Wolfson award is major boost to new multi-million pound facility

Wolfson award is major boost to new multi-million pound facility

A multi-million pound state-of-the-art research facility, which will bring some of the world’s top researchers under the same roof, is being developed by the University of Aberdeen at its Foresterhill campus.

The ambitious plans for a new £5.7 million building have had a huge boost with the announcement of £750,000 funding from a key charitable trust, the Wolfson Foundation.

The building will enable renowned researchers within the University’s Institute of Applied Health Sciences (IAHS) to expand its activities in epidemiology, clinical research and trials. Expertise will focus on a number of clinical areas including bone and musculoskeletal disease, reproductive health, sports medicine, human physiology, incontinence and respiratory disease.

IMMPACT - the internationally recognised Initiative for Maternal Mortality Programme Assessment Project, which is striving to improve maternal health and survival in developing countries – will also be based there.

Professor Phil Hannaford, Director of the IAHS, said: “We are absolutely delighted with this very generous funding from the Wolfson Foundation. It is a tremendous boost towards our aim of having the best research facilities for some of Britain’s leading scientists involved in population based research.”

Professor Mike Greaves, Head of the University’s School of Medicine, added: “The University of Aberdeen prides itself in its long history of international quality medical research. The new building will offer new opportunities to enhance further our reputation for innovative research in a range of life science and health-related areas. “

The four-storey silver clad structure is being created because IAHS staff are currently spread across the Foresterhill campus in less adequate facilities at different locations. The new build will bring academics and researchers together into one complex, and will also provide much needed extra office and clinical research space.

The prestigious building has been designed to a high specification by Aberdeen based Halliday Fraser Munro Architects and is being constructed by Mansell who have bases in Aberdeen and across Britain.

Professor Hannaford said: “I have wanted to bring together our various research groups for some time now, as being in different locations is not conducive to shared discussion and problem solving that leads to strong results.

“The new building will lead to more information sharing, which can result from something as simple as a conversation in the corridor, leading to stronger collaborations between our researchers.”

Construction workers are currently clearing the site in preparation for foundations being laid in the next few weeks. The building should be completed by June 2006.

As well as funding from the Wolfson Foundation, the Scottish Higher Education Funding Council has given £3.4 million towards the project and the University is contributing £1.1 million.

Professor Hannaford added: “We still need another £450,000 for the building, which we hope our local community will view with pride. Although the work we will be doing there will be of national and international importance, it also has local relevance. The University also wishes to create a better environment for the many local people who help us each year with our clinical research.”

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