Competition launched for design team for £1bn Oxford Innovation District


Oxford University Development, a £4bn joint venture between the University of Oxford and Legal & General Capital, today announces the launch of an international design competition to find a creative, forward-thinking masterplan team for its world-leading £1billion, 190-hectare mixed-use Innovation District at Begbroke Science Park.

The winning design team will set the bold ambition and design intent for a project that will transform the area around the University’s Begbroke Science Park, to the north of Oxford.  The project will also create a community of up to 2,000 quality homes, with new schools, public park and nature reserve.

OUD’s aspiration is to create a boundary-pushing scheme that demonstrably achieves a step-change in sustainable design, delivery, and operation. The new district will seek to attract the very best minds, while driving economic growth, improving transport connections, delivering benefits for local people, as well as enhancing the surrounding natural landscape. The site will provide an exemplary new setting for the University’s world-leading science and innovation, which will help address key global challenges facing humanity – from food security and biodiversity to climate change and the urgent need to move to a zero-carbon economy.

The competition invites interest from international, UK-based and local teams, encouraging large, established practices to join forces with individuals or emerging practices – to provide new perspectives on how to develop the area to its full potential. The competition is being managed by Colander Associates, who have created a hashtag, #OUDcompetition, for firms to find each other online. The winning team will be expected to offer both gravitas and experience alongside fresh thinking and radical ideas.

The regeneration programme will be multi-phased. The first phase of the scheme will bring forward new facilities for the University’s research and development, as well as providing space to incubate spin-out companies.

Anna Strongman, CEO, Oxford University Development, said:

“We’re looking for a stellar team to design a masterplan that both responds to Oxford’s housing needs and propels the economic attraction of the new centre as a place to live, work, and foster innovation and enterprise. We want to bring together the best minds in the industry, to work with us, Cherwell District Council, and our local communities to create a masterplan of global significance.”

Dr David Prout, Pro-Vice-Chancellor (Planning and Resources) at the University of Oxford, added:

“For nearly two decades, the University’s Science Park at Begbroke has been home to a wide range of research and development activities across our Mathematical, Physical and Life Sciences departments, playing a vital role in contributing to the wider local, regional, and national economy. Oxford University is and will remain the freeholder of the majority of the land, and its strategic goal is to create an exemplary new community that the University and local residents can be proud of – a world-leading Innovation District with sustainability at its heart.”

Laura Mason, CEO of Legal & General Capital:

“Science, engineering and innovation have never been more important, and new schemes like Begbroke will help ensure UK universities continue to be world-leading. We are helping realise their potential by investing in much needed science infrastructure, which can incubate the great talent and innovative spin-outs which come from these first class institutions. In addition to Begbroke, Legal & General has brought forward projects, in partnership with world-leading universities, worth £2bn this year alone.

The ambition is anchored by Cherwell District Council’s Local Plan Partial Review, which has identified the site for a high-quality mixed-use development, comprising a range of research & development, residential, and associated social and physical infrastructure uses, such as schools, local centres, amenity space and recreation/leisure uses, as well as excellent connectivity to the City of Oxford by sustainable means.

Aspiring entrants should visit for more information on the criteria, and are asked to submit Stage 1 submissions by Friday 3 December 2021.


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