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Topping out for National Graphene Institute

01 Apr 2014

Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne MP marked the topping out ceremony of the National Graphene Institute (NGI) with a speech praising revolutionary science at The University of Manchester.

NGI topping out

Set to open in early 2015, the £61m Institute will see University scientists and commercial partners working side by side on future applications using the wonder material.

The Chancellor praised graphene academics not only for their ground-breaking scientific research but for the desire and ambition to commercialise the material, to ensure that Manchester and the UK remains the world-leading centre of graphene research.

Addressing members of the construction teams and University academics, he spoke of how graphene had the potential to revolutionise a large number of sectors, and how the Government supports the push towards commercialisation.

The ceremony also featured an address by Professor Dame Nancy Rothwell, University President and Vice-Chancellor, and Sir Howard Bernstein, Chief Executive of Manchester City Council.

Earlier, the Chancellor and his colleague David Willetts MP, Universities Minister, heard a presentation on graphene from Sir Kostya Novoselov, who, along with his colleague Sir Andre Geim, first isolated graphene and were awarded the Nobel prize for Physics in 2010.

They were then taken onto the NGI site, meeting construction workers, before heading to the top floor of the five-storey, 7,800 square metre building for the presentation.

Professor Colin Bailey, Vice-President and Dean of the Faculty of Engineering and Physical Sciences, said: “We are delighted that the Chancellor has come to The University of Manchester to mark the topping out ceremony for the National Graphene Institute.

“The NGI is a perfect example of how the UK is investing in its world-class science base and seeking to harvest the knowledge for the benefit of the UK economy and society more globally. Today’s announcement by the Chancellor is also another boost to support the training of our future scientists and engineers, which is critical to the future wellbeing of the country.”

The building of the NGI is being project managed by Stuart Lockwood of the University’s Directorate of Estates and Facilities. BAM Construction started work on the NGI in July last year and it is now week 31 of a 66 week project. The main concrete frame of the five storey building is complete and we are now working on the external envelope and cladding works to the glass-fronted building, the internal blockwork, partition walls and installation of mechanical and electrical services.

The fit out of the cleanrooms is about to begin and equipment is due to be moved into the building from the end of this year with completion in 2015.

Director of Estates and Facilities at the University, Diana Hampson, said:” Reaching this important milestone in this high profile building is a great achievement and testament to the hard work and professionalism of the Estates staff involved in managing the project.”

BAM Construction's project manager, Gordon Flint, said: "We are delighted to reach this important milestone in the construction of one of the most exciting centres for cutting edge research in the UK that will continue the ground-breaking work being done here in Manchester".

Tony Ling, Director at Jestico + Whiles said: “We are very proud to be working on this new world-leading institute committed to supporting the UK’s eminence in the development of this revolutionary material. The new building honours Manchester’s industrial legacy, whilst helping to raise the profile of the exciting developments on this wonder material in the UK”.

Led by EC Harris through the OGC Framework, the design team also includes CH2M Hill providing specialist architectural laboratory design and M&E consultant services, and Ramboll providing Civil and Structural services.