Construction has begun on the Higgs Centre for Innovation (27 January 2016). The final designs for the building were also unveiled at a celebratory event at the Royal Observatory, Edinburgh, where the new centre will be housed.
The Higgs Centre for Innovation is named in honour of Professor Peter Higgs of the University of Edinburgh, who received the Nobel Prize for his prediction of the existence of the Higgs Boson which was discovered at CERN in 2012. The Centre will support start-up businesses with the aim of creating new market opportunities, especially in big data and space technologies. The Centre is funded through a £10.7 million investment from the UK Government. The Science and Technology Facilities Council will invest £2million over five years to operate the centre.
Linking cutting edge scientific and engineering expertise at STFC’s UK Astronomy Technology Centre with industry, the centre will focus on supporting business both through incubation activities and access to facilities for SMEs. Connecting engineers, academics and PhD students directly with small businesses will help boost their entrepreneurial experience at the start of their research careers.
The stand-alone building at the Royal Observatory, Edinburgh will be run by the Science and Technology Facilities Council in partnership with the University of Edinburgh. The centre is due to be completed in 2017.
Gillian Wright, Director of the UK Astronomy Technology Centre, said:
“A huge amount of work has been put in by all partners over the past year to develop plans for the Higgs Centre for Innovation and now we begin the exciting phase of seeing it built before our eyes. We look forward to the completion of this important project and the benefits it will bring to both future generations of scientists and industry.”
GRAHAM Construction won the contract to carry out the work to build the centre. Craig Giblett, Contracts Director from the company, said:
“This is a very exciting project for the GRAHAM Construction team to be part of and we are extremely proud to have won the contract to deliver a facility of such importance. That it will bear the name of a visionary figure such as Professor Peter Higgs gives an understanding of the significance of the centre itself and the work that will be undertaken there once our job is completed.”
Jamie Marshall, Project Manager at CPC said:
“CPC has been working in partnership with STFC since 2014, and is delighted to have brought this exciting and innovative scheme through design and planning, to enable construction to begin on site today. Our team is committed to overseeing the project through to completion, and the result will create new jobs and market opportunities for the science and technology industry”.
Final designs for the building were also unveiled today by jmarchitects, the company with responsibility for the implementation of the building. Director, Ron McFarlane, said:
“We are delighted to have been given the opportunity to be involved with this prestigious project, more so given its historic location and it being built in the name of the eminent Edinburgh scientist Professor Higgs.”
Professor James S. Dunlop, Head of the Institute for Astronomy at the University of Edinburgh, said:
“The construction of the Higgs Centre for Innovation is an exciting new development in the long established collaboration between STFC and the University of Edinburgh at the Royal Observatory, Edinburgh. The new centre will cement Edinburgh’s reputation as a world leader in the fields of astrophysics and big data, and provide new opportunities for knowledge exchange between astronomers, particle physicists, engineers and industry.”