Rosalind Franklin Institute to build new £40m hub at Harwell Campus in UK

WCN Editorial Team 20 May 2019 EUROPE BUILDINGS

Rosalind Franklin Institute, a new national institute, funded by the UK government through UK Research and Innovation, has begun construction on £40m hub building at the Harwell Campus.

The new building, with 5,400m² of space, will have four floors and is expected to be opened late next year.

The first floor has been designed to house sensitive scientific instruments. The foundations of the ground floor have been designed to be separated from the rest of the building to shield them vibrations.

Rosalind stated that stainless steel reinforcement will be used in the structure and non-ferrous materials used in the fabric, finishes and MEP services to prevent electromagnetic interference. The aim is to create a stable environment to test the limits of specialist technologies such as electron microscopy and mass spectrometry.

The rest of the three floors will have collaborative working spaces, offices and social areas along with structural biology, chemistry and imaging laboratories.

The spaces have been designed to be flexible in supporting new collaborations in technological development. The building is touted to have enough space for more than 200 researchers to work.

Rosalind Franklin Institute chairman 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.”

The building’s construction will be managed by the Science and Technology Facilities Council (STFC), part of UK Research and Innovation, which is one of the partners of the Institute alongside ten of UK’s universities.

Harwell Science and Innovation Campus was selected as the ideal site for the hub as it also houses other complementary research capabilities, such as the STFC’s Rutherford Appleton Laboratory and Diamond Light Source and could also attract industrial partners.

The Institute’s namesake, Rosalind Franklin will be honoured, by having the DNA double helix X-ray photograph taken by the scientist, on the front of the building.

STFC executive chair professor Mark Thomson said: “One of STFC’s key initiatives in recent years has been the creation of our very successful health technology cluster here at Harwell.

“As the delivery partner for the new home of the Rosalind Franklin Institute we see this unique facility as an essential element in that growing health technology ecosystem and I look forward to supporting the RFI in finding answers to the great challenges of the day in the life sciences.”

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Image: An artist’s impression of the new research building. Photo: Courtesy of IBI.

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