Wraps come off graphene institute design

This is the first image released of the new £61m research institute into supermaterial graphene, which is to be built by Manchester University.

The glass-fronted National Graphene Institute (NGI) will be the UK's home of research into the world's thinnest, strongest and most conductive material, providing the opportunity for researchers and industry to work together on a huge variety of potential applications.

It is hoped the centre will initially create around 100 jobs, with the long-term expectation of many thousands more in the North West and more widely in the UK.

The 81,600 sq ft glass-fronted building in Booth Street East will house testing and research space including two 'cleanrooms', one of which will take up the whole of the lower ground floor. The new facility was 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.

The institute will feature a 15,000 sq ft research lab for graphene scientists to collaborate with colleagues from industry and other UK universities.

Funding for the NGI has come from £38m from the Government, as part of £50m allocated for graphene research, and the university has applied for £23m of funding from the European Union.

The NGI will operate as a 'hub and spoke' model, working with other UK institutions involved in graphene research.

Some of the world's leading companies are also expected to sign up to work at the NGI, where they will be offered the chance to work on cutting edge projects, across various sectors, with Nobel Laureates and other leading members of the graphene team.

Graphene, isolated for the first time in Manchester University by Prof Andre Geim and Prof Kostya Novoselov in 2004, has the potential to revolutionise a huge number of diverse applications; from smartphones and ultrafast broadband to drug delivery and computer chips.
Novoselov said: "The National Graphene Institute is fundamentally important to continue the world-class graphene research started in Manchester.

"Our researchers and scientists will be able to collaborate with colleagues from other universities and from some of the world's leading companies, which can only serve to enhance scientific research.

"We are delighted that the Government have chosen to invest in graphene, which as the potential to change technology in so many ways."

Work is set to start on site in March 2014 and complete a year later.

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Looks just like all the new buildings, in fact, its a carbon copy.

By Sid Gravel