Amongst the debris of the battle against COVID-19, the Life Sciences sector in the UK continues to thrive.
A report entitled Knowledge Networks: London and the Ox-Cam arc by New London Architecture (NLA) published this week highlights the £74bn annual contribution from UK Life Sciences to the UK economy. In the "Golden Triangle" of London, Oxford and Cambridge, 50% more additional commercial floor space is needed to support 950,000 new jobs by 2050. Commercial developers, with an eye to their tenant market, will be watching these statistics with interest.
For some time, significant numbers of previously office-led commercial developers have been looking to the opportunities in the Life Sciences sector and considering their next move. Unlike much of the professional services sector, the vast majority of Life Sciences employees need to be physically present in lab space, rather than working from home, in order to make the advances that civilisation increasingly depends on. That trend can only continue, as will the move to a more flexible model for professional services, whose vast numbers of UK employees have discovered the benefits of home-working.
The global reach of the Golden Triangle will endure long after Brexit, with the Government vocally committed to the sector. A PHD in a STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) subject means an extra 20 points in the UK Government's new immigration policy. Along with a continued focus in schools on encouraging pupils into STEM subjects, the tenant population in Life Sciences seems to be guaranteed for years to come.
As the economy adjusts to the "new normal" it seems clear that the only way is up for Life Sciences.
The life sciences sector, leading the response to COVID-19, is seen as one of the most resilient, and growth of demand for space continues.