New partnership will develop £4 billion housing and science parks for Oxford Uni

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A major partnership between Oxford University and Legal & General has been announced.

The long-term partnership will lead to the development of thousands of homes for students and staff at Oxford University, together with world-class science and innovation districts.
Legal & General will provide up to £4 billion of funding over the next ten years to deliver a series of key projects for the University of Oxford.
These will include thousands of new homes for staff and students and state-of-the-art research and laboratory space through the creation of science and innovation districts across the city.
The first projects that will be developed under the partnership are:
  • Redevelopment of graduate student accommodation in Wellington Square, Court Place Gardens and Ewert House.
  • Construction of graduate student accommodation at Osney Mead
  • Construction of new science parks at Osney Mead and Begbroke
  • Construction of subsidised rented accommodation for University and College staff at Begbroke
It is intended that the first projects will be ready for occupation in 2023.
The partnership will fulfil the commitments in the University’s 2018-2023 Strategic Plan to provide at least 1,000 subsidised homes for University and College staff, and at least 1,000 units of affordable graduate accommodation.
It aims to provide affordable residential and commercial space to ensure that the University continues to attract the world’s best researchers and students, and to support spinout companies from the University.
Professor Louise Richardson, Vice-Chancellor of the University of Oxford, said: ‘My colleagues and I are delighted to have formed this partnership with Legal & General. We look forward to working together to address some of the most pressing challenges facing the University today.
‘We will build much-needed graduate accommodation, subsidised housing for University staff, and new science parks, where academic departments, University spin-outs and commercial partners can work together to create new companies as well as high quality jobs.’
Nigel Wilson, CEO of Legal & General Group, said: ‘Our partnership with Oxford is leading the way in bringing together dynamic cities and patient capital, creating great outcomes for long term investors and for the cities themselves.
‘Oxford University is one of the best in the world and a global brand. It has inspired generations of academics and researchers, and today also nurtures outstanding modern business with world-leading potential. Legal & General’s partnership with the University is a terrific example for cities across the globe to follow.’
Established in 1836, Legal & General is one of the UK’s leading financial services groups and a major global investor, with international businesses in the US, Europe, Middle East and Asia.
Last week Oxford University officially opened its BioEscalator.The BioEscalator is a new innovation centre for high-potential, early-stage medical science companies co-located alongside Oxford University’s world-class medical research at the Old Road Campus, Headington. It is one of four innovation centres in Oxfordshire supported by the government’s City Deal.

More than a dozen companies, working on novel diagnostics, therapeutics and platform technologies applicable to a wide range of diseases, have already moved into the BioEscalator, which acts as a hub for collaboration between the University and industry. The tenants have already attracted £43.2m of investment since they moved in, and between them employ 55 specialist and innovative staff.

During the launch event, Baroness Blackwood unveiled the BioEscalator sign showcasing a list of the first companies to be accommodated in the new innovation centre.

Baroness Blackwood said: “It is completely clear how brilliant the BioEscalator is going to be for incubating innovation. Its modular and scalable approach, and its opportunities for cross-fertilisation, are clearly going to prove invaluable for those occupying this space and allow those collaborating here to adapt and flex their projects.”

This combination is already proving popular with tenants, and the labs have filled up quickly. Charlotte Casebourne, CEO of tenant Theolytics Ltd, said: “The BioEscalator was exactly the environment that we needed to get Theolytics started, and the facilities team has been incredibly supportive over the course of that journey. As an additional factor, I cannot over-emphasise the value of being in an environment with other people navigating the challenges associated with the early start-up stage. In essence, I would wholeheartedly recommend the facilities to others at the early stages of their development journey.”

The BioEscalator shares the Innovation Building with the Novo Nordisk Research Centre Oxford. Co-location of medical researchers, clinicians, pharma and start-up companies on campus is a powerful combination for propelling ideas along the difficult path from idea to clinic.