Head of EPSRC tours new MECD and Royce buildings
On Tuesday, 18 February 2020 Professor Dame Lynn Gladden visited The University of Manchester to deliver a plenary talk to staff on the EPSRC Delivery Plan. During the day she was shown the future of the Faculty of Science and Engineering (FSE), with tours of the Royce Building and Manchester Engineering Campus Development (MECD).
Regius Professor of Materials and Royce Chief Scientist Philip Withers greeted Professor Gladden and introduced her to key members of the Henry Royce Institute, as well as the brand-new facilities in the near-completed Royce Building.
Upon its completion the £105 million, nine-story building at the heart of the University's campus will be home to world-leading materials scientists, with over £45 million worth of equipment and collaborative space for industrial and academic engagement.
It was fantastic to show Professor Gladden the hub of the national institute and explain how the building will act as a meeting place for the whole materials community. By bringing together the UK's academic and industrial materials leaders, the Royce will identify new opportunities, workshop ideas, and develop new strategies and approaches to tomorrow's materials demands.
Professor Gladden was then escorted around the MECD site by FSE Vice-Dean for Research Professor Wendy Flavell. During the visit Professor Gladden had the opportunity to visit the new High Voltage Laboratory space in the York Street Building, and saw the development of the cleanroom space in the highly-technical research basements of the main MEC Hall building.
Opening in September 2021, MECD will be the single largest home for engineering in any UK university and will provide world-class research facilities, leading the way in terms of innovation in technology and working practices, and making it an important place for the future of EPSRC research.
Here Professor Gladden was introduced to the MECD concepts of flexible space and shared facilities across departments and research areas, which will support research projects of multiple scales and duration and encourage collaboration between researchers and departments, and with industry.
It was great to be able to host Lynn's visit. It's given us a great deal to think about, but it's also in many ways reassuring to confirm that our current directions of travel, particularly in business engagement, upskilling/reskilling and facilities sharing are aligned with EPSRC thinking.
During her plenary lecture in the MIB Building Professor Gladden spoke to over 100 of the University's staff about EPSRC's Delivery Plan and presented other current developments at EPSRC, such as the changes in the impact requirements and efforts to reduce bureaucracy of peer review. Professor Gladden, along with her EPSRC colleague Deputy Director Kathryn Magnay, took an open question session on topics ranging from impact to climate emergency to public engagement.
Later in the day the EPSRC visitors had the opportunity to hold discussions with a range of invited senior business leads on industry engagement, and met with Vice-President for Research Professor Colette Fagan and other senior University staff to discuss current developments at the University, such as ID Manchester and the Pankhurst Institute.
Rounding off the day Professor Gladden attended a showcase of the work of our early career researchers, including virtual reality DNA structures, robots for extreme environments and 2D nanomaterials.