14,200 jobs created in Hull as city becomes UK hotspot for research
How RB's new £105m Scientific Centre of Excellence will look when it open next year.
By Hull Daily Mail | Posted: 23 Oct 2017
Hull has become a UK hotspot for industrial research and development thanks to an unprecedented £578m wave of investment.
The growth in new facilities is being hailed as one of the reasons behind the turnaround in the city's econcomy.
Recent figures show Hull's employment rate is now 68 per cent - the highest ever recorded.
Compared to five years ago, there are an extra 14,200 people employed in the city.
City council regeneration director Mark Jones said the surge in major research and development activity was a key factor in Hull's revival as it meant high-quality jobs were being created.
"Unlike the rest of the country, Hull is not in negative figures in terms of capital investment," he said.
"I think there's a very good story coming together about what I call the producer economy in Hull.
"We are seeing a lot of capital investment by the big corporate names at the same time as the City of Culture. It's a real convergence of opportunity."
Mr Jones said the development of new research and development facilities at existing manufacturing plants by the likes of Smith & Nephew, RB and Croda were all significant investments.
"What we are seeing is the ability of producer companies to control their own destiny because r&d is all about innovation and looking ahead to the next product.
"Having them based at existing plants also strengthens their presence here. It means they are much less likely to be closed at the whim of an accountant.
"What we have got in Hull is a coming together. That doesn't happen in the UK car industry. Take Nissan, it has its manufacturing plant in the North-East and its R&D facility in the Home Counties."
Mr Jones said the challenge now was to persuade Hull's big corporate names to open their supply chains to local businesses.
"Hull is unique in the way it has brought capital into play and the city council has played a big part in that by investing in the city centre and its facilities.
"That sends a signal to investors that Hull is open for business. It's a cliche but we have walked the walk and I believe Hull is now one of the most successful areas in ther UK in terms of bringing capital and human resources together."
Hull's huge developments
A new £105m complex of science laboratories and testing facilities at healthcare firm RB which is due to open next April. Over 500 people will be employed there.
Smith & Nephew opened its new £9m medical device R&D centre in May this year and has also recently formed a research partnership with the University of Hull.
Croda is currently investing £27m on a new polymer manufacturing process at its factory in Hull alongside improved R&D facilities.
International pharmaceutical firm Indivior opened its new £23m research complex in Priory Park in August.
Groupe Atlantic is spending £8m to expand research, development and testing facilities at the Ideal Boilers site which currently employs 750 staff.
RE:Group recently invested £2m in a new treatment process to turn waste oil into fuel alongside upgraded research laboratories in Bankside
Tricoya is building a new £50m wood chip manufacturing plant at Saltend Chemicals Park with linked r&d facilities, creating 30 new full-time jobs when operational.
Virvergo's £350m bio-ethanol plant features a research department to complement its manufacture of sustainable fuel for cars and protein-rich animal feed.
The University of Hull and ORE Catapult recently announced plans for a new £2m centre for excellence for offshore wind innovation at the campus.