Construction has begun on the Henry Royce Institute at The University of Manchester

22 December 2017
The University of Manchester has now entered into contract on the creation of the 46-metres high Henry Royce National Institute, the national body promoting research and applications in advanced materials.
Henry Royce Institute visualisation

Henry Royce Institute visualisation


Ramboll. Lynden Spencer-Allen. Image courtesy of Paulina Sobczak Photography

Lynden Spencer-Allen

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Simona Peet. Ramboll

Simona Peet

Project Director
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Construction work has begun on the Manchester hub for the Henry Royce National Institute, the national body promoting research and applications in advanced materials. The University of Manchester has now entered into contract on the creation of the 46-metres high building which will be a prominent new landmark on the Manchester skyline.

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 world-leading materials scientists, state-of-the-art equipment and provide collaborative and exemplary space for industrial engagement. It is a key part of the University’s ten year Campus Masterplan to create world-class facilities in Manchester.

Having provided a variety of engineering services on the University’s award winning National Graphene Institute and currently delivering the Graphene Engineering Innovation Centre (GEIC), Ramboll’s involvement in the project builds on the already successful relationship with the University of Manchester and other Henry Royce project team members Arcadis and Laing O’Rourke.

The Henry Royce Institute will support the Government’s industrial strategy, including investment into the Northern Powerhouse. The 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 Institute in its potential to integrate collective strengths across the North, creating a centre of excellence that companies and researchers will be able to capitalise on.

The University of Manchester appointed Arcadis as project manager, cost manager and Full Design Team (PMFD) to lead the delivery of the world-class £105 million building. Supported by NBBJ Architects, an international architectural practice, Ramboll, providing civil, structural, vibration, acoustic and fire engineering services and Arup, building services engineers. This building will be delivered by Laing O’Rourke, the appointed main contractor. The institute is expected to be fully operational by early 2020. 

The new facility will be based at The University of Manchester to provide a research beacon 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-based building will enable a wide array of ground-breaking research to be undertaken. This includes research 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 used in inks for printable electronics, enhanced composites, fuel cells and super capacitators. 

Building upon The University of Manchester’s already outstanding reputation for scientific research, the institute will enable the UK to grow its world-leading research and innovation base in advanced materials science and technology.

The University of Manchester Regius Professor Phil Withers, Chief Scientist for the Henry Royce Institute said: “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. 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. This powerhouse development will also support the Government with its industrial strategy and help underpin innovation in the UK economy – regionally and nationally.”

Mel Manku, Partner at Arcadis, said: “Having led this flagship project of the last two years, we are very pleased to have reached this major milestone on this complex and highly serviced building. To have achieved this on budget is a testimony to our people, our team and the strategic leadership of the University. It recognises our established position in the higher education, science and research sector as a consultant that understands the requirements for research facilities and how to overcome inevitable challenges to deliver value. We appreciate the importance of this nationally significant project and we are privileged to be able to influence the benefits this scheme will bring to Manchester and the UK.”

Liam Cummins, Laing O’Rourke’s Head of UK Building said: “The Henry Royce building is an exciting and challenging research and education project in a tight and constrained inner city site and will be delivered using modern and innovative methods of engineering and construction with an emphasis on offsite manufacturing and world-class logistical solutions. I am delighted that the contract for the project has now been signed, allowing our team to begin construction in earnest in the New Year. 

Ingo Braun, Design Director at NBBJ, said: “We are delighted to be working with a world leading institution on a significant project and help contribute in showcasing Manchester’s ground-breaking research, enabling the Institute to play a vital role at the forefront of UK research and innovation. 

Greig Kirker, Ramboll’s Head of Buildings Manchester, said: “Ramboll is proud and privileged to be working on the Sir Henry Royce Institute for Advanced Materials. Drawing on Ramboll’s extensive experience in research and science laboratories, it will complete a hat-trick of world class research facilities which we have helped deliver for the University of Manchester.  I am also delighted to have engineering graduates from the University of Manchester in our team delivering these nationally significant projects.”

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Ramboll - The National Graphene Institute

National Graphene Institute, University of Manchester

State-of-the-art facility, dedicated to the study, research and development of graphene and its applications. Critical to the success of the project were the clean rooms (ISO standard 5 and 6 ) and laboratories that accommodate sophisticated research equipment, which have both extremely low-vibration and non-magnetic requirements, made extraordinarily challenging with the extreme intensity of services equipment.


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