Sir Patrick Vallance, along with the Chief Scientific Adviser at the Food Standards Agency, Prof Robin May, visited the Quadram Institute and unveiled a commemorative plaque at the £75 million institute which first opened its doors in 2018/19. The Government Chief Scientific Adviser met NHS staff and Quadram scientists who worked on COVID vaccine development and on genomic sequencing of the virus.
The Quadram Institute is a UK science national capability with scientists working to protect people from foodborne pathogens, optimise food and the gut microbiome to improve human health, and home to a Clinical Research Facility and Endoscopy service.
The Government Chief Scientific Adviser’s visit to the Norwich Research Park also took in a tour of the John Innes Centre and The Sainsbury Laboratory to hear more about the ‘Healthy Plants, Healthy People, Healthy Planet’ (HP3) vision, which outlines an ambitious vision for the future including solutions enabling agri-business and pharmaceuticals to create products with profound societal impact.
Combined with visits to the Earlham Institute and Tropic Bioscience, Sir Patrick saw first-hand how the cohesive nature of the research cluster is enabling big data analysis to sequence genes at a rate unimaginable only a few years ago, accelerating the breeding of desirable traits into crops, and generating worldwide partnerships to tackle emerging biosecurity threats – including ash dieback, Xylella, and currently unforeseen threats to food production and human health.
The visit also focused on the potential for genetic technologies to help innovate improved crops and healthier food in response to pressing concerns such as nutritional need, climate change, resource scarcity, pollution and food security. The ability to use genetic technologies will help grow agri-tech innovation and give British businesses, research institutes, universities, start-ups and spin-outs, more opportunities to innovate and help meet societal needs
Sir Patrick Vallance, Government Chief Scientific Adviser, said: “The important work being carried out at the Norwich Research Park is helping to improve the use of science in policymaking and service delivery. I was delighted to formally open the Quadram Institute and congratulate its staff on their work both during the pandemic and their day-to-day research and patient care.”
Sir Patrick Vallance and Professor Robin May also visited the Centrum and met senior academics and clinicians from the University of East Anglia and the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust.
Professor Ian Charles, Director of the Quadram Institute and Chair of the Norwich Bioscience Institutes, said: “It was a real privilege to host a visit from Sir Patrick Vallance and Prof Robin May and to mark the formal opening of the Quadram Institute. The cluster of scientific excellence here on the Norwich Research Park is a real strength for our region and is a scientific dynamo for innovation and growth regionally and nationally.”
About the Norwich Research Park
Norwich Research Park is one of the largest single-site concentrations of research in food, genomics and health in Europe which hosts 3,000 scientists and commands over £230 million in annual research spending.
The park includes four independent internationally renowned research institutes: John Innes Centre (JIC), Quadram Institute, Earlham Institute and The Sainsbury Laboratory (TSL); with UEA and Norfolk and Norwich University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust (NNUH), supported and funded by The John Innes Foundation and the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC).
The park is associated with over 40 companies and a number of these were borne out of research developed at the world-leading institutes located at the park. The research park and its member organisations are an excellent example of place/cluster in action and were instrumental to the UK’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic, e.g. genomic sequencing, PPE innovation and vaccine trials.
The Quadram Institute is an interdisciplinary research centre at the forefront of a new era of food and health research. It brings together researchers and clinicians under one roof, houses one of Europe’s largest endoscopy units and a clinical research facility.
Based on the Norwich Research Park, the Quadram Institute is a partnership between Quadram Institute Bioscience, the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, the University of East Anglia and BBSRC.
Its mission is to deliver healthier lives through innovation in gut health, microbiology and food and its vision is to understand how food and microbes interact to promote health and prevent disease.