Major Research Facility opens at UCC
A major infrastructural investment in Science and Technology was unveiled today (Monday, February 22nd 2010) with the opening of the newly-refurbished Science laboratories at UCC by the Minister for Education and Science, Mr Batt O’Keeffe.
The newly-refurbished laboratories represents an investment of €5m by the Higher Education Authority (HEA) Research Facilities Enhancement Scheme (RFES). The laboratories are located in the Kane (Science) Building which was built during 1968-’71. The investment marks a significant upgrade of 1400m2 of laboratory space and research support infrastructure, as a key element of an overall phased refurbishment of the Kane.
Research in the newly refurbishedlaboratoriesinclude a range of areas across Physics and Chemistry such as integrated photonics, laser spectroscopy, organic and inorganic synthesis, biocatalysis, crystal engineering, drug discovery, nanomaterials, analytical chemistry, separation science. In parallel the chemistry store, liquid nitrogen plant and physics workshop have had an extensive upgrade as part of the research support infrastructure supporting research in the Kane Building.
While the past decade has seen unprecedented investment in new research facilities in UCC and nationally, upgrading of older facilities is very welcome to provide state-of-the-art environments for researchers based in existing buildings. This work has provided modern research facilities for postgraduate students and researchers in Chemistry and Physics and indeed reflects a significant enhancement in relation to Health and Safety in the Kane Building.
Minister O’Keeffe confirmed the Government’s commitment to the research agenda despite the economic challenges as emphasised by reports such as ‘Building Ireland’s Smart Economy: A Framework for Sustainable Economic Renewal’ published in December 2008. The Minister said the RFES scheme complements the extensive investment that has already been made by the Government over the past decade through successive rounds of the highly successful Programme for Research in Third Level Institutions (PRTLI).
UCC President, Dr Michael Murphy welcomed the support from the HEA RFES which enabled this refurbishment and highlighted that “throughout the past 40 years PhD graduates from the Kane have played a key role in underpinning the development of the pharmaceutical and ICT sectors both critical to the Irish economy.”
Pictured at the Opening of the newly-refurbished Science Laboratories were: Mr Batt O’Keeffe, Minister for Education and Science in discussion with PhD student in Organic Chemistry, Sarah Keane. Second Picture L-R: Mr Mark Poland, Director, Buildings & Estates, UCC; Professor Patrick Fitzpatrick, Head, College of Science, Engineering & Food Science, UCC; Dr Michael Murphy, President, UCC; Professor Anita Maguire, Professor of Pharmaceutical Chemistry, UCC; Mr Batt O'Keeffe, Minister for Education and Science, UCC.