Harnessing technology

6 cities at the heart of innovation

Bruntwood SciTech, a partnership between Legal & General, property developer Bruntwood, and the Greater Manchester Pension Fund, develops innovation districts all over the UK. We look at the six cities that make up a network of UK innovation

15 Apr 2024

To drive the economy forward, we need to create places that nurture innovation-based businesses.

In the words of Laura Mason, CEO of our alternative assets arm “Legal & General Capital has long been committed to investing in an innovation backbone for the UK, providing the infrastructure that businesses, universities, and the public sector need to thrive.”

It’s for this reason that, in 2018, in a joint venture with Bruntwood, Legal & General Capital created Bruntwood SciTech, which has become the UK’s leading property provider dedicated to growing the science and technology sector. That partnership expanded in 2023 to include the Greater Manchester Pension Fund.

Bruntwood SciTech now has nine campus locations and 31 city centre innovation hubs across the UK.

Its innovation districts support future growth in regional cities by connecting world-leading research universities, large hospital NHS Trusts, strong civic regional leadership and high-growth enterprise. The network of innovation districts comprises 4.8m sq ft of world-class specialist workspace, where 1,100 high-growth start-ups, scale ups, and global businesses form like-minded communities.

By 2032, it aims to have a £5 billion UK-wide portfolio that can support 2,600 high-growth businesses.

Here is a snapshot of the cities and regions at the heart of Bruntwood SciTech’s efforts.

Bruntwood SciTech’s Alderley Park campus


To be successful, investment in innovation should build on the knowledge bases and infrastructure of cities all over the UK. Bruntwood SciTech’s Alderley Park is a perfect example. The Park used to be the global headquarters for AstraZeneca. Before it was redeveloped it already had a lot of specialist equipment, but smaller biotech start-ups either couldn’t afford or didn’t need to use that equipment every day. The aim of Alderley Park was to create an ecosystem that supported those smaller life science organisations.

Today, the site is the UK’s largest single-site life-science campus. It is home to more than 250 sector-leading science and technology businesses, including Cancer Research UK MI, SAP and Airship Interactive. The ecosystem of companies that inhabit Alderley Park works together, leveraging the heritage of the Park and its infrastructure.

Recent redevelopments include the 150,000 sq ft tech hub Glasshouse, £20m of investment into 86,000 sq ft of new labs, and No. 11 Mereside - 35,000 sq ft of workspace.

Plans for the next phase of the Alderly Park masterplan were approved in early 2023 and will facilitate up to 1,600 new life science and tech jobs in the region through new lab and office spaces across two new buildings. The new facilities will be suitable for life sciences, technology and healthcare companies, particularly those working in drug discovery and development, medtech, diagnostics, digital health and AI.

We’re excited to embark on the next chapter at Alderley Park and support the continued growth of the life sciences sector in the UK.

Dr Kath Mackay

Chief Scientific Officer

Bruntwood SciTech

ID Manchester


In Manchester, a £1.7bn joint venture development between Bruntwood SciTech and the University of Manchester will put the city at the forefront of global innovation. The long-term project, called ID (Innovation District) Manchester, will create a science and technology hub that covers four million square feet. It will include the city’s largest public space, 1,350 homes and the potential for 10,000 new full-time jobs.

ID Manchester will be supported by a new Greater Manchester Investment Zone, which was announced by the Chancellor in the 2023 Autumn Statement.

Manchester is already home to three Bruntwood SciTech locations that together form the Oxford Road Corridor innovation district.



Citylabs 4.0

Its Citylabs campus focuses on medtech, health innovation and genomics, which complements the strengths of Manchester University NHS Foundation Trust, which is co-located on the campus.

Manchester Science Park

Shared space and cafe at The Bright Building, Manchester Science Park

Manchester Science Park, meanwhile, has a broader science and technology focus.

Circle Square

Circle Square

Circle Square, is home to a mixture of large, corporate digital and tech organisations, and an incubator which supports a number of artificial intelligence and fintech organisations.

The Oxford Road Corridor innovation district generates 20% of Manchester’s gross value added (GVA) and is home to 32,200 STEM students. The network connects businesses to influential people and organisations in science and technology.

Across the three campuses there is a mix of enterprises, from small start-ups to global corporates, focused in the technology and life sciences sectors. That sectoral focus attracts other companies in the same sector, creating the foundations for collaboration and an ecosystem, with talent moving between organisations.

