University plays key role in Investment Zone plans

Liverpool city skyline

The University of Liverpool has been a vital contributor to the Liverpool City Region’s Investment Zone plans. Announced today, these plans will supercharge health and life sciences.

Today (Tuesday 12 March 2024) Liverpool City Region Mayor Steve Rotheram unveiled 21 projects funded by a £160m Government pledge, including major development plans in the Knowledge Quarter Liverpool, home to the University’s Liverpool campus. Overall, it’s expected these ambitious plans, which will run for 10 years, have the potential to attract £800m investment, transforming the economy while saving lives worldwide.

Funding will enable the expansion of the University of Liverpool’s world-first Centre of Excellence for Long-acting Therapeutics (CELT) and the Civic HealthTech Innovation Zone (CHI-Zone), which will spearhead the use of AI to transform health and social care. The Investment Zone funding will also enable the Microbiome and Infectious Disease (MaID) Innovation Hub and The Pandemic Institute to further drive the development of microbiome therapies and tackle emerging infections and pandemic threats.

HEMISPHERE One and Two, based in the Knowledge Quarter Liverpool, close to The Spine, also play a significant part in plans. Liverpool City Council’s flagship regeneration scheme consists of two multi-storey high-tech new builds to satisfy a soaring demand for chemistry and life science laboratories.

University of Liverpool Vice-Chancellor Professor Tim Jones said: “We are a global University, delivering world-leading research but with a keen focus on our civic role in the city and wider region. We look forward to playing a vital role in the delivery of these ambitious plans which will result in meaningful research that will have real-world impact.”

Mayor of the Liverpool City Region, Steve Rotheram, said: “With up to £800m of investment and thousands of quality, high skilled jobs on offer, the Liverpool City Region Innovation Zone is an important tool in our arsenal to position our area at the head of UK science and innovation. 

“But in the Liverpool City Region, we’re proud to do things differently. Throughout the development of our Innovation Zone, I have been clear that any investment in our area must go further than purely financial incentives. I want to use our status as a force for good, to connect our residents up to secure, well-paid jobs and training opportunities, and attract transformational investment into our communities. 

“Becoming an innovation superpower is a lofty ambition – but I firmly believe that, if anywhere has the potential to achieve it, then it is the Liverpool City Region.”

More about University of Liverpool Investment Zone projects

The Civic HealthTech Innovation Zone (CHI-Zone)

Led by the University, the CHI-Zone will spearhead the use of artificial intelligence (AI) and other data-driven technologies to transform healthcare, social care and wellness – raising international visibility and driving exports.

Using a ‘technologies for all, for life’ approach, it will develop AI to tackle global challenges – giving children a better start in life and helping adults to thrive. It will also create AIs to enable older people to live better, including the use of AI-powered technologies in homes and communities.

Initially based in Liverpool Science Park, CHI-Zone will expand into HEMISPHERE One as it builds on the city region’s civic data foundations to establish a world leading civic AI cooperative.

The Pandemic Institute

Established in 2021, The Pandemic Institute (TPI) is a unique academic, health and civic partnership with a global mission to tackle emerging infections and future pandemic threats. Investment Zone funding will support TPI in their ambitions to build a new Pandemic Preparedness and Response Facility in Liverpool containing state-of-the-art research laboratories that will strengthen the UK’s infectious disease research and innovation capabilities. TPI’s work will accelerate the development of diagnostics, therapeutics and vaccines, and will be a national facility for use by members of the UK Pandemic Sciences Network.

Centre of Excellence for Long-acting Therapeutics (CELT)

The world’s first Centre of Excellence for Long-acting Therapeutics was established by the University of Liverpool in 2020 as part of a £30.5m international research consortium.

Primarily funded by global health organisation Unitaid, CELT combines the University’s world-renowned expertise in pharmacology and materials chemistry to transform treatments that already exist in pill form into long-acting medicines, making key drugs much easier for patients to take and for clinicians to administer.

Microbiome and Infectious Disease (MaID) Innovation Hub

Supported by Investment Zone funding, the Microbiome and Infectious Disease (MaID) Innovation Hub will drive development and commercialisation of microbiome therapies, novel antimicrobials and diagnostics for infectious disease.

Microbiomes – communities of microorganisms – offer a new frontier in tackling infectious disease, cancer, inflammatory bowel disease and mental health. They are also an important source of novel antimicrobials such as bacteriophage that can act as alternatives to antibiotics and help to tackle global antimicrobial resistance (AMR).

What is the Investment Zone

Liverpool City Region is one of 12 UK areas selected for Investment Zone status – and is one of only three that will also benefit from Freeport status.

Each region was selected by the UK Government because it has existing assets, capabilities and strengths which can be used to address deep-rooted or unmet productivity potential.

Liverpool City Region’s Life Science Investment Zone status was formally announced in July 2023.

The Chancellor announced the extension of the scheme in last year’s Autumn Statement – including the doubling of Government funding to £160m.

The region’s Life Sciences Investment Zone plans are detailed in a new Prospectus highlighting the area’s world leading innovation strengths and assets – find the prospectus here.