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'Science Cities' forum in Whitechapel with Barts Life Sciences and QMUL

View towards the Royal London Hospital, part of Barts Health NHS Trust, looking west towards the City of London. The New Road buildings of Queen Mary University of London / QMB Innovation Centre sit near to the hospital campus (Courtesy HOK)

We are delighted that we will be hosted by Barts Life Sciences and Queen Mary University of London for our November 'Science Cities' discussions in London. Barts Life Sciences has a vision - based on the adjacent location of the Royal London Hospital and the Queen Mary Biosciences Innovation Centre which has the aim to transform the future of healthcare, not only for the people of London and the UK, but globally.

Its ultimate ambition is to build a new life sciences campus that will provide a space for researchers, scientists and clinicians to work directly alongside businesses and entrepreneurs, creating the healthcare solutions of tomorrow. This will allow Barts Life Sciences to share ground-breaking ideas, develop new ways of working, improve health outcomes and reduce the costs faced by health systems.

Programme Director for Barts Life Sciences, Sven Bunn, explained to FUTURE CITIES FORUM last September:

'We have a long tradition of innovation in Whitechapel, it is home to the one of the oldest hospitals in the country and has a leading edge in healthcare and research. There is a massive opportunity here to build the innovation district, re-using some of the older buildings on site and using areas of land that are vacant. It is a complicated site with lots of underground tunnels and a mix of buildings including a 1910 outpatient block and a 1920s sexual health clinic, with some further buildings from the 1960s. The challenge is to create one million square feet of adaptable space for scientists with supporting offices. The blue tower of the new Royal London Hospital is very distinctive and makes a statement and we need to be able to put in other buildings that are complementary. We have confidence in the investment of the site, but it all requires physical space.'

Barts says that in order to build on the significant life sciences work already undertaken at Barts Health, it plans to create a thriving life sciences centre at the heart of a vibrant cluster which will sit next door to The Royal London Hospital.

In July 2018, the Department of Health and Social Care bought underused land from Barts Health to kick-start the development of this cutting-edge research campus:

'The plan is to develop several plots of land left over following the development of the new Royal London Hospital into one of the most modern research facilities in Europe. The land covers a ground area equivalent to two-and-a-half football pitches.

The new development will create up to 11,500 full-time jobs and will be a powerful incentive for attracting new start-ups and other innovative and dynamic enterprises. Revenue will be reinvested back into local healthcare, securing clinical and financial sustainability.'

Future Cities Forum been running this 'Science cities' series since 2018, starting with David Probert discussing 'Project Oriel' when he was CEO at Moorfields, and John Anderson, Director of Financial Strategy at Imperial College London (talking at White City Place on the making of Imperial West) - looking at how to create the best places for R&D - across life sciences and technology - and how to develop and open up modern hospital and university campuses so they integrate better with their host cities and communities.

We have also discussed, at our Oxford and Cambridge forums, the development of urban labs, located in former shopping centres such as the Clarendon Centre by Cornmarket in Oxford - and the appeal for scientists and life sciences businesses to be located in vibrant districts.

The questions to be discussed at Whitechapel will include:

How complementary can London's emerging science and knowledge clusters be - SC1, Paddington, Kings Cross / St Pancras, Whitechapel and Imperial West?

How well can they compete with the best in Europe, Asia - and the USA?

What will the Whitechapel Life Sciences district offer to local communities? Is there a 'blue-print' for community engagement?


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