Cutting-edge research centre opens

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AUTHOR and biologist Richard Dawkins has officially opened a new state-of-the-art £4.3m life sciences institute at Sheffield University.

Creating the Chemical Engineering at the Life Science Interface (ChELSI) institute involved renovating and extending the Sir Robert Hadfield Building to create new labs with cutting-edge equipment, where engineers and biologists can work together.

The institute features an “ideas space” for students and will also be used for events such as workshops and presentations.

A university spokesman said yesterday that it is hoped the centre will help train a “new generation of researchers in chemical and bioprocess techniques”.

Officially opening the facility, Prof Dawkins said: “I’m incredibly honoured to be invited to open this beautiful and very productive building.”

A £4.3m grant for the new institute was awarded to Sheffield University in June 2006 by the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council.

Building work on the ChELSI institute began in September 2009 and the plaque marking its official opening was unveiled on Wednesday.