Our innovative Lecture Theatres are now award winning

Our three collaborative lecture theatres have recently been announced as Education Project of the Year, in the AV News Awards, which are recognised as the leading awards in the AV sector.

The £2.8m innovative transformation project was submitted into the AV News Awards by Pure AV – who were commissioned by the University to manage the installation of the new audiovisual equipment – as part of the innovative refurbishment of the lecture theatres in summer 2016.

Through working with Pure AV, the University was able to move away from traditional lecture theatre seating to a new style of collaborative booths. Each booth is embedded with digital technology to facilitate improved group working and accommodate a ‘flipped’ learning approach to large group teaching.

The £2.8m investment that was made to three lecture theatres, Dental LT, Mechanical Engineering LT B and Roger Stevens LT 8 has already been recognised as having significantly transformed teaching spaces, and in turn resulted in a significant improvement in user experience. A survey last year showed our students loved the facilities, with overwhelming user satisfaction scores above 80%!

Congratulations go out to all the teams that were involved in this innovative project, Facilities Support Services, Digital Education Service. IT Services, OD&PL amongst others.

Professor Neil Morris, Director of Digital Learning, commented: “It is fantastic to see the work of the colleagues and partners involved in creating the new collaborative lecture theatres being acknowledged through this very well-deserved award.  The rooms have been very well received by staff and students, and this is due to the hard work of the many individuals involved in bringing to life a vision for collaborative, interactive and technology-enabled education spaces that support our blended learning approach.”

Stewart Ross, Director, Commercial and Campus Support Services said: “We are delighted to receive this award – it highlights something important for us – that Leeds is successfully innovating its teaching and learning spaces so they are genuinely meeting the needs of our students and staff.  We have ambitious plans to continue this innovation and ensure our facilities are second to none.

Click here for more information about the project.

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Nexus Showcased to Senior Business Leaders

Senior regional business leaders are visiting the University this week to find out how Nexus, our new gateway to world-leading research expertise and infrastructure, will boost economic growth across the Leeds City Region and beyond.

By enabling easier access to the University’s research expertise in key growth sectors, as well as support to foster collaboration and innovation, Nexus aims to help take new ideas from concept to market and drive business growth.

 

“Nexus will be a vital asset in our ambitions for a thriving innovation district, encouraging the sharing of ideas and knowledge, and promoting inward investment to Leeds.”

– Tom Riordan, Leeds City Council Chief Executive 

 

The tour of the new innovation and enterprise centre, due to open in autumn 2018, will enable senior business leaders to find out about the new facilities, which will offer businesses flexible office and laboratory space, as well as meeting rooms.

It follows £3m of funding from West Yorkshire Combined Authority towards the University’s £40m investment to develop the initiative. The £3m is funded through the Leeds City Region Growth Deal – a £1bn package of government investment to accelerate growth and create jobs across Leeds City Region.

 

“We seek to attract businesses who not only want to base themselves in our outstanding office and laboratory facilities but more importantly, want to take advantage of an environment that will help drive innovation and business growth.”

– Dr Martin Stow, Nexus Director 

 

Increasing innovation – along with business growth and productivity – are also headline initiatives in the Leeds City Region Enterprise Partnership Strategic Economic Plan 2016-2036.

Analysis of Office for National Statistics data by West Yorkshire Combined Authority has shown research and development (R&D) spend in Yorkshire and Humber is just over half the UK level and that the region’s businesses invest substantially less on R&D than counterparts elsewhere*.

Dr Martin Stow, Director of Nexus, said: “We’re here to make it easier for businesses and provide a ‘hardwired’ connection to the expertise at the University of Leeds for companies who want to access ideas, infrastructure and deliver commercial impact.

“The visit is timely as we seek to attract businesses who not only want to base themselves in our outstanding office and laboratory facilities but more importantly, want to take advantage of an environment that will help drive innovation and business growth.”

Leeds-based Creative Space Management has been appointed as commercial letting agent to lease the 40,000 sq. ft. of office and laboratory space, available for occupancy from autumn 2018.

The visitors to Nexus include Roger Marsh OBE, Chair of the Leeds City Region Enterprise Partnership (LEP) and member of West Yorkshire Combined Authority, Martin Farrington, Director of City Development at Leeds City Council, and Andrew Wright, Chair of the LEP’s Business, Innovation and Growth Panel.

