University breaks ground on state-of-the-art research facility

A new research and development facility in Lincoln city centre is one step closer to reality as construction gets underway.

Professor Ian Scowen and Professor Libby John of the University of Lincoln with Ian Taylor, Managing Director of Henry Brothers Midlands, at the official ground breaking for 'The Bridge' Advanced Engineering Research and Development facility.

An official ground breaking event for ‘The Bridge’ Advanced Engineering Research and Development facility took place at the University of Lincoln’s Brayford Pool campus on Wednesday, with representatives from the Greater Lincolnshire LEP, Gleeds, Siemens, Dynex and Teledyne e2v in attendance alongside Henry Brothers, the successful contractors for the build.

Funded by the European Regional Development Fund and the Greater Lincolnshire LEP, the new building, due for completion in spring 2022, will act as a centre for collaborative research and development between business and industry partners and the University of Lincoln.

The concept has been co-developed with a working group of industry-based scientists and with engagement from a consortium of more than 20 companies in the region.

Located alongside the Lincoln Science and Innovation Park, the building will house £1.2 million worth of equipment in specialist laboratories including advanced electron and atomic force microscopes, as well as surface analysis and thermo-mechanical instrumentation.

Alongside high-tech laboratories including clean room facilities, there will be innovation and learning lounges for businesses to engage in training, development and networking activities.

Professor Ian Scowen of the University of Lincoln said: “We are excited to begin our realisation of a collective vision for developing new approaches that enable businesses to innovate new products. Working with dedicated cutting-edge facilities and within environments that encourage business interaction, we aim to bridge barriers to innovation across the range of enterprises in the engineering and materials sectors in Greater Lincolnshire – from the smallest to the largest. The Bridge project is already underway, but this building will add an important focal point for activities in the future.”

Pat Doody, Chair of the Greater Lincolnshire Local Enterprise Partnership, said: "We are delighted to be investing £1.9m in this new 788m2 R&D facility for Greater Lincolnshire. It will catalyse growth and productivity, promoting research and innovation in the SME supply chains of several key sectors of our economy.

"The Bridge will provide access to commercial scientists for diagnostic support and to potential business opportunities and regular networking forums for knowledge exchange.

"This new facility will directly enhance innovation in advanced materials technologies in the region, helping to create a stronger, more competitive and more resilient manufacturing and engineering sector."

Ian Taylor, Managing Director of Henry Brothers Midlands, said: “Henry Brothers has wide experience of partnering with universities in the East Midlands, helping them to enhance their facilities for students, staff and the wider community, and we are looking forward to working with the University of Lincoln on this project to create the new Bridge Advanced Engineering Research and Development building.”

Further details on the project are available at The Bridge website.