UK Biobank will move to Manchester Science Park following £127.6m funding from UKRI

UK Biobank, the world’s most significant source of data and biological samples for health research, is set to receive £127.6m to fund a move to a larger, faster, and more efficient, purpose-built facility at Bruntwood SciTech’s Manchester Science Park. This follows an application by the Medical Research Council to the UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) Infrastructure Fund to support UK Biobank’s development.

UK Biobank’s biological samples, laboratories, headquarters and around half of its 250 staff will move to the new facility.

The funding will cover a latest-generation robotic freezer that stores and retrieves 20 million biological samples that have been donated by UK Biobank’s 500,000 volunteer participants.

The facility is being developed with the support of The University of Manchester, and will enable new projects to turn the samples into data and drive discoveries into how to prevent and treat a wide range of diseases.

Professor Sir Rory Collins, Principal Investigator and CEO of UK Biobank said, “We are thrilled to be moving to a world-leading centre for genomics and data, where we can build on existing relationships with The University of Manchester. We are incredibly grateful to UKRI for their funding and support, which will enable us to consider new ways to enrich the data and make UK Biobank even more valuable for health research. The improved technologies and capacity at our new home will also make it quicker and easier for researchers from around the world to conduct vital research into common and life-threatening diseases and enable new scientific discoveries that improve human health.”


Professor Dame Ottoline Leyser, Chief Executive of UK Research and Innovation, said “UKRI is proud to invest in cutting-edge infrastructure across the UK to drive discovery, strengthen innovative businesses and improve public services, creating a wide range of high-quality jobs.

“UK Biobank is one of the UK’s leading biomedical science infrastructures, providing essential resources for thousands of academic and industry projects in the UK and around the world. Demand is growing year-on-year as UK Biobank’s datasets get richer over time. The insights enabled by UK Biobank have already driven change in the NHS and we look forward to seeing this powerful resource continue to thrive.”


Professor Dame Nancy Rothwell, President and Vice-Chancellor of The University of Manchester and member of UK Biobank’s Board, saidI’m very pleased that UK Biobank has chosen to move here as it is yet more evidence of how Manchester has become one of the world’s leading hubs for science and innovation. UK Biobank will be joining the community of stellar research organisations that are already working with The University of Manchester to make a difference across the UK and around the world.”

Bruntwood SciTech – one of the UK’s leading property developers dedicated to the growth of the science and technology sector – is developing the new 131,000 sq ft Greenheys facility within Manchester Science Park, which sits at the heart of the city’s Oxford Road Corridor innovation district.

Kath Mackay, Director of Life Sciences at Bruntwood SciTech, said, “Manchester is a world-renowned hub for science and technology, and the ability for UK Biobank to grow here is testament to the quality of talent, innovation and support within the city. The development of Greenheys represents the third phase of our masterplan to grow Manchester Science Park to more than 1 million sq ft of cutting-edge life sciences and tech space which, critically, will support the creation of over 2,500 jobs as Manchester’s Oxford Road Corridor continues to thrive.”

Relocation to the Greenheys site on Manchester Science Park will provide UK Biobank with new opportunities for collaboration with multi-disciplinary researchers and industry. It will also offer access to additional talent due to the proximity to leading institutions operating across research, academia, business and the NHS. The move will also support the Government’s ambitions stated in the ‘Levelling Up’ White Paper to increase R&D spending outside the Greater Southeast by over 40% by 2030, whilst retaining UK Biobank in the Greater Manchester area and contributing to the advancement of one of the UK’s most established life science and tech communities.

The new scheme is subject to planning approval by Manchester City Council. UK Biobank’s relocation is supported by Arcadis, the global built environment consultancy and Metro-Dynamics, the economics consultancy. Bruntwood SciTech’s facility design team is led by BDP Manchester with Silcock Leedham, DW Consu

Global professional services firm Aon unveils new Manchester office as part of North West growth ambitions

 Aon plc (NYSE: AON), a leading global professional services firm, has moved to new premises in Manchester by relocating to 11 York Street. 

Aon which employs around 50,000 people worldwide, has taken the full 17,282 sq ft fifth floor of 11 York Street. This allows Aon to bring the whole Manchester-based team together in one space and provide a flexible, collaborative, open, working environment for all colleagues. 

