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UKRI invests £318m in Norwich plant and microbial research hub

microbial research hub Image credit: BDP, Secchi Smith

The UK’s national research and innovation funding agency is investing nearly £318m into a plant and microbial research hub based at Norwich Research Park, with plans to complete it before 2030.

UKRI, a public body, is backing a project that will redevelop the John Innes Centre and The Sainsbury Laboratory across the next seven years.

Work at the finished Norwich-based plant and microbial research hub will centre around the impact of climate change, sustainable food and human health.

“As well as new laboratories, the investment includes a redevelopment of our plant growth facilities, which in conjunction with our existing field station, will improve our ability to study the effects of climate change,” said Professor Graham Moore, director of the John Innes Centre.

The £317.7m funding comes via the UKRI Next Generation Infrastructure programme, part of UKRI’s HP3 scheme to further the country’s efforts in computational biology, structural biology, genetics, live cell imaging and genomics.

Professor Melanie Welham, executive chair of the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council, said: “Providing access to cutting-edge, sustainable research and innovation infrastructure is mission-critical to the competitiveness and long-term success of UK bioscience.”

Both the John Innes Centre and The Sainsbury Laboratory are currently raising another £30m to cover the Next Generation Infrastructure programme costs.

UKRI is a non-departmental public body responsible for distributing research and innovation funding.