A SCIENCE park that emerged in the wake of a decision to switch a nuclear science facility from Daresbury in Cheshire has proved to be a staggering success.
The one-time nuclear accelerator research centre seemed doomed after a decision was taken to site a replacement in Oxford.
There were fears that it would fuel a brain drain and starve the north west of highly talented scientists.
However, Daresbury International Science and Technology Park, being built around the nuclear accelerator, was yesterday given a significant boost by the Northwest Regional Development Agency.
The NWDA is to almost double its investment in the park from £25.7m to £50.3m. The agency took the decision when it became apparent that the potential for the Daresbury site was much greater than originally envisaged.
A significant part of the new investment will part-fund the Cockcroft Institute, the UK's National Centre for Accelerator Science, which will be located at Daresbury.
The institute was won by the Universities of Liverpool, Lancaster and Manchester in collaboration with Accelerator Science and Technology Centre, a large team of scientists at the Council for the Central Laboratory of the Research Councils' Daresbury Laboratory, against strong competition.
The NWDA say the proposed expansion of the science park will reaffirm Daresbury's reputation as a centre of excellence for scientific research and development, and will attract significant investment to the region.
Last night Steve Broomhead, the NWDA's chief executive, said: "We are pleased to announce this substantial investment in Daresbury Science Park reaffirming our commitment to the future of this flagship project.
"This multi-use, multi-purpose science park of international standing will attract world-class research and commercial operations that will make a significant contribution to the regional economy."
Colin Whitehouse, director CCLRC Daresbury Laboratory and CCLRC's chief technologist, said: "The Cockcroft Institute will lead the way for the UK in designing and coordinating the UK contributions to the next generations of particle accelerators which are vitally important to internationally leading scientific and medical research programmes.
"This is yet another key example of a major new project that has been won for the North West, based on the very important new strategic partnership that has been established between the key Northwest Universities, CCLRC Daresbury Laboratory, NWDA and Halton Borough Council."