Rosalind Franklin Institute building reaches its highest point

The Rosalind Franklin Institute Hub building has passed a major milestone today, as it celebrates the ‘topping out’ of the building. The 5500m2 building, which sits on the Harwell Campus, will be a national centre for life science technology development, expected to open in early 2021.

Representatives from UKRI-EPSRC, trustees, members, and science leads attend the topping out event

Members of Rosalind Franklin’s family, and a group of young scientists from the Downs School, Compton helped mark the occasion, a construction tradition celebrating reaching the highest point of a building. The Franklin family laid the final piece at the top of the four storey construction.

Vivienne Cox, the Chair of The Franklin said ‘We marked ground-breaking in May 2019, so to see the structure coming up in just six months is really remarkable. The teams here are building something very special, which will be a real beacon for life sciences in the UK.’

The Franklin was established to drive future advances in life sciences through developing cutting edge technology. The building is the heart of an Institute with members in Universities across the UK. Research already underway at member universities will eventually move into the completed building in Harwell. The initial themes of the Franklin centre around the ability to see cells better than ever before: understanding their atomic and molecular composition, their detailed chemistry, and the way change occurs in their structure and behaviour over time.

At Harwell, the £40m Hub building will house 200 scientists from around the UK and further afield working together to develop these new tools and technologies.

The hub site in May and November 2019
Students from The Downs School, Compton, attending the topping out ceremony at The Franklin Hub

The building contains highly specialised spaces, including the most electromagnetically stable space on earth, essential for developing new electron microscopes. The design team have also focussed on maximising useful space available for research.  Early analysis of the design shows that the Franklin Hub will the most efficient research space in the UK, while keeping social, networking, and high quality working spaces.

For the young scientists visiting, the event was a great opportunity to see science in a new light, and to understand more about the construction process.  The students will be working with the Franklin team over the coming months on a project to learn about what it takes to be a scientist – collaboration and creativity.

Michelle Smith, CEO of Education Business Partnership, who are collaborating with The Franklin and the Downs School said ‘The students were so excited to come along and see this brilliant building, and learn about Rosalind Franklin herself. Careers in science and technology offer so many opportunities, but it’s often hard for students to imagine themselves in these roles without seeing them up close. Having the Franklin on the doorstep will be inspirational, and we’re excited about working together.’

The Hub is being delivered by construction firm Mace, working with UK Research and Innovation’s Science and Technology Facilities Council. Terry Spraggett, Managing Director of Public Sector Construction at Mace, said:  ‘The project is ahead of schedule, and has gone through the design phase in record time. We’re pleased to be here and to celebrate the hard work of the build teams, and of the scientists who have worked together to design this unique building. We’re excited for the next phase of the project.’

Further information

About The Rosalind Franklin Institute

The Rosalind Franklin Institute is a national institute dedicated to transforming life science through interdisciplinary research and technology development. The Institute will bring together researchers in life, physical science, and engineering, to develop disruptive new technologies designed to tackle major challenges in health and life sciences.

The Institute is an independent organisation founded by the UK Research and Innovation and ten UK universities, and will have its central hub at the Harwell Campus.  The hub will house a unique portfolio of scientific tools and researchers from both industry and academia. The Institute will work nationally with equipment and researchers located in spokes distributed throughout the partner network of universities.

The Institute is funded through the UK Government through the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC).

Focussing initially on five major research themes, the Institute will have significant impact in imaging, diagnostics, drug development, and many more fields.  The Institute will work with industrial and academic partners from across the UK, fostering interdisciplinary research with real impact.

The Rosalind Franklin Institute is a company limited by guarantee registered in England and Wales, registration number 11266143. We are a Registered Charity, number 1179810.

Website: www.rfi.ac.uk Twitter @RosFrankInst


About Mace

Mace is an international consultancy and construction company, founded and built on exceptional people, a commitment to service excellence and a deep-rooted entrepreneurial spirit.

We employ over 6,300 people across five global hubs, with a turnover of £2.35bn. We develop, consult, construct and operate some of the world’s most inspiring projects and programmes.

Find out more about what makes us different: www.macegroup.com