Graphene centre start moves closer

Manchester University has started the formal tender process to select a contractor to build the £31.5m National Graphene Institute, scheduled for completion by the end of 2014.

The new facility proposed for Booth Street East is designed by London-based architects Jestico + Whiles. The project team includes EC Harris on procurement advice, CH2M Hill with technical design services for the labs and Ramboll on civil and structural services.

Funding for the centre will come from the government's £50m grant awarded to Manchester in October 2011.

There will be cleanrooms, laboratories and offices in the new facility which will be a research and incubator centre dedicated to the development of graphene. Graphene is 200 times stronger than steel and one atom thick, the strongest and thinnest material ever measured, and the world's most conductive material. It has a wide range of potential uses, including electronics, flexible touch screens, sensors and in composite materials.

Manchester University professors Konstantin Novoselov and Andre Geim were awarded the 2010 Nobel Prize in Physics for their work on graphene and will collaborate with the design team to develop the institute.

Construction is expected to begin in the first quarter of 2013 with completion in the third quarter of 2014.

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