Unilever invests £6.9m into new R&D centre

Global consumer products manufacturer Unilever is to open an innovation space at Liverpool Science Park as part of a £6.9m project to facilitate cutting edge research into home and personal care products like Dove hair shampoo and Persil laundry liquid.

The Integrated High Throughput Formulation Centre is the first of its kind in the UK and will be based in high specification laboratory space at the park’s new £8m wing on Mount Pleasant. It will use robotic automation and data management to allow Unilever, academia and other UK companies to radically alter the speed and quality of how products are developed and designed.

The benefits will span Unilever’s interests in sectors such as homecare and personal care products and other UK companies in the agriculture and paints sectors. This is big business as the UK market is worth around £180 billion a year.

The project is boosted by £1.7m from the Regional Growth Fund which will allow the facility to be established as a shared research and development innovation space for use by the University of Liverpool and other UK industry companies.

The 4,000 sq ft centre will open in September – the same time as construction starts on the £65m Materials Innovation Factory on Grove Street which is being developed in partnership with Unilever, the University of Liverpool and the Higher Education Funding Council for England (HEFCE). The Integrated High Throughput Formulation Centre will house state of the art equipment that will make and measure products better and faster than ever before.

Cameron Jones, site leader at Unilever’s Research and Development centre in Port Sunlight, said: “Liverpool Science Park was the natural choice for our base because it is at the hub of the Liverpool City Region’s knowledge quarter. This is one of a number of initiatives we have running across the North West and it will work hand in hand with our University of Liverpool connections.

“These are exciting times as we create a vibrant environment for our scientists to develop novel products using automated formulation robots and to innovate better and faster in highly competitive global markets. This new centre means we can build on the UK’s strength in formulation and allow us to continue to produce high quality products for consumers to use every day.”

Chris Musson, chief executive of Liverpool Science Park said: “It is a great pleasure to welcome Unilever to Liverpool Science Park and we’re glad they chose us as their base for world-leading open innovation. Having a first class blue chip company adds tremendously to the diverse mix of bright, innovative companies we have here which in turn will promote and inspire collaboration and enterprise in the region.”

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Notes to editors

About Liverpool Science Park

Liverpool Science Park is owned by Liverpool City Council, Liverpool John Moores University and Liverpool University.

Located in Liverpool city centre, in the heart of the Knowledge Quarter and adjacent to the Metropolitan Cathedral, Liverpool Science Park currently comprises two buildings, Innovation Centre 1 (ic1) and Innovation Centre 2 (ic2) offering 120,000 sq ft of high-specification grade A accommodation and laboratory space. The new wing of Innovation Centre 1 opened in early March 2014 and comprises an additional 40,000 sq ft of commercial laboratory and office space.

Liverpool Science Park is home to more than 75 businesses from a variety of knowledge intensive sectors including biotechnology, biomedical and healthcare, research & development, information computer technology, life sciences, professional services and creative and digital. Over 500 people are employed on site.

The Knowledge Quarter is the focus of investment programmes worth £1 billion and combines cutting edge technology firms with globally renowned research institutions. It is home to Liverpool’s three universities, the Royal Liverpool University Hospital, Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine, Liverpool Science Park, Merseybio and the National Oceanography Centre - amongst others.

For more information about the park and its facilities visit www.liverpoolsciencepark.co.uk or call 0151 705 3400.

North West European Regional Development Fund

The building project is part financed by the North West European Regional Development Fund Programme 2007 to 2013. The Department for Communities and Local Government is the managing authority for the European Regional Development Fund Programme, which is one of the funds established by the European Commission to help local areas stimulate their economic development by investing in projects which will support local businesses and create jobs. For more information visit https://www.gov.uk/erdf-programmes-and-resources

About Unilever:

Unilever is one of the world’s leading suppliers of Food, Home and Personal Care products with sales in over 190 countries. We work with 174,000 colleagues around the world and generated annual sales of €49.8 billion in 2013. Over half of our company’s footprint is in the faster growing developing and emerging markets (57% in 2013). 

Working to create a better future every day, we help people feel good, look good and get more out of life. Our portfolio includes some of the world’s best known brands, 14 of which - Knorr, Persil / Omo, Dove, Sunsilk, Hellmann’s, Surf, Lipton, Rexona / Sure, Wall’s ice cream, Lux, Flora / Becel, Rama / Blue Band, Magnum and Axe / Lynx - now generate a turnover of €1 billion or more.

Our ambition is to double the size of our business, whilst reducing our overall environmental footprint (including sourcing, consumer use and disposal) and increasing our positive social impact. We are committed to helping more than a billion people take action to improve their health and well-being, sourcing all our agricultural raw materials sustainably by 2020, and decoupling our growth from our environmental impact. Supporting our three big goals, we have defined nine commitments, underpinned by targets encompassing social, environmental and economic areas. See more on the Unilever Sustainable Living Plan at www.unilever.com/sustainable-living.

Unilever has been recognised in the Dow Jones Sustainability World Indexes for 14 consecutive years. We are included in the FTSE4Good Index Series and attained a top environmental score of 5, leading to inclusion in the FTSE4Good Environmental Leaders Europe 40 Index. Unilever has been named sector leader of the CDP’s Forests programme for three consecutive years, and in 2014 led the list of Global Corporate Sustainability Leaders in the GlobeScan/SustainAbility annual survey - for the fourth year running. Unilever was named LinkedIn’s third most sought-after employer worldwide in 2013.

For more information about Unilever and its brands, please visit www.unilever.co.uk. drink-ban

Katya Bridges - UK and Ireland Media Relations Manager

T: 01372 945925
M: 07785 450287

katya.bridges@unilever.com

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