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We’ve seen various changes to the life sciences sector in recent years, but none as likely to shape the sector as significantly as the UK government’s announcement in early September that it will rejoin Horizon Europe - the European Union’s €95 billion research funding programme.
The move by the government gives UK scientists access to a major source of grants and will give UK companies and research institutions unrivalled opportunities to lead global work to develop new technologies and research projects, in areas from health to AI.
Consequently, this renewed focus on this sector means the investment landscape is very positive. With record breaking fundraisings and investments, there’s a huge amount of capital to deploy.
The life sciences sector is dependent on specialised laboratories situated in universities or life sciences clusters. The buildings differ from more traditional offices and demand robust infrastructure, including complex lighting and design systems and significant floor-to-ceiling heights to accommodate substantial mechanical systems.
Property experts are proving vital in designing, creating and repurposing this critical infrastructure. Consequentially, there’s been a huge increase in demand for state-of-the-art facilities centred around cutting-edge laboratories, research centres and manufacturing facilities.
There’s also been an upsurge in investment in research clusters and innovation hubs. These clusters serve as focal points for collaborative research and development and property experts are integral in developing and maintaining these clusters, including finding suitable locations, securing funding, and ensuring that the facilities meet the specific needs of researchers and businesses.
The life sciences industry places a high premium on environmental sustainability and efficient infrastructure. Green buildings, energy-efficient labs, and eco-friendly transport are all on the agenda. Property professionals specialising in sustainable design and development will find ample opportunities to contribute to these priorities and help the UK maintain a competitive edge in the global life sciences market.
As the UK competes on an international level within the life sciences industry, the need for attracting and retaining top talent becomes increasingly crucial. Property professionals can help create attractive, state-of-the-art workplaces that not only meet the needs of researchers but also provide a desirable environment for employees. This, in turn, can contribute to a talent-rich ecosystem in the UK's life sciences sector so it really is a win-win situation.
It's very clear that as the life sciences industry continues to evolve and expand, property professionals will find themselves at the intersection of innovation and real estate, contributing to the success of research and development in the UK.