Funding is in place for a new half million-pound life sciences centre in the city, creating 100 jobs.

The Oxford Trust – a city charity which encourages the pursuit of science and enterprise – plans to install life science laboratory facilities at its Wood Centre for Innovation in Headington.

£100,000 in funding towards the project comes from the Government’s Local Growth Fund, via the Oxfordshire Local Enterprise Partnership (OxLEP).

Plans for the new lab follow a leap in demand from science and tech start-ups and small businesses for lab space in Oxford’s global health and life sciences district, which is one of the UK’s leading technology clusters delivering lifesaving developments such as the Covid-19 vaccine.

The work will be carried out by laboratory specialist project managers Bulb Laboratories.

The new lab will total 3,300 sq ft of advanced research and development laboratory space for work at containment level two with climate control and air handling and 500 sq ft of shared facilities for common equipment and specialist microscopy use, including liquid nitrogen storage, autoclave, water purifier and dark room. The project is due for completion in Spring 2021.

Surrounded by 15-acres of woodland, the Wood Centre for Innovation is within easy reach of the clinical research facilities at Oxford University’s Old Road Campus, the city's hospitals, and Oxford Brookes University.

The funding is expected to significantly boost employment at the innovation centre as companies move in to provide further economic growth for the city and local community.

Alongside the lab space, the Wood Centre for Innovation provides grade A offices, co-working and desk space in Barclays Eagle Lab, a lecture theatre, meeting rooms, café area and sector-specific business support.

Steve Burgess, CEO of The Oxford Trust said: “Now more than ever, we need to invest to support local innovators and entrepreneurs to develop ground-breaking ideas.

“This first phase of laboratory installations at the Wood Centre for Innovation means we will be able to offer a complete range of spaces in our two innovation centres from virtual offices and co-working to grade A office space and laboratory facilities to support science and tech start-ups and spin-outs on their journey to success. Thank you to OxLEP for their continued support of not just The Trust and our charitable aims but Oxfordshire’s innovation ecosystem. With this national government funding we are able to quickly pivot to meet the significant demand from companies needing specific lab space.”

The first phase of the works is planned to be completed in the spring. If successful, the trust will then look to add further laboratory space.