University of Leicester eBulletin

3.7 Million Project to Enhance University of Leicester's Research Facilities

July 2003
No 204

Building work has finished and the University of Leicester's new Space Research and Multidisciplinary Modelling Centre is being fitted out with state-of-the-art equipment, ready for use from the beginning of August 2003.

The 3.7 million project, started in July 2002, will enhance the University of Leicester's reputation as the largest academic centre for space research in Europe. The University is a co-founder of the 52m National Space Centre, the Millennium Commission's Landmark project for the East Midlands.

It will also increase collaboration between groups in Mechanical and Fluids Engineering, Applied Mathematics, Chemistry and Space Research. The boundaries between disciplines are now the most fertile grounds for scientific advances. Multidisciplinary modelling is a powerful tool, for example in understanding the relationship between atoms and what happens on the everyday scale.

"The new centre will further increase the amount of research that can be carried out by the University," says Deputy Director of Estates Paul Goffin. "The facility will also be shared by the Engineering, Mathematics, Chemistry as well as the Physics and Astronomy Department, and will expand the range of things they can achieve. It provides an exciting new interdisciplinary environment for scientific research".

Dean of Science Professor John Fothergill said: "The building will house scientists and engineers with interests in advanced modelling and simulation methods. These techniques are key, for example, in understanding the ways that materials fail - such failure may at best in an inconvenience and at worst a catastrophe such as the malfunction of an aeroplane."

The building work was done by Marriott Construction of Nottingham.  Architects Hook Whitehead Associates had originally designed the University's Space Research Centre with the intention of adding this second phase, which will provide valuable additional laboratory and research space for staff and postgraduate students.

The second phase of the Space Research and Multidisciplinary Modelling Centre was designed to match the existing building. The three-storey extension was constructed around a steel frame with blockwork internal walls and cladding to external elevations. Windows are double glazed with powder coated metal frames. The extension features a flat roof of a single ply membrane with an inset area of accommodation on the second floor, which features a vaulted roof. Around this is a balcony area, which accommodates services and plant.

The extension's interior is being fully fitted out as part of the contract and the existing building's security and fire alarms, power, telecommunications and data systems  have  been extended to serve the new phase.

A 300,000 clean room, which creates a particle-free environment in which scientists can work, has also been installed within the space research area of the centre as part of the main contract.

NOTE TO EDITORS: Further information is available from Mr Paul Goffin, Deputy Director of Estates, University of Leicester, telephone 0116 252 2507, fax 0116 223 1333, email

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