12th January 2024

Our CEO, Anna Strongman’s, predictions for 2024

“The life sciences market is softening, partly due to overall quantum of venture capital investing in the sector, however, scientific advancements and the growing endeavours of spin outs is still driving growth.”

“This is particularly true in Oxford, which has a wealth of new offerings coming to the market next year – a key milestone for the region and the university’s ever-growing number of spin outs. This includes completion of our two new science buildings at Begbroke Science Park – one of which will be occupied by the University and the other a commercial tenant.

 “What is happening in Oxford could therefore be looked upon as a microcosm of what is happening in the UK more generally. There is an ever-growing diversity of space available, reflective in part to a growing awareness in the industry that life science is shorthand for innovation businesses more generally. There remains a need to be flexible and provide lab and workshop space to meet the varying requirements of developments in medical sciences, quantum computing, material sciences, energy systems and AI etc.

 “However, what is really needed to ensure this space is a success is the surrounding homes and infrastructure in the right locations. Tenants won’t occupy the lab and tech space if they cannot attract the best minds to work in them. Student housing to support these future great minds is also key in a city such as Oxford. There is an ongoing debate re affordability of student housing as investment continues into the sector. There is a growing spotlight on the issue and pressure on universities to work in partnership to resolve the problems.

 “Oxford University is leading the way in recognising these challenge having set OUD up with L&G as a JV partner with the express purpose of delivering the life sciences space but also homes, student homes, schools, public realm and academic facilities to support this growth.

 “Key for us in achieving this aim next year is the planning application for Begbroke Innovation District. Our vision for the site, which if consented would include around 1,800 homes and 50% open space, is for a contemporary new village that redefines the model for a 21t century community. Somewhere the brightest minds want to live and where they are enabled to continue making the discoveries that change the world.”

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