Published: 15 Dec 2020 | Last Updated: 17 Dec 2020 11:58:21

The Royal Veterinary College (RVC) has been awarded a £2.13 million Getting Building Fund grant from Hertfordshire Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) to create a Cardiovascular Imaging Centre of Excellence (C-ICE) in the county. 

The centre will encompass state-of-the-art R&D facilities to bring forth the next generation of treatments for animals and humans, as well as advanced skills training provision for academics, students and veterinary sector SMEs, helping strengthen the local skills pipeline.

Architect's impression of the new building at the RVC Hawkshead campus

Life sciences presents a major opportunity for growth across the East of England and London, with Hertfordshire’s biopharma sector already employing over 120,000 people and contributing revenues of more than £55 billion to the UK economy. Strengthening the county’s world-class science clusters is one of the priorities identified in Hertfordshire LEP’s Economic Recovery Plan 2020, and is key to attracting inward investment and accelerating recovery, business growth and local job creation. 

In support of cluster development, the RVC is investing heavily in its Potters Bar campus. A £45 million redevelopment of this site by the college will provide greatly enhanced teaching facilities and a Veterinary Vaccinology and Cell Therapy Hub, the latter co-funded by a £7 million Local Growth Fund grant from Hertfordshire LEP. 

At the heart of C-ICE will be a state-of-the-art 3 Tesla MRI scanner capable of producing high-resolution images of pathological conditions for diagnostic and treatment evaluation. It will also be used to investigate novel treatments initially in experimental animal models of human disease and then in veterinary patients – in particular, neurological and cardiac conditions. 

The scanner will be fully integrated with the RVC’s Queen Mother Hospital for Animals, home to the largest group of veterinary clinical specialists in Europe. This ‘One Health’ approach, which recognises the interconnectedness of humans, animals and ecosystems in healthcare, will enable C-ICE to support the development of precision medicine.

C-ICE will also complement recent investments in the cell and gene therapy cluster in Stevenage through its cardiac catheterisation lab, created as part of the Veterinary Vaccinology and Cell Therapy Hub. The lab will enable the delivery of cell and gene therapies, or ‘living medicines’, into the cardiac circulation via coronary artery catheterisation.

This combination of advanced imaging equipment and expert veterinary clinicians will be unique within Hertfordshire and the wider Oxford-Cambridge-London triangle. As a result, the RVC will be able to facilitate world-class translational research, clinical work and advanced skills training, while also creating highly skilled jobs in Hertfordshire.

Jonathan Elliott, Vice-Principal for Research and Innovation at the RVC, said:

“I am delighted that the RVC has been awarded this grant. The establishment of this centre will not only pave the way for innovation in the field of regenerative medicine, precisely tailored to the individual patient, it will also contribute to the growth of our local economy. 

“At the RVC we recognise the importance of a collaborative ‘One Health’ approach to cutting edge science which benefits both veterinary and human medicine. This centre will facilitate research which could transform the treatment of some of the most important debilitating chronic diseases affecting today’s ageing society.”

Mark Bretton, Chair, Hertfordshire LEP and the LEP Network, said:

“Our £16.8m Getting Building Fund allocation will back five major projects to boost Hertfordshire’s high value sector clusters including life sciences, film and TV, and smart construction; and give residents greater opportunities for high quality employment locally.

“Hertfordshire’s thriving life sciences sector already adds significant value to UK plc. This new advanced medical imaging centre at the Royal Veterinary College will work in symbiosis with the existing cell and gene therapy ecosystem to strengthen the county’s and the UK’s unique advantage. The innovative ‘One Health’-led research that will be made possible by the centre, supported by LEP funding, is ever more critical against the backdrop of a global health pandemic.”

Minister for Regional Growth and Local Government, Luke Hall MP said: 

“I'm delighted that we’re backing the Centre of Excellence with a £2.13 million Getting Building Fund grant.  

“The world-class research, clinical work and advanced skills training at the centre will put Hertfordshire on the map as a national leader in this sector. The creation of highly skilled jobs will allow the benefits of the project to ripple across the community and level-up the local economy.”


Notes to Editors

 The RVC Cardiovascular Imaging Centre for Excellence will bring together advanced medical imaging, cardiac catheterisation, surgical expertise and facilities for translational cardiovascular research, and an advanced referral clinical service for veterinary patients.

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About the RVC

  • The Royal Veterinary College (RVC) is the UK's largest and longest established independent veterinary school and is a Member Institution of the University of London. It was the first in the world to hold full accreditation from AVMA, EAEVE, RCVS and AVBC.
  • The RVC is the top veterinary school in the UK and Europe, and ranked as the world’s second highest veterinary school in the QS World University Rankings by subject, 2020.
  • The RVC offers undergraduate and postgraduate programmes in veterinary medicine, veterinary nursing and biological sciences.
  • In 2017, the RVC received a Gold award from the Teaching Excellence Framework (TEF) – the highest rating a university can receive.
  • A research led institution with 79% of its research rated as internationally excellent or world class in the Research Excellence Framework 2014.
  • The RVC provides animal owners and the veterinary profession with access to expert veterinary care and advice through its teaching hospitals and first opinion practices in London and Hertfordshire.

About Hertfordshire Local Enterprise Partnership

Hertfordshire LEP is one of 38 Local Enterprise Partnerships tasked by the Government to drive forward economic growth. We work with private and public sector partners to tackle barriers to growth and to ensure that our people, places, and businesses thrive.

With our Strategic Economic Plan, we have successfully secured over £300m Government and EU funding to date to support our three key priorities which include Strategic Infrastructure, Skills & Employment, and Enterprise & Innovation.

Find out more about our investments to date at www.hertfordshirelep.com.

About the Getting Building Fund

On 4 August 2020, the government confirmed the list of over 300 successful projects which will receive a share of £900 million from the Getting Building Fund.

The full list of projects is available on GOV.UK.

The Getting Building Fund is investing in shovel-ready infrastructure projects to create jobs and support economic recovery across the country. Projects funded include:

  • regeneration of town and city centres
  • green infrastructure and clean energy
  • transport and digital connectivity improvements
  • unlocking of housing and business sites
  • support for SMEs and learners

The successful projects (over 300) are expected to deliver up to 85,000 jobs, over 1,500,000 sq. m. of commercial floor space, unlocking 45,000 homes, almost 1,000,000 sq. m. of public realm or green space improved or created, over 50,000 new learners assisted, and 65 million kgs of CO2 emissions saved.

All projects have been selected by Local Enterprise Partnerships and Mayoral Combined Authorities in each area and endorsed by the Housing Secretary.

 

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