£127.6million funding to relocate UK Biobank to Manchester – Prolific North

The UK Biobank is to move to Manchester Science Park, following £127.6m funding from UKRI.
Its biological samples, labs, headquarters and around half of its 250 staff will move to the purpose-built facility.
Described as the “world’s most significant source of data and biological samples for health research” it holds blood samples, heart and brain scans and genetic data of 500,000 volunteer participants.
The new investment will also be used to purchase the latest generation robotic freezer that can store and retrieve 20m biological samples and quadruple the speed of retrieval.
“UKRI is proud to invest in cutting-edge infrastructure across the UK to drive discovery, strengthen innovative businesses and improve public services, creating a wide range of high-quality jobs,” explained Professor Dame Ottoline Leyser, Chief Executive of UK Research and Innovation.
“UK Biobank is one of the UK’s leading biomedical science infrastructures, providing essential resources for thousands of academic and industry projects in the UK and around the world. Demand is growing year-on-year as UK Biobank’s datasets get richer over time. The insights enabled by UK Biobank have already driven change in the NHS and we look forward to seeing this powerful resource continue to thrive.”
The facility is being developed with the support of the University of Manchester and aims to turn the samples into data and, as a result, drive discoveries into how to prevent and treat a wide range of diseases.
“We are thrilled to be moving to a world-leading centre for genomics and data, where we can build on existing relationships with The University of Manchester,” said Professor Sir Rory Collins, Principal Investigator and CEO of UK Biobank.
“We are incredibly grateful to UKRI for their funding and support, which will enable us to consider new ways to enrich the data and make UK Biobank even more valuable for health research. The improved technologies and capacity at our new home will also make it quicker and easier for researchers from around the world to conduct vital research into common and life-threatening diseases and enable new scientific discoveries that improve human health.”
The 131,000sq ft site is being developed by Bruntwood SciTech.
“Manchester is a world-renowned hub for science and technology, and the ability for UK Biobank to grow here is testament to the quality of talent, innovation and support within the city,” added Kath Mackay, Director of Life Sciences at Bruntwood SciTech.
“The development of Greenheys represents the third phase of our masterplan to grow Manchester Science Park to more than 1 million sq ft of cutting-edge life sciences and tech space which, critically, will support the creation of over 2,500 jobs as Manchester’s Oxford Road Corridor continues to thrive.”
In total, the UK Biobank will occupy 3 floors of a new building, which will have upgraded biological sample storage, processing laboratories and offices.
This is due to break ground this Autumn and be completed by 2026 – subject to planning permission.
The UK Biobank is currently based in Stockport with assessment centres around the country.
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