Norwich Research Park has been recognised as a “beacon of innovation excellence” and will receive the Outstanding Achievement award tomorrow at the Norfolk Business Awards. The award reflects the excellent work going on at the Park to translate the research from the resident institutes into innovative technologies.

The research produced by the Institutes at the Park is world-leading. The John Innes Centre and The Sainsbury’s Lab sit at the top of the global leader-board for research impact in the Plant and Animal sciences. The Earlham Institute is playing a crucial role in the “Earth Biogenome Project”, a hugely ambitious project to sequence the genomes of all living organisms led by the world’s most important research institutes. At the Quadram Institute, the move to a new, state-of-the-art building is attracting interest from internationally recognised researchers in the field of food and health.

Nevertheless, converting this excellent research into cutting-edge technologies is far from easy. Researchers often lack the business acumen and confidence to traverse into the realms of commercialisation, and those that do have to navigate a difficult and expensive road. David Parfrey, Executive Chairman of the NRP, believes making this journey simpler is the central ethos of the Park. Mr Parfrey told the EDP, “We’re building a bridge between the two sides and we are well on the way.” Indeed, the excellence shown at the Park in translating research into new businesses to drive economic growth was stated as the foremost factor for the award.

The science being produced by institutes at the NRP is world-leading but translating this into new technologies is a challenge.

David Parfrey, Executive Chairman of the Norwich Research Park, has put capturing research as technology at the heart of his vision. Photo: Archant.

Despite the award, David Parfrey still believes more can be done to make the commercialisation journey easier. Mr Parfrey is looking to provide greater business support to scientists using a virtual accelerator project. Not content with just skills support, a translation fund has been proposed that would use co-investment as a means to leverage funding from outside investors. Mr Parfrey is also looking to bolster the reputation of the Park to draw in scientists, businesses and investors both nationally and internationally. The Outstanding Achievement award could very well be the first of many for the ambitious Norwich Research Park.

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