Technology and Research Facility

  • Work begins: July 2019
  • Work due to be completed: Mid 2020
  • Cost: £10m
  • Contractors: TBC

Brief: The project will develop a facility for creating an innovative, collaborative space for our world-leading interdisciplinary researchers in infrastructure materials, high speed railways and systems integration, structural dynamics and robotics. The technology & research facility will complement Nexus – our new centre for innovation and enterprise – to become the primary vehicle and catalyst for connecting our internationally regarded research and expertise with business and industry.

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The vision of the Technology and Research Facility is to create an innovative, collaborative space for our world-leading interdisciplinary researchers in infrastructure materials, high-speed rail and robotics.

Together with our partners in industry, government and society, we will co-create the evidence base for the design, development, manufacture and maintenance of safe, sustainable and cost-effective infrastructure systems. The Technology and Research Facility will complement Nexus – our new centre for innovation and enterprise – to become the primary vehicle and catalyst for achieving one of the key aims of the University’s Strategic Plan 2015-20; that of making a step change in how we connect our internationally regarded research and expertise with business and industry. It will be the national crucible for ensuring that the UK’s future infrastructure is resilient, responsive, adaptable, economical and sustainable.

It will be home to the Centre for Infrastructure Materials (CIM), the only centre of its kind in the UK – and one of very few in the world – with a field exposure site equipped with both full meteorological monitoring and environmental control to determine the long-term impact of our changing climate/environment on a wide range of materials.

The facility will house the new Institute for High-Speed Rail and System Integration (IHSRSI), which builds on our global reputation in railway engineering to create a research and innovation hub focused on a systems approach for both conventional and high-speed rail engineering. As with CIM, the Institute for High-Speed Rail Engineering combines world-class research with world-leading experimental facilities: a combination that is already attracting great interest from within the high-speed rail sector and its supply chain.

Already home to the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) National Facility for Innovative Robotics Systems, Leeds is the leader in the physical creation of robotic systems. This new facility will extend that lead by providing a purpose-built environment to stress test robotic systems; operating across the full range of infrastructure construction, inspection, maintenance, repair and demolition tasks, working in the air, on the ground, in water and underground.

A place where researchers can work with Leeds City Council, the UK Collaboration for Research in Infrastructure and Cities (UKCRIC) and other partners to ensure that robots are thoroughly tested in the field before being trialled in a safe and responsible manner in the city and beyond.

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Artist impression of the Technology and Research Facility project
Passenger train on railroad tracks at the sunrise - blurred motion
LETEC - CIM Entrance

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