UK Biobank will receive £127.6 million to fund a move to a purpose-built facility at Bruntwood SciTech’s Manchester Science Park.
The proposed move follows an application by the Medical Research Council to the UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) Infrastructure Fund to support the UK Biobank’s development.
UK Biobank’s biological samples, laboratories, headquarters and around half of its 250 staff will move to the new facility.
The funding will cover a latest generation robotic freezer that stores and retrieves 20 million biological samples that have been donated by UK Biobank’s 500,000 volunteer participants.
The facility is being developed with support from the University of Manchester and will enable new projects to turn the samples into data and drive discoveries into how to prevent and treat a wide range of diseases.
Professor Sir Rory Collins, Principal Investigator and Chief Executive of UK Biobank, said: “We are thrilled to be moving to a world-leading center for genomics and data, where we can build on existing relationships with the University of Manchester.
“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 the UK Biobank even more valuable for health research. The improved technologies and capacity in our new home will also make it faster 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.”
Bruntwood SciTech is developing the 131,000m2 Greenheys facility at Manchester Science Park, which is at the heart of the city’s Oxford Road Corridor innovation district.
Moving to the Greenheys site at Manchester Science Park will provide UK Biobank with new opportunities for collaboration with interdisciplinary researchers and industry. It will also offer access to additional talent due to its proximity to leading institutions operating across research, academia, business and the NHS.
Over the next decade, UKRI’s infrastructure funding will support the development of the new purpose-built facility at Manchester Science Park, the replacement of UK Biobank’s aging infrastructure, the enhancement of UK Biobank’s data assets and the development of a Hub to engage with new and existing collaborators.
The new scheme is subject to planning approval by Manchester City Council.
UK Biobank’s move is supported by Arcadis, the global built environment consultancy, and Metro-Dynamics, the financial consultancy. Bruntwood SciTech’s facility design team is led by BDP Manchester with Silcock Leedham, DW Consulting, Walker Sime and Deloitte.