New Henry Royce Institute Tops Out

New Henry Royce Institute Tops Out

The new national institute for materials science research and innovation set to advance economic growth of the United Kingdom.

The Henry Royce Institute for Advanced Materials Hub, a new £150m national materials science research centre at the heart of The University of Manchester’s campus, was ceremoniously topped out yesterday by the University’s key stakeholders and project team. The Institute’s Hub is the latest building championing materials science research in the United Kingdom. Designed by architects NBBJ with a project team led by Arcadis; the design team includes contractor Laing O’Rourke, structural engineer Ramboll and building services engineer ARUP.

The 16,000sqm Institute Hub building received planning permission in March 2017 and will be the base for the UK’s leading materials research and commercialisation, housing state-of-the-art equipment and collaborative space for industrial engagement.

Research specialties on-site will include the development of 2D materials used in inks for printable electronics and in super capacitators; and a research group focused on the development and manufacture of biomedical materials used in the field of regenerative medicine and prosthetics. The different types of pioneering scientific research are set to benefit from the collaborative environment facilitated by the building’s design, which encourages interactions between researchers in different fields.

The building is designed to promote ‘science on show’: Researchers and industry partners are linked through vertical connections and shared spaces, which offer strong visual links for staff and visitors between public areas and the laboratories. A triple height ground floor entrance space is open to the wider campus, and visually permeable layouts allow visitors glimpses of workspaces as they climb the staircase through a stepped, three-storey atrium.

‘Collaboration areas’ are located within the atria, enabling staff and researchers to informally meet and interact whilst enjoying views across the campus and city beyond. An adaptable ‘flex zone’ connects offices with more private, technical and specialist laboratory spaces.

The Institute’s façade, designed with NBBJ’s bespoke software, reflects the internal operation of the building. Computational tools generate greater visual transparency to more ‘open’ functions such as local collaboration hubs and less transparency to controlled laboratory environments, creating a dynamic and modulated building appearance.

President and Vice-Chancellor of The University of Manchester, Professor Dame Nancy Rothwell, said:

“The University is honoured to be the lead partner of the Royce Institute and home to its national hub. The Royce is a beacon for both research and application in this critical field and, as its Chief Scientist and our Regius Professor of Materials, Phil Withers, likes to say it is a national meeting place for UK advanced materials. That meeting place can be physical, of course, as demonstrated by this wonderful hub building but, as well giving us access to such impressive facilities, it also facilitates the bringing together of committed people to share their innovative thinking about new materials.”

Mel Manku, Partner at Arcadis, said:

“Arcadis is delighted to have reached this significant milestone on what has been a complex but exciting development. Our approach has seen our team of experts working closely with the University and the wider community to understand not just today’s research requirements, but also what they might need in the future. This has enabled the design and delivery of a facility that is future proofed to accommodate changing trends in research and collaborative working. Together with the recently completed Graphene Engineering Innovation Centre, this will further enhance Manchester and the wider Northern Powerhouse’s status as a global hub for advanced material research.”

Tom Higgins, Laing O’Rourke’s Operations Leader, said:

“It has been fantastic continuing our partnership with The University of Manchester delivering this state of the art facility. Our teams have used considerable engineering expertise and innovation to reach this milestone and I am incredibly proud of their efforts. We look forward to continuing to focus our efforts on meeting the handover date in spring 2020.”

Ingo Braun, Design Director at NBBJ, said:

“It is truly inspiring to work with the University and the Henry Royce Institute to facilitate and advance the UK’s ground-breaking materials science research, providing a facility for the Institute to engage with the wider community. NBBJ has extensive experience in designing workplaces and laboratory facilities around the world and we have particularly enjoyed utilizing innovative methods, including our own virtual reality tool developed in-house, to inform a collaborative design process with the project stakeholders.”

Work on the new Henry Royce Institute is expected to be completed and the building fully operational by spring 2020.

Project and Cost Management is provided by Arcadis; Civil and Structural Engineering by Ramboll; Building Services Engineering by ARUP; Landscape Architecture by Gilllespies and the Main Contractor is Laing O’Rourke.

Notes for Editors

For further information, please contact:

Rebecca Kalra
+44 (0) 20 7247 8334

About NBBJ
NBBJ creates innovative places and experiences for organisations worldwide and designs environments, communities, and buildings that enhance people's lives. Founded in 1943 and celebrating its 75th anniversary in 2018, NBBJ is an industry leader in designing science, education, corporate, healthcare, commercial, civic and sports facilities. The firm has won numerous awards and has been recognised as one of the largest firms in the annual BD WA survey. NBBJ has more than 700 employees in 10 offices worldwide. Consistently recognised by clients for creative and professional design process, NBBJ has partnered with many top research institutions, corporate and tech companies, including the Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute, King's College London, Stanford University, the University of Cambridge, Amazon, City University, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Boeing, GlaxoSmithKline, Microsoft, Salk Institute, Samsung, Telenor, The Royal Liverpool University Hospital and Tencent.