We’re delighted that ID Manchester will be part of the Greater Manchester Investment Zone plans to put the region at the forefront of advanced materials and manufacturing innovation in the UK and globally. The ecosystem we’re building at ID Manchester will leverage The University of Manchester’s world-class R&D strengths to help scale and commercialise new ideas, driving new jobs across the city region in future-facing industries.

John Holden

Associate Vice-President

The University of Manchester

Enterprise Wharf


Birmingham is set to benefit from a new world-class innovation cluster that could supercharge its growth. The Birmingham Innovation Quarter (B-IQ) is a partnership between Bruntwood SciTech, Aston University and Birmingham City Council and will sit within the wider Birmingham Knowledge Quarter.

 B-IQ is part of an £800 million development programme for the Birmingham Knowledge Quarter, which could create up to 25,000 jobs, extensive supply chain opportunities and attract billions in investment.

 In the 2023 Autumn Statement, the Chancellor announced that the Birmingham Knowledge Quarter would form part of a new Investment Zone. The announcement brings benefits such as tax incentives, direct funding and business rate retention.

Bruntwood SciTech has already developed the Innovation Birmingham digital tech campus, which doubled in size in November 2023 with the completion of Birmingham’s first truly smart building, Enterprise Wharf.

Bruntwood SciTech is also the development partner for Birmingham Health Innovation Campus (formerly Birmingham Life Sciences Park), a world-class digital health and precision medicine hub. The 10-year, £210 million project will provide up to 700,000 sq ft of state-of-the-art lab, office and incubation space, and up to 10,000 new jobs. In the next decade, Birmingham Health Innovation campus is set to have contributed £400 million GVA to the regional economy.

The Birmingham Knowledge Quarter masterplan will create a leading innovation cluster centred on science, technology and enterprise.  We have committed £1bn to invest in the West Midlands over the next decade, and as part of that Birmingham Knowledge Quarter has the potential to be a world-class hub for R&D – a status that is ever more achievable as a government-recognised Investment Zone, backed by the West Midlands Combined Authority’s Trailblazer single settlement deal.

Chris Oglesby


Bruntwood SciTech

West Village


In Leeds, Platform is host to another digital cluster of over 80 of the region’s most innovative and disruptive tech start-ups and scale-ups. Crucially, the businesses have sectoral relevance, as Bruntwood SciTech vets and curates the community to ensure the right mix of companies to fuel collaboration and generate new opportunities.

West Village, currently known as West One and Castle House, is undergoing a £20m ambitious redevelopment. The site, in Leeds city centre, is being transformed into a 230,000 sq ft hub where innovation can thrive and start-ups and large, established businesses can come together.

As part of this redevelopment, Bruntwood SciTech announced a new partnership with premier training brand, FORM, and will be opening a luxurious new wellness facility in West Village.

Liverpool Science Park


In April 2020, Bruntwood SciTech secured a 25% stake in Sciontec Liverpool, which operates Liverpool Science Park, alongside the city council and the city’s two universities – the University of Liverpool and Liverpool John Moores University. The universities are some of the main customers taking space at Liverpool Science Park, operated by Sciontec Liverpool, to support their research expertise.

Met Tower, Glasgow


In spring 2023, Bruntwood SciTech announced plans for a £60m transformation of Glasgow’s iconic Met Tower. Under the scheme, the former City of Glasgow College building will be refurbished, and a new, adjoining tower will be built, creating a technology and digital hub in the city centre.

Met Tower

Combined, the two towers will offer more than 200,000 sq ft of serviced and leased office space to supercharge the growth of the city’s tech sector.

The structure, located in the heart of the Glasgow City Innovation District, will be transformed into a commercial hub where tech and digital university spinouts, start-ups, scaleups, and high-profile tech businesses can co-locate. The redeveloped site is due to open in 2025, with the new tower following in 2026.

Legal & General has invested £32bn to revive communities across the UK, including notable regeneration schemes in Cardiff, Salford and Newcastle.

Legal & General has invested £32bn to revive communities across the UK, including notable regeneration schemes in Cardiff, Salford and Newcastle.

Legal & General Capital’s specialist commercial real estate team invests and partners with experts in specialist commercial real estate, including data centres, urban regeneration, and science and technology real estate, to transform cities, drive innovation and grow knowledge economies in the UK and internationally.  To read more about our investments, click here.