New National Science Hub comes to Harlow

PHE Science Hub

Public Health England has chosen Harlow as the location for its new national Science Hub and this will also provide a spur to the development of the Harlow Enterprise Zone.

Harlow Council has welcomed the decision that Harlow is to be the location for new £350m world-class public health labs which will create opportunities for local people and recognises Harlow as a major place in which to invest.

This investment in Harlow was initially announced by the Chancellor in September 2015 and will see Public Health England (PHE) move from its existing ageing facilities at Porton Down into the new labs at Harlow. This will continue PHE’s vital work in tackling some of the biggest issues in public health. In November of last year a further announcement by the Government saw confirmation that all of the PHE activities will now move to Harlow. This completes the plan to bring all the public health laboratories onto a single integrated campus, which will open in 2019.

The new facilities, based on the site currently owned by GSK (GlaxoSmithKline) in the Pinnacles, will create a leading centre for research, health improvement and protection and allowing the continued development of world-leading work on international health threats. The Secretary of State for Health, Jeremy Hunt, said “The Ebola emergency showed us just how important it is to have a world class scientific capability. This Government is committed to making sure we are global leaders in research, and through this multi-million pound investment we will create a brand new centre bringing together experts in state-of-the-art facilities.”

The new location in Harlow ensures Public Health England are well placed for collaborative work and engagement with a range of academia and the life sciences industry, with some of the best in the UK being based in the local area. The announcement will provide a boost to the development of the Enterprise Zone, which has Life Sciences as one of its target sectors. It will increase the ability of Harlow to attract world class companies to the town to capitalise on the presence of Public Health England’s new facility.

Councillor Jon Clempner, Leader of Harlow Council, said: “This is extremely good news for Harlow as it will increase the number of high quality science and research jobs and other job roles in the town. Harlow is at the heart of the London Cambridge Life Sciences corridor, and this will reinforce Harlow’s growing reputation as a science led town. It will also contribute to the Enterprise Zone developments in Harlow and the new world-class public health labs link perfectly with its MedTech focus, as well as increasing the attractiveness of the town for businesses in the science and health sector. We want the world’s best scientists and researchers to work here in Harlow but we also want to improve higher education and the educational and career opportunities for local people. Having world-class labs in Harlow will help to do just that.”

Making the announcement while visiting the site of the new labs in Harlow last September, Chancellor of the Exchequer, George Osborne said:

“This investment is crucial for the future of research and innovation in public health. Moving PHE from their current facilities into new labs here in Harlow is not only the right thing to do for the future of health research, but it’s the right decision for the taxpayer. I look forward to seeing the development of these world-class facilities and the important role they’ll play in keeping Britain safe.”

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