Innovation In Kent

Kent can provide the right environment, the best skills and the perfect networks for business innovation to thrive. Our county nurtures talent, giving businesses at all stages the support and space to grow with a rich and diverse skills base, extensive expertise, and strong international connections.

A History of Innovation

2022 marks 70 years since Pfizer first established operations in Folkestone to create the base compounds for life-saving medicines in the UK market. This was followed by a new research facility at Sandwich that would become famous as a world-leading centre for pharmaceutical research.

The company received three Queen’s Awards between 1979 and 2001 in recognition of the work carried out at facilities in what is now known as Discovery Park, including the creation of tropical treatment Mansil, anti-inflammatory medicine Feldene and sexual health drug Viagra.

At Kent Science Park in Sittingbourne, two blue plaques celebrate the life and research of Nobel prize award winning scientist Sir John Cornforth for his contributions to science in Kent including his work on developing penicillin during the Second World War. In 1975 he was joint winner of the Nobel Prize in Chemistry for research that would eventually lead to the development of statins used to control cholesterol levels in humans, lowering the risk of heart disease.

A Global Reputation for Excellence

From agricultural research to life science research and sustainable green technology, Kent is a place where brilliant ideas realise their potential – and garner the world’s attention.

Pioneering work includes the development of a new variety of strawberry at Agri-tech research centre NIAB EMR, creating more sustainable and efficient growing methods and reducing the need for imports. NIAB EMR is also working in partnership with leading UK vineyards, including many Kent producers, using the site’s scientific expertise to support the country’s rapidly growing viticultural sector. It will result in the UK’s first viticultural research centre opening here in Kent.

New health treatments using the properties of venom or research into molecules that encourage the immune system to fight disease; new hormone monitoring technologies with the potential to revolutionise women’s health.  These are just a few examples of the vast range of cutting-edge work taking place here in Kent. Industry focused universities are also providing the catalyst for the next generation of innovators in the county from research into the potential of Artificial Intelligence and Virtual Reality to advances in food production, health technology and advanced manufacturing.

An Innovator Ecosystem

With its world-class infrastructure and unique collaborative approach, Discovery Park has established itself as one of the UK’s top science, technology and innovation parks, with a fantastic track record in drug discovery. Its thriving community is made up of visionary entrepreneurs and leaders from small scientific teams to industry-leading labs who work side-byside across its 220 acres, including Pfizer, Viatris, Unilabs (York Bio), Resolian, Concept Life Sciences and Algaecytes. With state-of-the-art laboratory, office, coworking and specialist manufacturing facilities and a strong network of support, Discovery Park provides the ideal environment for businesses to start, scale and succeed.

The park also runs a series of large-scale events attracting industry-leading speakers and delegates, provides growth programmes for earlystage businesses and has its own investment fund – Discovery Park Ventures. The £3m fund invests in novel and disruptive technologies and ambitious, growing life science companies and has plans to expand up to £25m in the next three years.

Kent Science Park in Sittingbourne offers over 500,000 sq. ft. of high-spec, purpose-built laboratory and business accommodation across 47 buildings. The site is perfect to nurturestart-ups and to serve expanding or mature companies focusing on agri-tech, biotech, biopharma and more. Awarded the UKSPA Best Life Science Research Facility in South East England in 2016, Kent Science Park is now part of the We Are Pioneer Group, a £450m network of 10 science parks across the UK.  GW Pharmaceuticals, awarded the Queen’s Award for Enterprise for its work developing cannabis based medicines is among the business located at the site.

Opportunities To Grow

Kent Medical Campus – offering a range of flexible opportunities including headquarters buildings, specialist residential and rehabilitation care, as well as Higher Education training facilities for the medical and health care professions, the campus will create more than 4,000 jobs and provide 98,000 m2 (1,000,000 ft2) of flexible accommodation.A £9.5 million

The Maidstone Innovation Centre is a brand-new hub for the med-tech, life science,
and healthcare sectors, specialising in Digital and AI. This cutting-edge facility provides 30,000 sq. ft of state-of-the-art serviced office and workshop spaces, meticulously designed to cultivate an environment conducive to this flourishing sector. Creating a dynamic and collaborative ecosystem that is expected to generate around 270 jobs and bring in a further £120m to the local economy over the next decade. At its heart, the hub hosts esteemed industry leaders such as Michelson Diagnostics Ltd world leading imaging technology experts in skin research and XT Biomed, a distinguished Medical Technology manufacturer, alongside PharmaEthical, a trailblazing Health Tech company, along with various other innovative enterprises.

Speak to one of our advisors now to find out how our service can help you

Charlie Hutchings-Lawrence , Business Development Manager
Direct: +44 (0)1732 520700

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