Construction work has begun on the Manchester hub for the Henry Royce Institute, the national body promoting research and applications in advanced materials. The building will be a prominent new landmark on the Manchester skyline at 46 metres high.

Based at the heart of The University of Manchester’s campus, the Henry Royce Institute for materials science research and innovation will bring together world-leading academics from across the UK to work closely with industry to ensure commercialisation of fundamental research. The development will house state-of-the-art equipment and provide collaborative space for industrial engagement, and is a key part of the University’s ten-year Campus Masterplan to create world-class facilities in Manchester.

The new facility will be based at The University of Manchester to provide a research focus for the Royce’s founding partners, including The University of Sheffield; The University of Oxford; University of Liverpool; University of Leeds; University of Cambridge; Imperial College London; the UK Atomic Energy Authority (UKAEA); and the National Nuclear Laboratory (NNL).

The Manchester building will enable a wide array of ground-breaking research to be undertaken including investigations into biomedical materials which are at the cutting-edge of regenerative medicine and prosthetics; nuclear materials to support the energy sector; materials systems for demanding environments; and 2D materials which, for example, can be used in inks for printable electronics, enhanced composites, in fuel cells and super capacitators which outperform traditional batteries.

This new flagship building will be a national beacon of research excellence in advanced materials – not only providing a centre for scientists and engineers to lead on cutting-edge research but will also help businesses to apply this new knowledge into technologies for commercial use,” said Regius Professor of Materials at The University of Manchester, Phil Withers, Chief Scientist for the Royce. He added: “Importantly, this hub facility will be a meeting place where colleagues can gather from across the UK and beyond to share their ideas and innovative thinking.”

President and Vice-Chancellor, Professor Dame Nancy Rothwell, said: “Building upon The University of Manchester’s already outstanding reputation for scientific research, the Royce will enable the UK to grow its world-leading research and innovation base in advanced materials science and technology. It is a great addition to our campus.”

Diana Hampson, Director of Estates and Facilities at the University, added: “This is one of our major capital projects forming an important part of our vision for the campus and will benefit from its location, close to the National Graphene Institute and the Graphene Engineering Innovation Centre.”

This development is a central pillar in the Government’s Industrial Strategy and creation of the Northern Powerhouse. The ‘Powerhouse 2050: the North’s Routemap for Productivity’ report published by the Northern Powerhouse Partnership, a group of businesses, organisations and leaders headed by George Osborne, underlines the pivotal role of the Royce in its potential to integrate collective strengths across the North to create a centre of excellence upon which companies and researchers will be able to capitalise on.

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