Roger Marsh OBE, Chair of the Leeds City Region Enterprise Partnership (LEP), said: “Growing our innovation footprint is key to realising the huge economic potential of Leeds City Region and the facilities at Nexus will make a huge impact when they open later this year.

“Innovation not only brings with it more competitive companies but also increased numbers of jobs and stronger, more sustainable economic growth, all of which are central to the LEP’s Strategic Economic Plan.

“These purpose-built facilities combined with access to world-class academic insight and laboratory space will complement the LEP’s own Access Innovation programme that provides funding and support for businesses who want to develop new products and processes.”

Leeds City Council’s Chief Executive, Tom Riordan, said: “Nexus will be a vital asset in our ambitions for a thriving innovation district, encouraging the sharing of ideas and knowledge, and promoting inward investment to Leeds. It will act as a great catalyst for business creation and economic growth.”

Professor Lisa Roberts, Deputy Vice-Chancellor: Research and Innovation at the University of Leeds, added: “Showcasing our ambitious future plans for Nexus is important, but it’s also about reiterating the University’s outstanding track record of supporting innovation, licensing and spin-out companies.

“This will be an exceptional opportunity, providing both physical and virtual communities, to make a further step change in the way we accelerate great ideas and help businesses build productivity and deliver a real commercial edge.”

The University has created more than 100 spin-out companies, with a market capitalisation in excess of £500m. Seven of these spin-out companies are market listed on AIM, which is more than any other university in the UK.

The University will also be profiling the Nexus development to an influential audience of investors and occupiers at the global property and economic conference, MIPIM 2018, as part of the Leeds City Region delegation.

Find out more about Nexus.

(Header photo L-R; Roy Perry – Senior Project Manager at Galliford Try, Cliff Wheatley – Managing Director at Galliford Try, Steve Gilley – Director of Estates at the University of Leeds, Dennis Hopper, Director of Facilities Management at the University of Leeds).

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Exciting new developments…

A number of exciting new projects have progressed significantly over the past few months, ranging from on-campus developments to collaborations across the Yorkshire region.

The most recent projects feature the development of a modular building for the Faculty of Biological Sciences, investments in Spen Farm, and the development of a major new Leeds-Bradford Centre for Applied Health Research – a joint venture between the Universities of Leeds, Bradford and Bradford Institute for Health Research (pictured).

In addition, the Leeds University Business School (LUBS) expansion is well underway along with the new Leeds Engineering and Technology Campus (LETeC).

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Latest view of Nexus

We’re now a year into the development of Nexus and we’re excited to share a live feed of the development, which can be accessed 24/7 on our site.

The story so far…

Take a look at the time-lapse below to see how Nexus has progressed over the past six months.

View the live feed

Find out more about the Nexus building

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Building a tribute to Sir William Henry Bragg

The University is to name a key building in its £96m investment in engineering and physical sciences in honour of one Leeds’ most influential scientists.

 

Sir William Henry Bragg won the 1915 Nobel Prize in Physics with his son Sir William Lawrence Bragg, for the development of X-ray crystallography.

Their work revolutionised science by allowing researchers to examine the atomic structure of materials in detail for the first time.

Now the Sir William Henry Bragg Building will form a key part of the new developments on campus, which together with the Bragg Research Centre, which recognises both father and son, will bring researchers together to create a critical mass in ground-breaking interdisciplinary research and impact.

The name has been approved by Sir William’s family, with great grandson Charles Bragg highlighting his relative’s commitment to industry, and saying: “The Bragg family are sure Sir William would feel very honoured with this new building being named after him by the University of Leeds, given Leeds was where he did the fundamental work leading to the joint Nobel Prize for Physics in 1915.”

 

 

To read the full story, click here.

Find out more about the Integrated Campus for Engineering and Physical Sciences

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Leeds University Union Living Wall

A living wall can transform any vertical surface into a creative and stunning visual with the use of lush foliage, colourful flowers or swaying grasses. These impressive pieces have become popular in recent years in new and modern urban spaces, buildings and developments.

