Queen’s University has unveiled the foundation stone for a new £39 million School of Biological Sciences it says will be a “key driver” for the development and future growth of the life sciences and agri-food sectors in the province.
The centre, which is also set to create more than 500 jobs during its construction wil be located at Chlorine Gardens close to the main university campus.
It will offer state-of-the art teaching and research facilities for its 750 students and 170 staff, who will tackle some of the world’s most pressing issues.
Due to open in 2018, the building will provide the facilities to help grow the life sciences sector, in particular in areas such as agriculture and food science, food safety and diseaseand infection biology.
“Today is a momentous occasion for the life sciences and agri-food sectors here in Northern Ireland, and further afield,” said Queen’s President and Vice-Chancellor, Professor Patrick Johnston.
The new School of Biological Sciences will be a power-house for these sectors, both of which have been identified as cornerstones of Northern Ireland’s future prosperity.”
The work carried out, he added, “will not only be of global significance and importance, it will also impact positively on everyone’s lives here in Northern Ireland.”
Announcing his support for the project Economy Minister Simon Hamilton said: “This development is a key part of the University’s long-term vision to create state-of-the-art facilities and will support research and education into the next decade and beyond.
“Promoting the growth of our knowledge economy is a key aim of my Department and it is vital we create an environment for students to gain confidence, develop their skills and reach their full potential.”