At the official opening of the new office Greater Manchester Mayor, Andy Burnham, welcomed Aon’s 200 Manchester-based staff to their new home. 

He was joined by representatives from across all of Aon’s teams, along with current and recent graduates of the firm’s apprenticeship programme.

Andy Burnham,  Mayor of Greater Manchester, said:

“It’s an honour to officially welcome the Aon team to their new Manchester office. Insurance is a major employer for this city and helps to grow the local economy. It’s great to see a business such as Aon committing its future to the city and to supporting clients right across the North West.

“It has been a pleasure to meet the team and hear about Aon’s initiatives to attract young people into the industry through professional apprenticeships and work experience programmes. It’s clear to see from the work the team does and the clients they work with, that Aon is providing the exciting career opportunities needed to help retain talent in the city, thereby strengthening Manchester’s position as the Insurance Powerhouse of the North. This fantastic new office is a really impressive space and somewhere I’m sure the Aon team will enjoy working.”


Michael Barber, Aon Manchester Branch Director, Commercial Risk Solutions,  said:

“Manchester is the UK’s second insurance city and one of Aon’s most prominent locations. Investing in this new city centre base is a key part of our growth ambition for the North West. As a global leader in the field, and a major part of the region’s insurance scene, partnering with clients across a diverse range of sectors, ownership structures and sizes, right across the North, we can provide an exciting and rewarding career for both highly experienced insurance professionals and new entrants. This high quality and inspiring working environment, with its state-of-the-art amenities and strong ESG benefits, reflects a deep-seated commitment to our colleagues and clients.”

An environmentally-conscious choice for Aon, 11 York Street is BREEAM Excellent and EPC A rated and incorporates state-of-the-art lighting, heating and cooling systems to reduce carbon emissions and improve internal air quality. Public and sustainable transport options are encouraged for employees as the building is located five minutes from the Market Street and Piccadilly tram stops, and is close to the city’s bus terminals. Cyclists are also well catered for with 58 bike storage lockers, showers and drying facilities on site.

Jonathan Craven, Partner in Aon’s Wealth Solutions business said:

In seeking new office space, Aon focused on maintaining a city centre location and finding a building which fitted with both our Smart Working Model and ESG commitments. 

“Smart Working is centred on the four Cs – Clients, Collaboration, Celebration and Coaching and, while we have embraced the myriad benefits of hybrid working, the office remains a place to connect, build knowledge, develop capabilities, enrich careers and contribute to a sense of belonging. 11 York Street certainly aligns with that.

“We wanted to design a space to support Smart Working, focusing on how we work not necessarily where and when we work, in a way which allows us to deliver the best for our clients. This new space will help us in that ambition to develop strong teams and create an inclusive work environment, both in-office and through virtual collaboration, where all colleagues feel a sense of belonging and further strengthens the firm’s culture.” 

The team has moved from 40 Spring Gardens where the firm had been based since 2011. During the move Aon recycled some of the office furniture, netting £3,600 for charity. 

Michael Barber added:

“Aon has a strong commitment to supporting communities across the UK where our colleagues and clients live and work. In Manchester, colleagues have long supported good causes in different ways, from mentoring students of all ages to hosting charity fundraising events. While planning this move, we felt it was important to make best use of resources which weren’t moving with us. We were delighted, therefore, that our furniture supplier agreed to take some of the old furniture back and gave us £3,600. This has been donated to the Aon UK Charitable Foundation to share among the charities up and down the UK that our colleagues choose to support, including Wood Street Mission in Manchester.”

The 80,000 sq ft 11 York Street is owned by Aviva Investors, the global asset management business of Aviva Plc. Occupiers include Rolls-Royce, Avison Young, and Teneo.

Aon was advised by CBRE. 

Aon employs around 200 insurance and risk management specialists at its Manchester office providing clients, from SMEs to large corporates, with commercial risk solutions, health solutions, reinsurance solutions and wealth solutions.


Stockport named Greater Manchester’s Town of Culture for 2023


Stockport will take on the title of Greater Manchester’s Town of Culture for 2023, securing £50,000 to support arts and creativity in the borough.

