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RB confirms £200m UK investment commitment
RB – formally known as Reckitt Benckiser – has opened its new £105m state-of-the-art Science and Innovation (S&I) Centre in Hull.
The S&I Centre, with brand new consumer health laboratory facilities, is the first milestone of RB’s ongoing £200m investment programme in the city. Alongside the new centre, the global consumer health and hygiene company is committing a further spend of £95m to significantly upgrade its manufacturing facilities on the Hull site, which currently employs around 1,400.
This investment marks the latest chapter in RB’s 179-year history in Hull and puts RB at the forefront of consumer health innovation. The S&I Centre acts as a magnet for the best scientific talent globally and locally with 200 new jobs created.
The new UK S&I Centre, which is one of six major RB R&D facilities worldwide, will be the global technical innovation hub for household name consumer health products such as Nurofen and Strepsils.
The decision to locate the new centre at its Hull site, followed a comprehensive review which considered other centres across the globe. The decision reflects both the existing consumer health expertise in the UK and the UK government’s positive attitude towards encouraging innovation, science and technology, especially in the north.
Laxman Narasimhan, chief executive of RB, said: “Despite the current macro-economic uncertainty in the UK, it is our firm belief that our new centre will help the country further develop its scientific talent and R&D credentials. It underlines our view that the UK is the best place to invest in consumer health R&D.”
Launching its new report on innovation at the opening of RB’s S&I Centre in Hull, Carolyn Fairbairn, director-general of the CBI, added: “RB’s decision to build this centre in the Humber region is testament to how innovative R&D can thrive in the regions. However, despite numerous success stories such as RB, there remains a clear innovation investment imbalance between London and the South East and the rest of the UK. As we look beyond Brexit, the challenge for government and business is to create the best conditions for innovation to prosper in every region of the UK.”
As well as this significant site investment, RB is partnering with Hull York Medical School and the University of Hull to offer a brand-new MSc in Pharmacology and Drug Development. The innovative MSc programme will provide students with critical insights into the entire development journey of a clinical drug from laboratory to consumers’ homes. Students will have unique access to RB’s S&I Centre, and RB employees will deliver lectures and provide mentoring.