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