Corporate partner Neil Palmer led a cross-practice team which advised the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS) on a strategic partnership with the Universities of Strathclyde and Surrey for the development of the National Physical Laboratory.
The National Physical Laboratory (NPL) is the UK's National Measurement Institute and has been responsible for developing and maintaining the nation's primary measurement standards for more than a century. It is recognised as a world-leading centre of excellence in developing and applying measurement standards. Fieldfisher previously advised BIS on its acquisition of NPL Management Limited, the firm that operates NPL on behalf of BIS, from a private sector contractor.
The partnership will see the universities invest £10m over the next five years with the aim of enhancing NPL's science and increasing its impact across the UK. In particular, the partnership will create five new Joint Research centres- focussed on quantum technologies, low carbon energy, and advanced manufacturing, three new Regional Hubs and a Postgraduate Institute. The Universities of Cambridge and Huddersfield and the LGC will also be closely involved in the partnership.
The rest of the Fieldfisher team comprised partners Nicholas Thompsell (corporate) and David Bond (intellectual property rights) and associates Julian Grant (corporate) and Sean Brogan (technology/commercial).
Fieldfisher was recently awarded Public Sector Law Firm of the Year 2014 by the Legal 500 and this transaction is further evidence of the firm's public sector capability.
Neil Palmer commented:
"We were delighted to advise on this innovative strategic partnership which will be crucial in enabling the National Physical Laboratory to develop its capabilities, particularly over the next five years. In 2015, we have now advised BIS both on taking back ownership of NPL and on setting its future strategic direction. Our involvement in these deals demonstrates the strength of our public sector offering, which benefits hugely from our ability to pull in lawyers from practices across the firm to act on a wide range of transactions."
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