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Maxwell Centre breaks ground

Construction work has started on a centrepiece building for exploratory ‘blue skies’ research and industrial partnership in the physical sciences at the University of Cambridge.

The £26m Maxwell Centre on the West Cambridge site will expand the university’s world class Cavendish Laboratory and advance the scale of industrial engagement for the benefit of the British economy and society.

The BDP designed building will see research scientists from industry occupying laboratory and desk space alongside the Cambridge research groups, to promote a two-way flow of ideas and expose the best early career researchers to scientific problem-solving that relates directly to industrial need.

The 5,000 sqm building will house around 230 people, with research laboratories complemented by seminar rooms, interactive spaces and dedicated hubs for industrial partners. An innovative layered laboratory design, ensuring services to individual laboratories can be changed without affecting the others. The lab zone extends the concept of the Lab-Hotel BDP developed for the adjacent Physics of Medicine building in 2008.

The building is named after physicist James Clerk Maxwell, who was the first Professor of Experimental Physics at Cambridge in 1871 and who discovered electromagnetism and founded statistical mechanics. The building is due to open its doors in the summer of 2015.

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