Local stars including Mercury nominees Blossoms and Stockport County’s Macauley Southam-Hales joined Mayor of Greater Manchester Andy Burnham, Stockport Council Leader Cllr Mark Hunter, and representatives from across the town’s cultural scene for the announcement at the Hat Works on Tuesday 23 May 2023.

In recent years Stockport has been widely celebrated as an emerging hub of creative activity in Greater Manchester, and last year was dubbed the ‘new Berlin’ by DJ Luke Unabomber.

The town’s bid was centred around the One Stockport vision to support the local economy, connect communities and promote health and wellbeing. It will be underpinned by four elements that celebrate arts and creativity in the broadest sense, as well as the town’s diverse cultural heritage: Stockport Makes, Stockport Moves, Stockport Sounds and Stockport Tastes.

Stockport’s year as Town of Culture coincides with a number of major public redevelopments and investment in the town, including the Town Centre West regeneration, the refurbishment of the iconic Hat Works museum, cutting edge digital arts opportunities to be opened up through the £2.6m Stockport Creative Campus Cultural Fund, and the development of the £14m Future High Street Stockroom discovery centre.

Mayor of Greater Manchester Andy Burnham said: “It’s a real pleasure to be able to announce Stockport as our third ever Town of Culture for 2023. The town put forward a strong case for the accolade, backed up by some really exciting plans for events and activities that celebrate Stockport’s identity, its history, but also shine a spotlight on everything that’s happening right now.

“I think the fact that we’ve got Blossoms coming out to support us today just goes to show the talent that is coming out of this place and the pride they have in their hometown. I’m pleased to see so many cultural organisations and community groups already engaging with the Town of Culture project, because they’re the ones that will really bring this together. There’s a real buzz about the place at the moment – the regeneration taking place through the Mayoral Development Corporation is transforming the town centre, and now this recognition and the funding that comes with it will help Stockport capitalise on all of that.”


Cllr Mark Hunter, Leader of Stockport Council, said: “Stockport has a rich cultural history and I’m delighted that we have been recognised in this way. This is the result of much hard work and dedication by many of our cultural organisations getting together under the banner of Culture Stockport to support us with this bid.

“We want our Town of Culture programme to give everyone the opportunity to be active and creative in our town and to ensure we use it to celebrate the people, places and stories of Stockport. It was great to see so many people who are integral to our plans at the launch event, which got us off to a great start. This accolade tops off a busy six months for Stockport, with many of our key projects such as the transport interchange, Weir Mill and the next phase of Stockport Exchange all now well underway.”


Cllr Neil Emmott, Greater Manchester’s Lead for Culture, said: “The Town of Culture title is all about celebrating the unique heritage and exciting potential of places across Greater Manchester. It’s about supporting them to deliver events and activities that showcase all the creativity and talent in our communities, but that also help people to engage with culture in new and innovative ways.

“Bury and Stalybridge put their own unmistakeable stamp on Town of Culture, and now it’s Stockport’s turn. I know that everyone connected to the town’s thriving cultural scene will want to make this a success, and we’re looking forward to what they’ve got in store for the rest of the year.”

The borough boasts a rich cultural history. It’s home to Strawberry Studios, which was co-founded in 1968 by Eric Stewart – later of 10cc – and saw artists including Joy Division, The Smiths, The Stone Roses, and Paul McCartney record there. It’s also the birthplace of leading lights including broadcaster Dame Joan Bakewell, a host of film and TV actors such as Claire Foy, Sally Lindsay and Sacha Dhawan, and Wayne McGregor CBE, currently Resident Choreographer at The Royal Ballet.

Stockport is also home to several historically important public buildings such as the Edwardian Central Library, built with the assistance of philanthropist Andrew Carnegie, and the impressive Town Hall, which has become a popular filming location for a number of primetime TV shows.

The town follows in the footsteps of Stalybridge, which held the title in 2022, and Bury, which was announced as Greater Manchester’s inaugural Town of Culture for 2020 and held the title through 2021 after the coronavirus pandemic put a number of events and activities on hold.

As part of Stalybridge’s spell as Town of Culture, Tameside Council supported local groups and organisations to run activities including theatre and dance performances, writing, arts and animation workshops, immersive wildlife walks, community events for older residents, and food and drink events.