During the refurbishment of the Leeds University Union (LUU) – a project aiming to provide state of the art facilities and retain LUU’s status as one of the UK’s biggest and best unions – the idea of installing a living wall seemed only appropriate. The wall provides an attractive piece of living artwork in a location that would have otherwise been wasted space.

In line with the University’s Sustainability Strategy, the purpose of the wall promotes our commitment to sustainability and wellbeing. The ANS Living Wall system uses rain water through an irrigation system to water the six plant species in the feature: syngoniums (white butterfly); asplenium nidus; ahilodendron scandens; asparagus “sprengeri”; scindapsus “trebie”; and maranta leuconeura “kerchoveana”.

New café opens in the School of Chemical and Process Engineering

Last month the School of Chemical and Process Engineering saw a new café open, replacing the previous Houldsworth café space. New café FUSE, one of Great Food at Leeds‘ outlets, comes as part of the refurbishment of Houldsworth Building and offers seating for over 100.

The space offers a social hub for Faculty of Engineering for staff and students to relax from studies, meet friends and collaborate on working projects. The design is bright, airy and welcoming reflecting a modern characterful style that reflects the essence of engineering.

With a high concentration of international students, the new café caters for all with an eclectic mix of grab and go food and drinks and a new Asian hot food counter.

Find out more on the Great Food at Leeds website.

Leeds Awarded Gold in Yorkshire in Bloom Awards

As part of our plans to create a world-class campus at the heart of a vibrant city, we’ve been working to improve the grounds and gardens that are an important part of the Leeds experience. A mixture of formal landscapes, tranquil spaces and wildlife friendly planting all help to make our campus a unique place.

In September this work caught the eyes of a charity, Yorkshire in Bloom, the regional body representing the Britain in Bloom campaign organised by the Royal Horticultural Society. Encouraging the development of community spirit and civic pride – whilst promoting responsibility for planting, cleanliness and maintenance – the charity holds an annual competition awarding standards of Gold, Silver Gilt, Silver and Bronze to businesses, communities, parks and organisations across the region. The University was awarded Gold in the ‘Universities, Colleges and Further Education Establishments’ category.

Yorkshire in Bloom said: “It was good to see the three formal seasonal bedding displays which were popular for graduation photographs during our visit. The maintenance of the campus was to a high standard and is a credit to the small team of dedicated Gardeners, a very good entry.”

The landscape and sensory garden proposals for Charles Morris Hall also received a special mention from Yorkshire in Bloom regarding the care that has been taken to develop a landscape solution that will be accessible and inclusive for all students, staff and visitors.

Thank you and well done to the gardening and maintenance teams who work hard, year-round, to contribute to our stunning, award-worthy campus!

Leeds powers into top 10 Good University Guide

The University of Leeds has secured its place in the top 10 universities in the UK, according to The Times and The Sunday Times Good University Guide 2018, published today.

Last year, Leeds was named University of the Year by the Guide, having been runner-up for the award in the previous two years.

The overall rankings for 2018, which are based on a range of metrics, sees Leeds rising to its highest-ever position, at number 10 in the UK.

Exceptional year for student experience

The University’s move into the top 10 is the latest recognition of its exceptional student education and all round student experience, combined with a strong research base.

Students voted Leeds in the top five universities in the UK in the 2017 Times Higher Education Student Experience Survey, where students from all over the world commended Leeds for its facilities, activities and societies, and student welfare and support.

Investing in quality

As part of its ambitious plans to maintain its position as one of the best universities in the UK, Leeds is investing £520 million in its campus, including major refurbishment of libraries, lecture theatres and the creation of new sports facilities.

Recent examples include the £17m upgrade of the Student Union to transform the social spaces, improve performance venues and extend facilities for societies. A new cycling track and sports centre, named after the Brownlee brothers who were former students at Leeds, officially opened earlier this year, to complement the state-of-the-art campus sports centre, The Edge.

Alistair and Jonny Brownlee opening the Brownlee Centre

Alistair and Jonny Brownlee open the new cycle circuit and Brownlee Centre at Bodington Playing Fields

A new undergraduate library, the Laidlaw Library, and a complete refurbishment of the Edward Boyle Library, have also created inspirational study environments, with group and silent study spaces, new cafes and IT-rich facilities. Leeds also excels at digital learning, as highlighted in its Gold standard teaching award, which praised Leeds for supporting students with “outstanding physical and digital resources.”

