First Minister opens ILS2

First Minister opens ILS2

A state-of-the-art Swansea centre doing pioneering medical research took a major step-forward with the official opening of new facilities by the First Minister Carwyn Jones In December 2011.

The Institute of Life Science (ILS) is the research arm of Swansea University's College of Medicine and carries out work on areas such as cancer, obesity and diabetes.

The first phase cost £52 million and today the £28.8 million second phase was officially unveiled by the First Minister and is expected to create 650 jobs. The building also houses the Centre for NanoHealth (CNH), a £21.6m joint initiative between the College of Engineering and the College of Medicine.

The first phase of the ILS opened in March 2007 and was the biggest research investment ever in Swansea. It houses specialists in medical research and business incubation. The project is a unique collaboration between the Welsh Government, Swansea University and IBM. The ILS is dedicated to finding new solutions to old problems in medicine.

The new seven-storey, 6,000 square metre building includes clinical research and will play a major role in developing new products and services for the healthcare industry. It will also provide an economic boost by tripling the space available to grow related businesses.

The Welsh Government is providing £10million to phase two of the project, with £12.8 million coming from the EU's Regional Development fund.

Nanotechnology has an increasingly important role to play in the early detection and treatment of disease via the detection and measurement of biomarkers present in fluid or tissue samples at a level of sensitivity far beyond current methods. CNH gives access to patients and creates a pioneering, integrated facility in which novel devices and sensors can be designed, manufactured, functionalised, tested and evaluated.

The First Minister said, "The Institute of Life Sciences and Centre for NanoHealth is a world-class facility based here in Swansea. It is leading the way in vital research into areas such as cancer and obesity that blight our society and it is providing a crucial role in finding new answers to these problems.

"It is a unique collaboration between government, academia and the private sector that not only provides medical expertise and research, but also economic development by nurturing new companies and creating jobs. The ILS and CNH are already internationally renowned for the high quality of its research projects. This facility will boost the economy by providing businesses with both skilled graduates and leading-edge research. The Welsh Government is proud to support the the University and invest in research and development and the growth of the knowledge economy. I wish it all the best."

Professor Richard B Davies, Vice-Chancellor of Swansea University, said: "At a time of economic gloom, this is a remarkable good news story:  medical research creating jobs and leading to improved medical care.  Funding from the Welsh Government and the Welsh European Funding office has enabled Swansea to build upon the success of the Institute of Life Science at the University.  The new development more than doubles the space available including enhanced facilities for companies working with the University.  It also provides a home for the world-class research of the Swansea University Centre for NanoHealth."