The UK science minister took part in a ceremony to mark the start of a £40 million research and development building scheme in Abingdon.

Andrew Griffith MP was present as the ceremony celebrated the Nebula scheme at Milton Park.

This 80,000 sq ft development signifies the UK's ambition to be a scientific and tech superpower by 2030.

Oxford Mail: Andrew Griffith MP taking part in the time capsule burialAndrew Griffith MP taking part in the time capsule burial (Image: Milton Park)

The finished project, aiming to combine flexible research and development areas with offices, will offer expansion space for science, technology and advanced engineering companies.

Key members from the Milton Park team, along with representatives from construction firm Barnwood Limited, and park occupiers, were also in attendance.

The event saw the burial of a "science superpower" themed time capsule, filed with laboratory and tech equipment.

After the ceremony, Mr Griffith took a tour of Evotec and Immunocore’s labs, situated within Milton Park.

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He said: "Breaking ground at Milton Park's Nebula development today is a tangible step in the future of scientific and technological advancement in the UK.

"This state-of-the-art facility will facilitate those achieving breakthroughs from engineering to life sciences, support skilled jobs here in Oxfordshire, and enhance the UK’s position as a science superpower."

Philip Campbell, commercial director at MEPC, a property investment and development business based at Milton Park, said: "It was a real privilege to welcome Minister Griffith to Milton Park to mark the official launch of our stellar Nebula project."

Construction of the scheme’s seven buildings, ranging from 6,000 to 13,000 sq ft, will see the substructure, structural frame and envelope delivered before the internal fit-out and finishing touches

Construction is expected to be completed in winter this year.

Nebula's occupants will enjoy a infrastructural boost thanks to a £7 million investment aimed at enhancing the park's energy capacity.

Kathryn Andrew, development manager at MEPC, said: "Nebula will enable Milton Park’s occupiers to scale quickly when their innovation begins to skyrocket.

"We’re looking forward to providing more updates on the development’s progress over the coming year."

The buildings will feature sustainable glue-laminated timber, known as glulam, as a replacement for steel.

This reduces the levels of embodied carbon.

The exposed glulam beams will be visible inside, with vaulted ceilings providing more space for larger equipment, aiding in the growth of industries like the UK's space sector.

Nebula is set to meet BREEAM ‘Excellent’ sustainability standards and will target an A-rating Energy Performance Certificate (EPC), the top band for building energy efficiency.

Plans for Nebula were given a swift approval via the Park’s Local Development Order (LDO), a 10-day LDO that simplifies and speeds up the planning process.