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The University of Oxford is celebrating the handover of two significant new research and innovation buildings at Begbroke Science Park, almost doubling the available space and marking a crucial step in the University’s ambitious development plans for the area.

Exterior of two new buildings at Begbroke Science Park

This £59 million project is an exciting milestone in the £4 billion partnership between the University of Oxford and Legal & General (L&G). Managed by Oxford University Development (OUD), these buildings are the first major facilities delivered under this joint venture.

“This expansion represents a significant step forward for our research capabilities and innovation potential,” said Elaine Walder, Director of Operations, Begbroke Science Park. “The new facilities will enable our scientists and researchers to pursue ground-breaking work, fostering an environment where transformative technologies can be developed and brought to market.”

The two new buildings add around 12,500m² of flexible office and laboratory space to the Science Park. One of them, currently known as Building A, will be occupied by University research groups. The other, Building One, is being prepared for research spinouts and innovative private sector partners.

“We have intentionally positioned university facilities alongside commercial research spaces as we believe this fosters an exemplary setting for future scientific discoveries, given the opportunity for cross-collaboration,” commented Anna Strongman, CEO of OUD. “The commercial building offers complete flexibility with world-class facilities. It would make the ideal HQ for one of Oxford’s leading research and development companies, or as incubator space for one of the many spinouts that the university produces.”

Both buildings are constructed to high energy efficiency standards and provide exceptional spaces for various research and innovation activities. They feature ample ceiling heights and reinforced floors, offering flexibility for future equipment installations.

The new facilities will significantly enhance Begbroke’s existing innovation ecosystem, which has a proven track record of fostering ground-breaking research and developing transformative technologies. The Science Park has hosted numerous scientific activities, many of which have led to the creation of globally successful companies.

Notable spinouts include Oxa, a leader in autonomous vehicle software; Oxford PV, a pioneer in low-cost, highly efficient solar photovoltaic technology; and Oxford Nanopore, whose revolutionary DNA sequencing technology led to the UK’s largest-ever spinout IPO in 2021.

Looking ahead, the University and its joint venture partners are advancing further plans to create a unique innovation district centred around the expanded Science Park. This vision includes expanding on the research community, innovation, and sustainability, featuring additional R&D space, around 1,800 new, energy-efficient homes for University staff and the public, and superb local amenities such as schools, nurseries, sports and leisure facilities, shops, cafes, and new sustainable transport links. The development will also include wildlife-friendly green spaces to enhance biodiversity on the site by at least 20%.

OUD applied for outline planning permission for the new innovation district’s masterplan in 2023, with a decision from Cherwell District Council expected later in 2024.