Reflecting the University’s ongoing commitment to life-changing research, the investment programme continues with the transformation of the Engineering and Physical Sciences environment, creating first-class laboratories and specialised teaching spaces for students.

The new enterprise and innovation centre, Nexus, will also provide crucial connections with industry, bringing students and business together to support access to wider opportunities through placements, internships and networking.

Read the full story at leeds.ac.uk

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Green light for new £96m development

The University’s ambitious plans for advancing engineering and physical sciences has taken a major step forward today with a green light from Leeds City Council.

The £96m investment aims to provide an exceptional environment for students and support researchers from across engineering and physical sciences to work together to help solve fundamental problems and tackle key industry challenges.

Supporting the priorities of the Government’s Industrial Strategy and strengthening the University’s international reputation in interdisciplinary research, the investment is a key part of the University’s £520m campus development programme, aimed at securing Leeds’ position in the UK’s top 10 research universities.

To be completed by the summer 2020, the £96m development will relocate the School of Computing and School of Physics and Astronomy, bringing them together with colleagues in Chemistry and Engineering for the first time.

The investment will create state-of-the-art facilities that will rival the best in the UK and will include the new Bragg Research Centre for Advanced Functional Materials.

 

The Bragg Centre

The Bragg Centre for Advanced Functional Materials will be the new home for the University’s internationally-recognised activity in materials characterisation and analysis of soft matter and nanostructured thin films.

It is named after Sir William Henry Bragg, the early 20th century mathematician and physicist who developed X-Ray crystallography at Leeds, who was awarded the Nobel Prize for Physics in 1915 for his work together with his son Sir William Lawrence Bragg.

The Bragg Centre will also be the location for to the University’s research in functional materials and devices, which is part of the UK-wide Henry Royce Institute. This institute brings together world-leading academics from across the UK to study and develop advanced materials, with Leeds’ specialism in Atoms-to-Devices and the translation of new material systems from the atomic scale to operational device.

Professor Lisa Roberts, Deputy Vice-Chancellor: Research and Innovation, said: “The Bragg Centre’s interdisciplinary culture and state-of-the-art facilities will support and attract the best minds at all levels, placing our exceptional standard of research on a global scale.

“The Bragg Centre will be a fabulous environment for cross-disciplinary teams to work on big technical challenges, drawing on our existing strengths, while working together in new and disruptive ways to improve both the quality and the scale of our research; working in such an innovative environments will also transform how we can work with our industry partners on real world problems.”

 

Superlabs

The ‘superlabs’ concept behind the development will bring together existing strengths in applied and fundamental research to support interdisciplinary problem-solving research groups. They will tackle challenges facing the private sector and industry, from conception and theory to imaging, fabrication, application and translation.

Professor Steve Scott, Dean of the Faculty of Maths and Physical Sciences, said: “We are creating an exceptional environment to carry out cutting-edge research; the interplay between people, working culture, equipment and buildings will be central to creating the highest quality findings and original ideas.

“The quality of our research, brought about through leading facilities and the exceptional breadth of our academic staff will drive external partnerships and attract international support, leading to greater depth in funding bids and a rise in standards of research.”

 

Research capability

The £96m complex is fully funded by the University of Leeds and will bring together existing scientific hardware from the schools involved. In addition, a significant strategic funding bid is being prepared for Research Councils to bring in the very latest equipment in a range of fields.

Areas of research it will support include energy efficient computing, telecommunications, sustainable magnetic materials, sensors for use in biological systems and extreme or remote environments, pharmaceutical formulations, ‘smart foods’ and medical technologies.

 

Benefits for students

The University’s undergraduate and thriving postgraduate and postdoctoral communities will also benefit, with the investment prioritising world-class teaching and laboratory spaces for research-based learning. The news comes as the University prepares to launch the Leeds Doctoral College, to further support postgraduate researchers.

Once completed, the development will host around 2,000 staff and students, who will study across the spectrum of physics, chemistry, materials science, engineering, and computer sciences.

Positioned on a prominent public-facing location of the campus in Woodhouse Lane, the proposed 15,700m2 building is the largest, single-project investment ever to have been made on the University campus.

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