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Henry Royce Institute reaches construction landmark

29 Nov 2018

The University of Manchester hosts ‘topping-out’ ceremony as construction of flagship materials science research Hub reaches highest point.

Royce topping out

The Henry Royce Institute, the UK’s national institute for advanced materials research and innovation, has celebrated a key milestone in the construction of its headquarters at the University of Manchester.

A special event on 28 November marked the building’s ‘topping-out’ with representatives from across the Royce partnership coming together to celebrate the construction of the national institute reaching its highest point. 

The Henry Royce Institute, made possible by a £235m grant from the EPSRC, will open its Hub building in 2020, providing 16,000 m2 of collaborative space for academic research and industrial collaboration, accelerating the innovation of new materials and technologies.

The Institute Hub will house state-of-the-art equipment and facilities that will enable advances across a wide range of areas, such as 3D printing of biomedical materials that mimic the human body and allow testing of new therapies, research to improve the efficiency and safety of nuclear fuels, and the development of new self-healing coatings. 

The different types of pioneering scientific research are set to benefit from the new building’s design which will allow ‘science on show’; making spaces such as laboratories viewable to visitors to inspire, inform and stimulate collaboration. The Institute will also have closed spaces for commercially sensitive research.

Professor Dame Nancy Rothwell, President and Vice-Chancellor of The University of Manchester hosted the Topping-out ceremony and said: “The University is honoured to be the lead partner of the Royce Institute and home to its national hub. The Royce is a beacon for both research and application in this critical field  and, as its Chief Scientist and our Regius Professor of Materials ,Phil Withers, likes to say it is a national meeting place for UK advanced materials.  That meeting place can be physical, of course, as demonstrated by this wonderful hub building but, as well giving us access to such impressive facilities, it also facilitates the bringing together of committed people to share their innovative thinking about new materials.”

The event was marked by the raising of a ceremonial final girder to the building’s highest point, inscribed with famous words of the Institute’s namesake Sir Henry Royce; ‘Strive for perfection in everything you do. Take the best that exists and make it better. If it doesn’t exist, create it. Accept nothing as nearly right or good enough.”

Baroness Brown of Cambridge, Chair of the Henry Royce Institute, said:“The work that will take place across the Henry Royce Institute will not only push forward the development of new materials and world-leading technologies, it will also be at the heart of the UK’s strategy for economic growth over the coming decades.”

“When the Hub opens, its research labs will put science on show so that it can inspire and inform the next generation of innovators. The building will be a hive of activity, reflecting the vibrancy and health of materials science in the UK.”

David Sweeney, Executive Chair of Research England, said: 'The Henry Royce Institute is a key example of research funding aligning itself with the Government’s Industrial Strategy. The Institute will act as the front door to the international materials science community, bringing researchers and industrial partners from across the globe right here to our doorstep to create economic and societal benefit for the United Kingdom.

We are just at the beginning of the Henry Royce Institute’s journey with collaborative work taking place across its partner institutions already. I look forward to where we will be in 2020 when the Hub opens.’ 

Diana Hampson, Director of Estates and Facilities at The University of Manchester, said:“The Henry Royce Institute Hub, situated at the heart of the University’s campus will house world-class talent alongside state-of-the-art equipment. The building will bring academics and industry to Manchester to perform pioneering research ensuring that we are a global university”

The building has been designed by architects NBBJ with a project team led by Arcadis, the design team includes contractor Laing O’Rourke, structural engineer Ramboll and building services engineer ARUP.

Ingo Braun, Design Director at NBBJ, said: “It is truly inspiring to work with the University and the Henry Royce Institute to facilitate and advance the UK’s ground-breaking materials science research, providing a facility for the Institute to engage with the wider community. NBBJ has extensive experience in designing workplaces and laboratory facilities around the world and we have particularly enjoyed utilizing innovative methods, including our own virtual reality tool developed in-house, to inform a collaborative design process with the project stakeholders.”

The Henry Royce Institute Hub is set to be completed by Spring 2020 and be fully operational by the Autumn.