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£25m University building open for business

Posted on 1 July 2002

Researchers were busy moving into the University of York's new £25 million Biology Building today. The building, which will be dedicated to York's cutting-edge biology research, gives researchers working in many different fields of biology access to the very latest scientific equipment and techniques.

The investment will allow new research programmes to be undertaken, leading to new jobs at the University for research, technical, secretarial and administrative posts. It will have spin-off benefits for students and the general public as the department intends to expand its work in the public understanding of science and host more events for the public.

The three-wing building has state-of-the art laboratories and a groundbreaking central technology hub, with specialist equipment worth £5 million.

The hub, known as the Technology Facility, will allow the University's international research teams to use the most modern technologies in areas such as cancer research, plant biotechnology and ecology, and has been made possible by the Government's recognition of the infrastructure needs of UK science.

The building and new equipment for the Technology Facility have been funded through the Joint Infrastructure Fund (JIF) by the Biotechnology and Biological Science Research Council (BBSRC) with major contributions from Yorkshire Cancer Research, which has funded an entire laboratory; the Higher Education Funding Council for England, and the University of York.

The JIF grant toYork is one of the largest ever awarded, and work will now begin to refurbish the existing biology laboratories in a second phase which will be completed in 2003.

The Biology Department, one of the largest and most successful in the country, is a closely integrated group of research teams, whose work spans the biological spectrum, including plant biology, ecology, and cancer research. The department has a research rating of '5' which signifies work of international standing. It also has the highest possible score - 24 out of 24 - for its teaching quality.

Professor Sir Ron Cooke, Vice Chancellor of the University, said: "This is a first-class scientific environment, the equal of any in the UK, which reflects the continuing success of the University and in particular the biosciences at York."

Professor Alastair Fitter, Head of the Department of Biology, added: "These superb laboratories will allow us to make real progress with our exciting and ground-breaking work on the causes and treatment of cancer, the ways in which molecules interact in living cells, sustainable agriculture, and understanding biodiversity in the natural world."

Notes to editors:

  • The Department's work includes:
    • Biomedicine: focussing on the fundamental science that underlies important human disease, including cancer;
    • Plant biotechnology: focussing on key features of plant growth and adaptation that underpin a sustainable agriculture;
    • Ecology: links between biodiversity and the response of ecosystems to human impacts and global climate.
  • The new building and equipment were funded by BBSRC with a grant of £21.6m awarded in December 1999. Work started in 2000 and the building is open on schedule. The BBSRC is one of the Government's five research councils which fund fundamental and applied science in the UK. The JIF programme was jointly funded by the Government and the Wellcome Trust, the largest research-funding charity in the world. Yorkshire Cancer Research funded the new laboratories in the building for Professor Norman Maitland.

Contact details

David Garner
Senior Press Officer

Tel: +44 (0)1904 322153