UK-based construction firm Mace has broken ground on Rosalind Franklin Institute’s new £40m ($51m) hub building on the Harwell Science and Technology Campus in the UK.

The building is constructed to test the limits of specialist technologies such as mass spectrometry and electron microscopy.

The building’s ground floor is designed to house sensitive scientific instruments and will be separated from the rest of the building to shield it from vibration impact.

Its structure will feature stainless steel to prevent electromagnetic interference. Non-ferrous materials will be used in the fabric and MEP services.

The remaining three floors will include offices, working spaces and social areas.

They will include chemistry, biology and imaging laboratories, as well as support new collaborations and methods of technological development.

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Opening in 2020, the 5,400m² building will provide space for more than 200 researchers from academia and industry.

Rosalind Franklin Institute chair Vivienne Cox said: “This is an exciting day for the institute as we begin to build the hub, which is such an important part of our vision. We already have several projects underway with our partners across the UK, and the hub will provide further impetus, creating a fantastic space for research and collaboration that will enable real advances to be made.”

This building will honour Rosalind Franklin, after whom the institute has been named. Rosalind Franklin was an experimental scientist known for taking X-ray photographs of DNA that helped establish its helical structure.

“This is an exciting day for the institute as we begin to build the hub.”

The front of the building will showcase graphics of the DNA double helix structure taken from this photograph, called Photo 51.

Mace public sector construction managing director Terry Spraggett said: “This is a hugely important project that has the potential to transform the lives of millions through the cutting-edge research it will support. It is a complex and technically challenging build that we are proud to be delivering on behalf of the Rosalind Franklin Institute and the Science and Technology Facilities Council.”