About Arcadis
Arcadis is the leading global Design & Consultancy firm for natural and built assets. Applying our deep market sector insights and collective design, consultancy, engineering, project and management services we work in partnership with our clients to deliver exceptional and sustainable outcomes throughout the lifecycle of their natural and built assets. We are 27,000 people active in over 70 countries that generate €3.4 billion in revenues. We support UN-Habitat with knowledge and expertise to improve the quality of life in rapidly growing cities around the world. Arcadis. Improving quality of life.

About Laing O’Rourke
Through its operations around the world, across building and infrastructure sectors, Laing O’Rourke’s 2025 mission will see the business secure its position as the recognised leader for innovation and excellence in the construction industry.

With a heritage that draws on 170 years’ experience and a diverse group of vertically integrated businesses, Laing O’Rourke has helped forge cities, communities and economies.

We attract and develop the very best people. Our 15,000 people across the UK, Australia, the Middle East and South East Asia deliver engineering innovation, project leadership and certainty for our clients on the world’s most complex and challenging buildings and infrastructure. @laing_orourke

About ARUP
Arup is an independent firm of designers, planners, engineers, consultants and technical specialists offering a broad range of professional services. We aim to help our clients meet their business needs by adding value through technical excellence, efficient organisation and personal service. We provide the engineering and related consultancy services necessary to every stage of the project, from inception to completion and after. Throughout the world we aim to provide a consistently excellent multi-disciplinary service, which also incorporates our concern for the environment. Arup is committed to sustainable design, to its increasing incorporation in our projects and to industry-wide sustainability initiatives. Founded in 1946, Arup now has more than 13,000 people working in 92 offices in 40 countries and our projects have taken us to more than 160 countries.

About Ramboll
Ramboll is a leading engineering, design and consultancy company founded in Denmark in 1945. The company employs more than 14,000 people globally and has especially strong representation in the Nordics, UK, North America, Continental Europe, Middle East and Asia-Pacific. With 300 offices in 35 countries, Ramboll combines local experience with a global knowledgebase constantly striving to achieve inspiring and exacting solutions that make a genuine difference to our clients, the end-users, and society at large. Ramboll works across the following markets: Buildings, Transport, Planning & Urban Design, Water, Environment & Health, Energy and Management Consulting.

About the Henry Royce Institute
The Henry Royce Institute is the UK national centre for research and innovation of advanced materials.

The Royce represents the UK materials community and invests in national research capability across a range of themes. A total of £250m funding has been allocated to the Royce to date by UK Government, to deliver world-leading facilities that are accessible to academics and businesses of all sizes. A further £80m has been contributed by its founding Partner institutions.

More than just capital investment, the Royce will support collaboration between researchers and companies to drive economic and societal benefits for all. As a national body, the Institute will be an international flagship, drawing the best researchers and major investment into the UK materials field.

The Royce incorporates nine founding partner institutions which will each act as champions in their research areas, supporting and collaborating with the wider academic community. A new Royce ‘hub’ building at the University of Manchester will act as a focal point, engaging government, business and the public.

The Henry Royce Institute - founding partners:

  • Cambridge (Materials for Energy Efficient IT)
  • Imperial College London (Atoms to Devices)
  • Leeds (Atoms to Devices)
  • Liverpool (Chemical Materials Design)
  • Manchester (2D Materials, Biomedical Materials, Nuclear Materials, Materials Systems for Demanding Environments)
  • National Nuclear Laboratory (Nuclear Materials)
  • Oxford (Energy Storage)
  • Sheffield (Advanced Metals Processing)
  • UK Atomic Energy Authority (Nuclear Materials)

In addition to representing the UK materials community, the Royce will provide SMEs and spinouts with access to research labs and expertise that would normally only be accessible to major multi-nationals. This will enable smaller enterprises to underpin innovation and commercialisation in the field, as well as capitalising on the UK’s leading position in materials research.

As the Institute moves into its operational phase, it is proactivity engaging with academic and research institutions and businesses, to shape its strategy and open up its expertise to all stakeholders.

For more information about the Royce, its equipment and facilities and its current areas of research focus, visit