Yorkshire now plans to lead the way in analytical services

Once famed for cotton mills and coal mines, Yorkshire, UK, now plans to lead the way in analytical services. Knowledge Laboratory (KL), funded by the UK regional development agency, Yorkshire Forward, has been established to link those needing scientific analysis with the laboratories that can provide it.

The multidisciplinary venture involves five universities: Bradford, Huddersfield, Leeds, Sheffield Hallam and York.

KL’s advantage comes from its access to consultant laboratories throughout Yorkshire. The labs are in local universities and private companies. Customers approach KL with their query, for example a metals analysis on a soil sample, and KL will put together a portfolio of quotes from different analytical labs for the customer to choose from.

Crucially this process, because of KL’s project management, provides quality controls and assurances. Seminars, the first of which is on 8 March at the Institute of Pharmaceutical Innovation (IPI), at the University of Bradford, are provided for participating labs to get quality control accreditation. This maintains standards and allows all labs to compete commercially.

’KL originated through a desire to collaborate and be coherent in what analytical scientists were doing across the region,’ explains Ian Scowen, KL programme director, based at the IPI.

Any profit made by KL (www.knowledgelab.co.uk) will be used to pay for more training. Initial investment from Yorkshire Forward was crucial, says Scowen: ’Yorkshire Forward’s ability to support this process, and engage people who have experience of delivering analytical services in a commercial environment has been exceptional.

’One of the great things about KL is that it’s collaboration for a purpose. It provides something of benefit for both private and public sectors,’ he said.

Katharine Sanderson