8 July 2014 15:59

Lancaster University is working on a major project that will help people to live longer and healthier lives thanks to a £17 million Government funding announcement.

The investment, through the Government’s Growth Fund via the Lancashire Enterprise Partnership, will help create the Lancaster Health Innovation Campus.

Ageing is widely acknowledged as one of the greatest social and economic challenges of our time. The innovation campus, which will provide an integrated approach to healthcare and services for people who are growing older, will be created adjacent to the university campus at Bailrigg and will develop solutions to problems caused by ageing populations.

The campus is a response to a genuine need from industry and there will be a strong focus on working with businesses and healthcare providers to make advances in technologies, products and services.

The Innovation campus will:

• Capitalise on the research profile, collaborative strengths and business linkages of the University.

• Provide research and development activities and raise the profile of Lancaster University as an excellent partner for collaborative research.

• Improve graduate retention in the area.

• Mutually enhance the image and reputation of Lancaster, the region, the University and businesses.

Professor Andrew Atherton, Deputy Vice-Chancellor of Lancaster University, said: “The Lancaster Health Innovation Campus will build on Lancaster University’s already strong reputation for research into health and ageing.

“As more and more people are living longer, research into improving the lives of people as they become older has never been more important. This campus will significantly help us to bring about advances in technology and care programmes through research alongside healthcare and commercial partners that will enrich people’s lives.

“It is also a very significant investment that will contribute hugely to the regional economy.”

Features of the Health Innovation Campus include facilities to work on new technologies to improve assisted living and research into social care. There will also be space for a medical centre for research collaborations with the NHS and other health bodies and additional buildings and laboratories for relevant healthcare businesses to use.

An independent economic impact assessment has found that when the campus is fully operational the project will have the capability to create more than 2,000 jobs and an annual economic impact of £99.8 million.

Edwin Booth, Chair of the Lancashire Enterprise Partnership said: "The announcement of the creation of a new Health Innovation Park in Lancashire is tremendous news both for the local area and the county as a whole. Lancashire has a long history of creating economic and social benefits from cutting-edge science and I am sure that this new campus will continue that tradition, as we look for ways to meet the challenges of an ageing society."

Councillor Eileen Blamire, leader of Lancaster City Council, said: “This is excellent news for Lancaster and the long term vitality of the district’s economy. The health innovation campus is an exciting development of the original science park concept and will strengthen the district’s attractiveness for investors, further boosting economic growth and creating top quality jobs.”

Lancaster University has a very strong reputation for health and ageing academic research through research centres such as: The Centre for Aging Research; International Observatory on End of Life Care; Centre for Disability Research; Centre for Research in Human Development and Learning; and the Lancaster Health Hub.