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Prince Philip to open York's Biocentre

Posted on 5 February 2003

HRH Prince Philip, the Duke of Edinburgh, is to open the £7 million flagship Biocentre at York Science Park, next to the campus of the University of York, on Friday 21 February. He will then go on to visit the Biology Department's new research laboratories.

At the Biocentre, Prince Philip will be shown the ground-breaking work of the high-tech therapeutics company RiboTargets, the Biocentre's first tenant. Ribotargets develops novel anti-bacterial and anti-cancer drugs using X-ray diffraction techniques and high speed computers.

The Biocentre exists to provide a supportive environment for start-up biotechnology companies, with dedicated laboratories and managed workspace. Yorkshire Forward has invested £2 million in the Biocentre, seeing it as a catalyst for business growth in the region's bioscience cluster. More than 3,000 life scientists now work in York and its surrounding area.

The Biocentre is one of three 'incubator' buildings operating or being constructed on York Science Park. The Biocentre, the Innovation Centre (which opened in 1994) and the IT Centre (open later this year), together provide 100,000 sq ft of incubation space for start-up companies. Once established, businesses are expected to move into independent premises and release space for other start-up companies.

The Duke of Edinburgh will meet the Vice Chancellor Professor Brian Cantor, Susanne Walker, Managing Director of the Biocentre and the Innovation Centre, Professor Tony Robards who is Chair of York Science Park and Professor Rod Hubbard, Director of Structural Sciences at RiboTargets and Professor of Structural Biology at the University of York.

Professor Brian Cantor said: 'The Biocentre is important for the University as it offers opportunity for spin-off companies and demonstrates the University's role as an economic generator. It is important for York because it highlights York's future as a science city. And it is important for the region because it is a key part of the bioscience cluster. I am delighted that the Duke will be formally opening the facility.'

Chief Executive of Yorkshire Forward Martin Havenhand, who will represent the regional development agency at the ceremony, added: 'We at Yorkshire Forward are committed to the principle of bioscience and have selected the bioscience cluster as a priority for investment and promotion. We want to encourage higher productivity, more new business formation, greater innovation and increased inward investment. Bioscience is expected to show extremely strong growth worldwide and there is real potential within the region - it is important to harness it.'

The Duke of Edinburgh will then visit the University's new £25 million Biology research building which is to be opened formally in the summer. During his visit he will see work in the Cancer Research Unit, the Centre for Novel Agricultural Products, and the Climate Change laboratories.

Notes to editors:

  • Prince Philip will visit the National Railway Museum on the afternoon of 21 February. For further information please contact Camilla Harrison on 01904 686281.
  • The University of York has the highest average teaching score in measures of teaching quality in UK universities. It appears in the top ten of every national league table and is the only university in the north of Britain to do so.
  • York Science Park is a 21-acre site, the final phase of which is now being developed. It opened in 1991.
  • Almost 800 employees work in 31 companies on the site.
  • York Science Park is a joint-venture between the University of York and P & O Developments .
  • The Department of Biology at York is one of the leading centres for biological teaching and research in the UK. Staff teach degree courses and undertake research across the whole spectrum of modern Biology, from molecular genetics and biochemistry to ecology. The Department has over 400 scientific and support staff and teaches over 400 undergraduates. The Department has one of the highest research ratings and currently has research contracts worth over £20 million.
  • The £25 million redevelopment, which provides new and refurbished buildings for the Biology Department's research, will open later this year. The buildings have been designed around a state-of-the-art technology hub with specialist equipment worth £5 million.


  • The Biocentre, York Science Park, Friday 21 February 2003
  • 10.30 am Prince Philip arrives and meets civic dignitaries
  • 11am Prince Philip unveils plaque
  • Press wishing to attend must contact the University of York Communications Office for a pass

Contact details

David Garner
Senior Press Officer

Tel: +44 (0)1904 322153