Bid to create hundreds of jobs in food science
Updated 11:44am Wednesday 7th May 2014 in News
UP to 800 new jobs and a £100 million economic injection could be on the way for York with plans to grow the city's food science industry.
Bids totalling £8.3 million have been submitted to Government to enhance an innovation campus, which forms part of the Food and Environment Research Agency (FERA) at Sand Hutton, near York.
The requests for funding from the Local Growth Fund have been put forward by the York, North Yorkshire and East Riding Local Enterprise Partnership.
A total of £2.3 million has already been confirmed which will be used to further the develop the National AgriFood Innovation Campus, formerly known as the Applied Innovation Campus.
The funding request outlined that the money was needed to "upgrade existing science spaces, creating a more appropriate working environment that is better suited to the needs of potential tenants, accelerating start ups and grown-on organisations".
The campus sits on the FERA site, off the A64, and is already home to two businesses; Forsite Diagnostics and Aptamer Diagnostics.
It is hoped the improvements will attract more private sector business in the AgriFood and AgriTech industries on to the site.
Barry Dodd, chairman of the Local Enterprise Partnership, said: "Development of the National AgriFood Innovation Campus will open it up to new non-Government business and enhance its scientific capabilities, establishing it as a national exemplar of AgriFood and AgriTech innovation.
"Ultimately, this shall also enable up to 800 new jobs and inject £100m into the economy."
The remaining £6 million funding request is being submitted as part of a planned project to improve a series of junctions on the A64, one of which is the turn-off to Sand Hutton, which will open up access to the Innovation Campus.
David Dickson, chairman of Science City York, which is an organisation set up to unite and promote the city's science industry, said: "The facilities at Sand Hutton are world class.
"Initiatives which improve access to the site and enable both public and private sector organisations, particularly in the food and agriculture industries, to work alongside FERA must be good for the economy."
Last week Environment Secretary Owen Paterson announced the Government is seeking a private investor to work as a join investor with FERA, with a procurement process to find a partner in move aimed at freeing FERA from public sector constraints.
Mr Paterson said this will protect and enhance FERA's scientific capabilities in the long term, adding: "Procuring the right external partner, with the necessary commercial expertise and experience will help FERA to maximise its market potential and grow its non-government revenue."
The chosen partner for the joint venture will be announced by the end of the year.
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