Victoria Building at Liverpool University

Liverpool offers contracts for £18m research centre

Simon Donohue

Contracts totalling £18m are being offered for the design and construction of the Materials Innovation Factory at Liverpool University.

The project will include the partial demolition and redevelopment of Liverpool University's Donnan and Robinson Laboratories Building in Grove Street.

A collaboration with Unilever, MIF will provide space for 140 University of Liverpool researchers and up to 100 researchers from industry partners.

It will produce new materials for sectors such as energy, pharmaceuticals, food and drink and paints.

It is being funded through a £33m grant from the Government's £1bn Research Partnership Investment Fund.

Separate contracts are being offered for architectural and mechanical and electrical engineering services.

"The project will create a new laboratory and build on the work done within the university's molecular bioscience department, as well as integrating these within existing research facilities within the Donnan Building," the tender document states.

"Flexible specialist workspaces will also permit researchers from other industrial and academic collaborators to use the open-access equipment at the university via a 'research hotel' concept.

"It is anticipated that the new build element of the project will incorporate the demolition of the existing lecture theatre.

"The new building will incorporate research labs, office accommodation and ancillary spaces.

"It is likely that limited refurbishment of the existing buildings will also be required as part of the project.

"Areas for refurbishment could include research labs, office accommodation as well as circulation, plant and service spaces."

Unilever and the university have a long-standing research partnership in the area of product and process innovation.

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