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New biomedical sciences building will inspire a new generation of scientists

The designs for the Life Sciences building are still in development and subject to planning approval.

Following approval in July for the University’s campus masterplan, architects are working up potential designs for a new building for the School of Life Sciences.

The new £49 million building complex will be a hub for Sussex’s biological and biomedical community, equipping teaching and research faculty with the facilities they need to continue delivering pioneering work and providing students with 21st-century facilities.

Professor Michael Davies, Pro-Vice-Chancellor (Research), says: “Some of the UK’s leading biomedical researchers began their careers at Sussex and, in recent years, we have started to make major breakthroughs in our understanding of the causes of neuro-degenerative diseases and cancers and how they might be treated.

“To build on this important work and explore the new frontiers of biomedicine, we are planning to create a state-of-the-art teaching and research facility that will bring all biomedical researchers at Sussex under one roof.”

The designs are still in development and subject to planning approval, but it is hoped the new building will house:

  • teaching laboratories and spaces for Life Sciences students, including those studying on the proposed new Pharmacy degree course
  • a Bio Innovation Centre, bringing leading researchers from Sussex together with industry
  • a new Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience Centre
  • an expansion of the world-renowned Genome Damage and Stability Centre
  • an expanded Sussex Centre for Advanced Microscopy
  • a new Medicinal Chemistry and Drug Discovery Centre
  • a new joint Medical School/Life Sciences Screening and Target Discovery Centre
  • a café and social meeting spaces for staff and students.

The project includes a proposed refurbishment of the Genome building, which opened in 2002, and a connected new building spread over three and a half storeys. The design approach responds to the existing architectural character of campus – and in particular the heritage of the 1960s buildings designed by Sir Basil Spence.

In parallel, the University has been progressing plans for the renewal of the East Slope housing area.

Earlier this year, Balfour Beatty Student Accommodation (BBSA) was appointed as the preferred bidder for the development and operation of this new student accommodation on campus, which will incorporate 2,000 new bedrooms. Balfour Beatty and the University are now reviewing potential designs for the site.

John Duffy, Registrar & Secretary, says: “As we develop our campus, housing is a key element within the University’s overall plan and we have been working closely with the team at Balfour Beatty to finalise detailed specifications for these new residences, in preparation for a planning application.

“As soon as we have completed this next stage of preparation, we will share the proposed designs and information about the development with both the campus and local communities, so that we can understand any views they may have.”

It is hoped the site will also include a new building for the Students’ Union, which will incorporate administrative and social facilities. In March, the Students’ Union and the University agreed plans for the new building, and meetings have been ongoing since then to discuss potential designs ahead of a planning application.

All design proposals will be shared widely with staff and students, as well as with the local community, before planning applications are submitted to Brighton & Hove City Council some time during spring 2016.

As part of the development plans, the University will also be applying for a certification to demolish the Mantell building. If approved, this is likely to be done around summer 2016.

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Posted on behalf of: School of Life Sciences
Last updated: Tuesday, 27 October 2015

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