Harwell aerial image

UK Science Minister visits Harwell Science Campus

On Thursday 22 February 2024, Science Minister Andrew Griffith visited Harwell Science and Innovation Campus to tour several facilities, including RAL Space operated by the Science and Technology Facilities Council (STFC).

The visit coincides with the release of Harwell Campus’ annual report which celebrates the addition of 25 new businesses.

The businesses collectively brought over 300 jobs to the local area, in its Energy, Health, and Space clusters, adding to the 240 organisations and 7,000 staff members at the site.

 Harwell Campus’ remarkable achievement in welcoming 25 new businesses is a testament to the thriving ecosystem we have cultivated.          

“This growth not only positions us as a key player in global research and development but also marks a significant stride towards our vision of a robust and innovative UK space sector.”

Minister for Science, Research and Innovation, Andrew Griffith MP said of the report.

The new businesses at Harwell span a broad range of expertise including pharmaceuticals, space, agriculture, and energy, all working towards tackling the biggest problems our society and economy faces. Notably the new Moderna development at Harwell accounted for nearly a third of all space let across Oxfordshire in 2023.

This development marks a huge stride in Harwell’s mission to expand, which will see the campus adding over 440,000 sq. ft of new laboratory and R&D buildings to ensure a world-leading network of creative people exists to foster innovation and collaboration across its four main clusters – health, space, energy, and quantum.

Harwell has long been a hub for ground-breaking research and innovation, addressing the most pressing challenges of our time, from climate change to pandemic preparedness.

Being situated at the campus means that these businesses can draw on connections between members, including benefitting from the largest collection globally of national laboratories, operated by the Science and Technology Facilities Council (STFC), academia and other organisations already established at the campus.

Introducing these businesses to the UK’s largest scientific network puts the UK in a position to continue to establish itself as a world-leader in research and development and helps businesses to successfully scale and commercialise their research.

For example, the first two customers for STFC RAL Space’s National Satellite Test Facility have already been confirmed for 2024, as well as the grand opening of the National Quantum Computing Centre, a new institution funded through UKRI to accelerate the development of quantum computing, later this year.

Lodestar Space, a 2023 addition to the Harwell Space Cluster and participant in the European Space Agency (ESA) Business Incubation Centre programme through funding and support by STFC, is focused on developing advanced tools for in-space construction.

Neil Buchanan, Co-Founder & CEO of Lodestar, comments: “Having a presence at Harwell Campus has been a game changer for us. Being on-site has given us access to the leading deep-tech ecosystem in the UK, where customer visits are a short walk down the road, and world-leading testing facilities are at your disposal. Joining a space cluster has already given us the support we need on the road to orbit, and we’re only just getting started.

Stuart Grant, CEO of Harwell Campus, says: “Over the last twelve months, we’re delighted to have welcomed 25 new innovative businesses and over 300 talented people into our thriving ecosystem. Introducing new talent and expertise within these vital sectors will undoubtedly drive more cross-sector collaboration and propel the heights of scientific and technological advancement. We believe that the collaborative environment created here at Harwell will inspire breakthroughs that have the potential to change the world and improve lives.”

Dr Barbara Ghinelli, Director of Harwell Clusters, says: “Harwell Campus is a home for innovation, where the world’s most pressing challenges can be tackled by the diverse expertise and unique opportunities for collaboration. We are extremely proud to grow our campus, and the new members of our community are a testament in our commitment to accelerate groundbreaking science. I eagerly look forward to witnessing the creativity and innovation in their mission to confront the challenges our world faces today.”