Bury, meanwhile, curated and delivered a hybrid programme of live and virtual events during its spell as Town of Culture, working with the support of Arts Council England and the Victoria Wood Foundation to host a wide variety of activities in the town.

Stockport’s Town of Culture Programme will be announced throughout the year as the programme is developed with residents, local artists, creative businesses and partners.

Greater Manchester to host its first DevCon bringing together the international tech community


 Greater Manchester will host its first-ever ‘DevCon’, on Tuesday 11 and Wednesday 12 July bringing together the international tech community and confirming the city’s status as a tech hub.

The two-day event will take place at the Royal Northern College of Music in Manchester city centre. Around 500 delegates, including tech founders and senior tech professionals, will attend to hear prolific tech speakers.

MCR DevCon is Manchester’s first conference tailored especially for founders and people in senior positions in tech as well as those looking to move into C-suite leadership. 

This conference is designed to help individuals and businesses progress to the next level with talks from some of the industry’s top leaders

The lineup of speakers at the ‘DevCon’ event will include Kubernetes expert Kelsey Hightower, Moneysupermarket Group Engineering Manager Claire Reckless, technologist and author Anjuan Simmons, along with other notable figures from the tech world. In addition, there will be a variety of panel discussions taking place throughout the event.

Founding partners of the event include leading global professional services company Accenture and award-winning IT global recruitment consultancy Oscar, which is renowned for tackling social issues and striving to make a difference in the local community. 

Matthew Southworth, MD at Oscar, commented:We’re delighted to be a founding partner for the very first DevCon that will showcase Manchester as the innovative tech hub it has become.”

Claire Reckless, Engineering Manager at Moneysupermarket Group adds:

“I’m thrilled to be part of the speaker lineup for Dev Con in Manchester in July. Thanks to the founding partners, sponsors and organisers this event will provide an inclusive platform for us to share our stories and knowledge with the fantastic and diverse community we have in this city. I’m also excited for our people to be able to see a number of big-name speakers from a wide range of technical backgrounds on stage at an event which will be accessible to so many in the North West, learn from their experiences, and use these to drive forward the innovative solutions we work on day to day as well as their own careers. “

Manchester’s tech industry continues to see rapid growth, establishing itself as the UK’s primary technology hub outside London and boasting a thriving ecosystem worth over £5 billion.

In 2022, tech companies in Manchester secured a record-breaking £532 million in funding – a remarkable 50% increase from the previous year, outstripping many European cities. 

The city’s dynamic and innovative tech landscape is a testament to its potential, and we look forward to inspiring its current and future leaders.

DevCon will see eight world-class speakers take to the stage as well as panel discussions, with talks dedicated to leadership, excellence and innovation in tech.

To learn more and buy tickets, visit the Manchester DevCon website.

Digital Transformation EXPO Manchester: Largest gathering of tech professionals in the North will drive innovation

The North’s biggest enterprise IT and technology event Digital Transformation EXPO (DTX) is coming to Manchester on Wednesday 17 and Thursday 18 May.

DTX Manchester will bring tech leaders from every sector to establish how companies can thrive in an era of continual disruption and how they can find and maximise opportunities to strengthen the shape of the tech sector across the North.

As the anchor event of Manchester Tech Week (15-19 May 2023), DTX Manchester will be the largest gathering of enterprise IT and digital professionals that the North has ever seen. Taking place at Manchester Central, the exhibition, alongside fringe events and socials will showcase the tools and strategies needed to drive digital innovation forward.

Partners of DTX Manchester include Greater Manchester Combined Authority MIDAS, pro-manchester, reframe Women in Tech, AWS, Code First Girls, Cyber Security Unity, DWP Digital, Manchester Digital, Northcoders, In 4.0 Group and Kelloggs. 

As the UKs leading tech city outside of London and home to over 1,600 tech startups and scaleups, Manchester is the natural choice to host a transformative and innovative tech conference.

Keynote speakers at the event include Andy Burnham Mayor of Greater Manchester, John Hobson VP & CIO of Kelloggs, Leanne Fitzpatrick, Director of Data Science at Financial Times, Risk Alkunshaile, Head of Technology at Manchester Airports Group and Dorian Skeete, Head of IT Security at Boohoo.

