The next generation of scientists and pharmacists have begun work at the University of Lincoln’s £14 million Science and Innovation Park laboratories.
The 11-acre park, which is the result of a partnership between the University of Lincoln and Lincolnshire Co-op, includes the Joseph Banks Laboratories at its heart.
The laboratories, which welcomed the first 1,000-strong cohort of students in September 2014, were named in honour of the Lincolnshire-born botanist Sir Joseph Banks. It will expand to accommodate around 1,500 students.
Three academic schools take residence in the building alongside the neighbouring Minster House: the School of Pharmacy, the School of Life Sciences and the School of Chemistry.
Students are supported by around 60 members of academic staff across four storeys, covering 6,000 square metres of hi-spec laboratories, tutorial rooms and open social spaces.
Specialist laboratories and research facilities will include work in molecular biology, microbiology, tissue biology, DNA analysis, pharmacology and medicinal pharmacy, while Minster House will accommodate research in animal cognition, behaviour and welfare.
The building also features the Maltby Suite (named after the Maltby family who made a substantial contribution to the project). The suite offers a specialist learning environment for pharmacy students to develop their professional and consultancy skills.
Professor Andrew Hunter, Pro Vice Chancellor and Head of the College of Science, said: “I think Lincoln has lacked a scientific power house. We’ll now have around 200 scientists working within this building and contributing to the industry.
“The researchers we have are internationally known experts in their own field, but of course the biggest effect is regional because we can work with local companies.
“The University of Lincoln is now one of the only UK institutions to offer undergraduate courses across all the core sciences.”
Antonia, who came from London to study at the University of Lincoln’s new School of Life Sciences, said: “They teach us the science part and then the practical part at the same time, that feeds into the whole integration part that pharmacy actually is.”
PHD student Charlotte Bolt achieved her undergraduate degree at Hull University. She added: “My supervisor at Hull introduced me to a specific project which really drew me to Lincoln to study my PHD. I’m really enjoying it and I do see myself carrying on with academia in Lincoln with it being such an up-and-coming city.
The creation of the School of Pharmacy and the School of Chemistry has been supported by the Higher Education Funding Council for England (HEFCE) and a range of regional and national employers.
The next stage of the development at the Lincoln Science and Innovation Park will be the creation of the Boole Technology Centre, which has secured £3.38 million of funding through the Government Growth Deal via the Greater Lincolnshire Local Enterprise Partnership.
Next year, the University of Lincoln opens its new School of Mathematics & Physics.
The Lincolnshire Co-op, which operates 48 community pharmacies across the county, has been a crucial player in the creation of the science park. Students will also have access to placements throughout their Lincoln study.
Chief Executive of the Lincolnshire Co-op, Ursula Lidbetter, said: “We purchased this 11 acres some time ago with the hope to create a business park, helping to create jobs and value for the Lincolnshire economy.
“Businesses can now benefit from the university’s facilities and brain power and we have lots planned for the future of the development.
“It is exciting that students are now using this great new facility to learn and begin the next stages in their careers. This is a great example of how local business working together with the university offers mutual benefit.”
Head of Pharmacy at Lincolnshire Co-op, Alastair Farquhar, added: “This partnership is going to be a fantastic resource and we share the same values. Not only is the education science based but its also focused on the health of the patient.
“We’ve consistently had problems with the recruitment of pharmacists for a number of years and we’ve had to relay on graduates coming from quite far afield to fill the gaps.”