The Rosalind Franklin Institute Hub, based on the Harwell Campus in Oxfordshire, passed a major milestone on 20 November, 2019, as it celebrated the ‘topping out’ of the building. The 5500 square meter building will be a national centre for life science technology development and is expected to open in early 2021.
The Franklin was established to drive future advances in life sciences through developing cutting edge technology. The Institute’s research is already underway at member universities and will eventually move into the completed building, as part of Harwell’s science campus, next door to the Rutherford Appleton Laboratory. The initial research themes of the Franklin focus on the ability to see cells better than ever before; understanding their atomic and molecular composition, their detailed chemistry, and the way change occurs in their structure and behaviour over time. casinorulet.com
The £40 million Hub building will house 200 scientists from around the UK and further afield, working together to develop these new tools and technologies. The building will contain highly specialised spaces, including the most electromagnetically stable space on earth, essential for developing new electron microscopes. The design team have also focused on maximising useful research space. Early analysis of the design shows that the Franklin Hub will be the most efficient research space in the UK, while maintaining space for vital social and networking activities, and providing high quality working spaces.
Members of Rosalind Franklin’s family, and a group of young scientists from the Downs School, Compton, helped mark the occasion – topping out is a construction tradition celebrating reaching the highest point of a building. The Franklin family laid the final piece of concrete at the top of the four-storey building.
Marking the occasion, Institute Director Jim Naismith said ‘The Franklin is there to develop tools which can’t be found anywhere else, and which make a significant difference to the work of researchers. We talk about the factor of ten – every technology we develop should make a factor of ten difference to the speed, resolution, or productivity of a technique. This is important, as developing new drugs has never been slower or more expensive than it is now. To make an impact on human health, we need new ways to see and understand disease.’