Industry tech leaders from Groupon, AJ Bell, BNY Mellon, Linklaters, Beauty Bay and Bae Systems will also take to the DTX stage to showcase the tools and strategies needed to drive digital innovation forward.

The theme of the 2023 conference is “Together We Transform”. No organisation can build a world-class strategy solo, and DTX aims to take that one step further, bringing together tech professionals and decision-makers from a range of different specialisms to establish a stronger, more innovative tech sector across the North.

Throughout the conference panels, workshops and roundtables will discuss how to:

  • Consolidate and optimise the tech tool stack to accelerate time-to-value
  • Unravel legacy data systems to enable real-time intelligence for all employees
  • Architect your way to future state-of-the-art infrastructure and next-gen engineering strategy
  • Ensure your modern workplace toolset is intuitive, connected and utilized to full advantage
  • Build a secure ecosystem that is responsive to the real threats against your operations

Leaders, influences, makers, business leaders and more from the world’s biggest brands will be in attendance.

To learn more visit

Our mission to make Greater Manchester the easiest place to become a net zero business

Greater Manchester has set an ambitious, science-based target to be net zero by 2038. With business activity accounting for roughly a third of our carbon emissions, we will only get there by bringing businesses along with us.

If you find the prospect of starting the journey to net zero daunting, know that you’re not alone. When surveyed, business leaders say they sometimes find the terminology confusing and the landscape difficult to navigate, while many are simply too focused on the day-to-day running of their company to explore how they could cut emissions.

That’s why we launched Bee Net Zero at the Greater Manchester Green Summit in 2021. Our mission is clear – we want to make Greater Manchester the easiest place in the UK to become a net zero business.

To get there we need to work together. The Bee Net Zero partnership unites a range of organisations and support programmes from across Greater Manchester who are committed to making the transition as straightforward and cost-efficient as possible for businesses.

It includes business organisations like the Greater Manchester Business Board (LEP), the Chamber of Commerce, Business in the Community and pro-manchester, as well as the Business Growth Hub, Transport for Greater Manchester, Electricity North West and the Manchester Climate Change Agency. Companies including Siemens and Mott MacDonald are also involved.

Through the partnership we have a network that stretches across Greater Manchester, covering all business sizes and sectors. We want businesses to start thinking about their net zero journey, but we’re also attuned to the challenges. More than three quarters of business leaders nationwide say rising energy costs are the biggest threat they face.

For SMEs in Greater Manchester, the Business Growth Hub’s resource efficiency programme is there to offer you specialist advice. But there are also a range of simple no-cost and low-cost things you can do immediately – like using heating, lighting and machinery more efficiently, or insulating your premises – that could help you cut bills and your carbon emissions.

Green Economy’s online Marketplace enables businesses to find local, trusted partners for their transition to net zero. In its first year, it has built a network of over 500 local green technologies and services suppliers, providing introductions to Greater Manchester-based businesses on their journey to net zero. With many firms looking to invest in green technology but not knowing where to start, Green Economy’s Marketplace helps to simplify the process and ensure that the investment can be made locally.

TfGM has launched a designated business portal which aims to help both employers and employees to rethink the commute. With easy-to-use journey planners, toolkits, guidance around active travel and explaining flexible ticket and fare options the business portal aims to encourage sustainable methods of transport. By simplifying the use of public transport and active travel across the region, TfGM hopes to see less personal cars used for the commute.

Getting to net zero is undoubtedly the biggest challenge we face – as individuals, as a city-region, and as a planet. But it also represents an enormous opportunity. The transition will leverage an unprecedented £100 billion of private investment, and support 480,000 UK jobs by 2030.

Companies with strong green credentials are in a much better position to win the war on talent. Four out of five students consider a company’s social and environmental commitment to be a key factor in deciding where to apply. A commitment to sustainability can also help businesses demonstrate a commitment to social value – a key part of winning contracts in the public sector.

It was an industrious and enterprising Greater Manchester that kick-started the Industrial Revolution which in large part led us into the climate emergency we face today. Now businesses across our city region can again have a truly global impact, by helping us become a leading net zero city, where every business is a green business and every job, is a green job.


Steve Connor

Green Lead, Greater Manchester Business Board (LEP)

Founder and CEO, Creative Concern


Visit the Bee Net Zero website to learn more.