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Issue 471, 22 October 2001

Leeds begins its biggest build

The University is set to begin its biggest ever development programme, following the success of a 20.3m bid for funding under the government's Science Research Infrastructure Fund (SRIF). Contributions from other sources, including grants from the Wellcome Trust and other charities, discounts from suppliers and 5.4m from the University itself, brings the total to an unprecedented 49m.

Two research colleges are to be built, bringing together researchers across disciplines to focus on post-genome science and the understanding of human diseases on a molecular level. Both colleges – Leeds Institute of Molecular Medicine on the St James's site and Leeds Institute for Genetics, Health and Therapeutics between the LGI and the main campus – will stimulate collaboration and create closer links between the University and the city's teaching hospitals.

Seven research 'clusters' will also be created, using existing space to bring academics together for collaborative research around certain key themes: post-genome sciences (linking to the research colleges); functional materials and systems (with the aim of building a materials research college when further funding is available); engineering and physical sciences at the interface with life sciences; informatics; global resources, sustainability and development; society and choice and cultural analysis.

Twelve developments in total have been earmarked for funding under SRIF, with a further five supported by University funds, each responding to one of these development themes.

Extensive refurbishments will create high quality space with new state-of-the-art equipment, including robotic systems for purifying and crystallising proteins, acoustic chambers for human factors laboratories and interactive visual devices for multi-media virtual environments as part of the informatics cluster.

The work will begin in April 2002, and, under SRIF funding conditions, must be completed by 2004.

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