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Babraham Research Campus at the forefront in supporting the UK's early-stage bioscience enterprises

The Babraham Research Campus (credit: Babraham Research Campus)

Research evidences that well-placed public-sector funding in life sciences drives considerable returns to the UK economy and society

Research led by an academic team from the University of Cambridge has demonstrated the benefits and outputs from the significant taxpayer investment into the Babraham Research Campus; evidencing the overall economic, social and scientific contribution the Campus makes to the UK economy.  

Commissioned by the Campus partners, Babraham Bioscience Technologies (BBT), the organisation which develops and manages the Babraham Research Campus, UKRI-BBSRC and the Babraham Institute, the final report, published today, quantifies the strong contribution the Campus makes to both the commercialisation of life science research and the life science knowledge base; enabling entrepreneur driven businesses - including academic spin-outs - to forming and facilitating collaboration.

The report’s key findings* include:

  • Company fundraising for those based on Campus is accelerated by an average of 5.1 months. 
  • The market value of the top 14 companies on Campus is over £4 billion: an average 7.2 x return for investors. 
  • 47% of funds raised in the Cambridge region were to those ventures located at the Babraham Research Campus. 
  • The number of people employed on-site increased by over 90% from approximately 900 employees in 2011/12 to 1,700 employees in 2017/18. 
  • Campus based companies are 20% larger by headcount than they otherwise would be if the Campus did not exist.
  • The total gross value added (GVA) impact of the Campus on the UK economy is £285 million. 

In addition, over 75% of companies based on Campus who were surveyed as part of the research project considered their location on the Babraham Research Campus as either a very important or critically important factor in helping them access laboratory and office space on flexible and affordable terms. The ability to attract and retain talent was also highlighted as being greatly enhanced by being part of the Babraham Research Campus community.

Dr Karen Lewis, Executive Director of Capability and Innovation, Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council, part of UK Research and Innovation said: “I am very pleased to see publication of this report, which highlights the significant contribution the Babraham Research Campus makes to the local and national research and innovation ecosystem.  UKRI-BBSRC is delighted that the report recognises the Campus as a dynamic place where institute researchers are able to deliver world leading bioscience, and life science companies can develop their science, build and scale-up their business, in a highly connected and collaborative community. The findings from this study highlight the vital role that long-term public and private investment has played in developing the Campus. The insights will help to ensure continued success in delivering economic growth and societal benefits.”

Derek Jones, CEO, BBT commented: “I am delighted to see that the findings from this report confirms our own internal data and anecdotal evidence of the impact of the Campus.  We have tried to ensure that the support we offer to life science companies, whether it be the provision of flexible lease structures; access to science capabilities; or the nurturing and engaging community, is impactful in terms of jobs, scientific progress and increased economic activity, both locally and for the UK as a whole.  It appears in many respects that we have succeeded.   I would like to take this opportunity to thank all the BBT staff on Campus for the part they have played in making the Campus the success which from this evidence it is.”

Andy Richards, CBE, life science entrepreneur, investor and Chair of BBT added: “This impact report is based on a thorough quantitative and qualitative study. It provides an analysis that validates many of the hypotheses postulated as to why life-science companies in a concentrated and supportive ecosystem, such as that forged at the Babraham Research Campus within a vibrant cluster, have a differential advantage.  New ventures are able to start-up and develop rapidly with access to science, technology, talent and capital with fewer barriers allowing them to get into the all-important scale-up phase”.

“It is good to see that those on the Campus value the initiatives that have been adopted and the special culture that has been created. As an investor it is a great place to nurture innovative start-ups and a fruitful place to have fast growing scale-ups. A truly low risk environment for ambitious impactful Bioscience.”

Professor Wolf Reik FRS, Acting Director, Babraham Institute said: "We are excited to see publication of this informative report, which highlights key impacts created by collaborations across the Babraham Research Campus. The Babraham Research Campus is unique in bringing together the world-leading academic research of the Babraham Institute and the vibrant and growing ecosystem of the Campus, with meaningful links existing at many different levels. These links are seen in collaborations, spin-out companies, joint funding, access to world class scientific facilities, training, and generally a better understanding of how fundamental science feeds into commercial developments with huge potential societal benefit."

Professor Pete Tyler, Professor in Urban and Regional Economics, Department of Land Economy, University of Cambridge, a Fellow of St Catharine's College, Cambridge and Director of Cambridge Economic Associates (CEA) Ltd., lead author of the Impact Report added:  “Investment in the Life Sciences Sector is clearly of fundamental importance to the growth of the UK economy and the well-being of its citizens. The evidence from this study of the economic impact of the Babraham Research Campus shows how well-targeted public sector support over a sustained period of time can add real value by enhancing the creation of knowledge, driving innovation and enabling entrepreneur driven life science businesses to flourish.” 

To download a copy of the Executive Summary: ‘The Economic Impact of the Babraham Research Campus: An exploration of key findings’, access the full report and view the Babraham Research Campus Impact film please click here.

*Report data collated in 2019 covering the period 2011-2018.

Contact

UK Research and Innovation
Press Team
Tel: 01793 298902

The Babraham Research Campus
Sarah Brereton, Director, Limewash
Tel: +44 (0)7796 583 223

Notes to Editors

About Babraham Research Campus

Babraham Bioscience Technologies Ltd (BBT) is responsible for the management and commercial development of the Babraham Research Campus.

The Babraham Research Campus is distinct in its co‐location of 60 bioscience companies with the Babraham Institute, a world‐renowned research organisation which receives strategic funding from the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC).

The aim of the campus is to support UK bioscience through academic research, but also with facilities and capabilities for early-stage and growing commercial organisations. The campus provides companies laboratory and office space, networking and collaboration opportunities, together with access to outstanding scientific facilities in an ideal geographical location at the core of the Cambridge cluster.

The campus is managed and developed by BBT on behalf of the BBT shareholders, BBSRC and the Babraham Institute.

For more information please visit the Babraham Research Campus website.

About BBSRC

The Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC) is part of UK Research and Innovation, a non-departmental public body funded by a grant-in-aid from the UK government.

BBSRC invests in world-class bioscience research and training on behalf of the UK public. Our aim is to further scientific knowledge, to promote economic growth, wealth and job creation and to improve quality of life in the UK and beyond.

Funded by government, BBSRC invested £451 million in world-class bioscience in 2019-20. We support research and training in universities and strategically funded institutes. BBSRC research and the people we fund are helping society to meet major challenges, including food security, green energy and healthier, longer lives. Our investments underpin important UK economic sectors, such as farming, food, industrial biotechnology and pharmaceuticals.

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