ARC takes off at Wonderlab

ARC (Advanced Research Clusters) (ARC), a next generation science, innovation and technology real estate platform, was launched today with an initial portfolio that includes Harwell Science and Innovation Campus and sites in London, Uxbridge and Oxford.  

ARC brings organisations together in place-based clusters, creating unique ecosystems that stimulate innovation to accelerate commercial growth for its members, incubating solutions to today and tomorrow’s global challenges from climate change to pandemics.  

Over 200 investors, journalists and innovators attended ARC’s official launch at Wonderlab in the Science Museum. Alok Jha, science correspondent at the Economist, delivered a keynote about future trends in science – ranging from the metaverse to mRNA. 

ARC is backed by one of the world’s largest investors – Brookfield – and follows their 2020 acquisition of a 50% stake in Harwell Science and Innovation Campus in 2020, and the acquisition of Arlington in 2021.  

Today, ARC’s portfolio consists of 1.6 million square feet of existing assets and 7 million square feet of development potential across the U.K.’s Golden Triangle and includes Harwell Science and Innovation Campus – a joint venture with the UK Government, alongside wholly owned sites – ARC Oxford, ARC Uxbridge, and ARC West London.  

With demand for high-quality, strategically located lab-enabled space outstripping supply, ARC has ambitious plans for further growth across the U.K. and Europe and is in active discussions on several potential new sites. By the mid-2020s over 1.5 million square feet will be developed across the 700-acre site at Harwell and the space available at Oxford will increase by 75 percent, with a 750,000 square foot expansion introducing new serviced lab space.  

At each site, ARC will build Motherlabs, an accelerator and incubator science ready space, flexible enough to suit every start-up and spin-out, helping them to grow sustainably, innovate and move ideas from concept, to lab, to commercialisation. The first Motherlabs will be opened at ARC West London in July 2022. 

ARC members will also have access to premier facilities, science-ready space and flexible open access co-working spaces. 

ARC will bring together scientists across the network through a tailored membership offering including business mentorship and advice, a programme of leadership events to nurture talent, community events and new amenities to spark connections as well as a bursary scheme to encourage more women into science. 

Stuart Grant, Chief Executive of ARC said: “With demand for science lab space outstripping supply it’s easy for real estate organisations to become complacent. We’ve listened to our members and have responded to their needs, creating a platform that is an authentic partner to science and innovation. We’re investing in 21st century science and innovation communities, creating connected clusters where innovation thrives and organisations can scale quickly and effectively through the membership package, mentorship and support on offer.”  

Current members of the ARC portfolio include Oxford Biomedica, the FTSE 250 biotechnology company behind the Oxford/AstraZeneca Covid-19 vaccine, Perspectum, a leader in using digital technology to improve care for patients with liver disease and DNA sequencing unicorn, Oxford Nanopore.