The economy may be dreary, but there’s good weather ahead for Surrey’s science


For many people around the UK, Tuesday’s (November 29) autumn statement from Chancellor George Osborne was not a cheery affair. But it heralded good news for science in Surrey, with a number of organisations set to get a slice of the extra £200 million the government is putting towards research.

In Surrey (the area I cover as a reporter for the Surrey Advertiser), £80 million of that £200 million boost will go towards a new laboratory complex in Pirbright run by the Institute for Animal Health (IAH).

With additional support from the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council’s (BBSRC) own capital budget, the money will allow the construction of the £100 million second phase of the development of the IAH campus at Pirbright, which would be scheduled for completion in 2016.

The new facilities will join the world-leading £100 million high containment laboratory currently under construction at Pirbright, which will contain some of the most deadly viruses on the planet, and due to become operational in early 2014.

By providing a range of facilities for Institute scientists, IAH will be well placed to work on a range of important animal diseases that threaten global farming and food security.

The government has also allocated £21 million to kick-start an innovative project to fly radar satellites around the Earth, which has been developed by Guildford-based Surrey Satellite Technology Limited (SSTL).

The radar project is set to launch a series of satellites which will be able to image any place on Earth inside 24 hours.

All in all, especially given the current financial climate we’re in, it appears that science in Surrey has done pretty well indeed.

© Melanie Hall 2017