Science investment, collaboration and the built environment

What is the future and character of science investment? Does it centre around a few large names or is it to be found in the art of drawing particular scientists and entrepreneurs together in an appropriate and effective dialogue - and in the right built environment?

There has been some discussion around the way science parks and innovation hubs are designed - some out of town and without effective space for those chance conversations that spark those 'light bulb' moments spurring then next great medical invention, collaboration or breakthrough.

The CEO of Moorfields Eye Hospital NHS Foundation Trust, David Probert, described at our January Future Cities Forum how its new campus with the UCL Institute of Ophthalmology will be created in the middle of a 'knowledge cluster' at St Pancras, near to the Crick Institute, UCLH and the Wellcome Trust, where doctors can work alongside research scientists.

King's College London has grown an ambition for developing a new science cluster for new med tech and bio-science companies alongside the Guy's and St Thomas' Hospital sites south of the Thames. Director of Real Estate Development Peter Ward says the new science cluster will develop outstanding research but will also be an economic driver of some significance for London, with a value of some £35 billion and a potential for 55,000 jobs:

This will be an important topic of discussion at our Future Cities Forum discussions in November at Newnham College Cambridge University where a wide range of contributors from hospital groups to leading science parks, technology companies, architects and planners will gather.