SERSF Building, Penryn Campus

An artist’s impression of the Science and Engineering Research Support Facility with the Environment and Sustainability Institute visible in the background.

New £5.5 million University of Exeter development at the Penryn Campus

A new £5.5 million facility at the Penryn Campus will provide another home for the University of Exeter Business School which is expanding into Cornwall in 2015. This new facility will also provide space for the University’s existing Marine Renewables team, and growing Centre for Ecology and Conservation (CEC).

Currently named the Science and Engineering Research Support Facility (SERSF), the building will provide a base for the Business School. The building will also feature a specially designed area for business engagement called ‘The Collaboratory’ from which dedicated staff, along with the University’s Knowledge Exchange team, will lead a number of long-term research projects with selected local business partners.

Laboratories for offshore renewables and biosciences will enable an expansion of the research led by the Marine Renewables team and CEC. Additional offices will provide flexible space for those engaged in both research and teaching across the disciplines housed within the building.

The two-storey, 1200m2 SERSF building will be located next to the Daphne du Maurier building, near to the University of Exeter’s Environment and Sustainability Institute (ESI) and the Tremough Innovation Centre (TIC), which is located adjacent to the Penryn Campus..

As with previous investments at the campus, the aim is to grow the economy of Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly, creating jobs and wealth by building on existing education and research assets, and supporting the development of high-value businesses, people, knowledge, investment and research. 

The University of Exeter’s Vice Chancellor, Professor Sir Steve Smith, commented: “The Science and Engineering Research Support Facility has a key role in enabling the expansion of the University of Exeter Business School to Cornwall, and providing additional space for our world-class research into marine renewables and ecology and conservation. This development is particularly important when viewed alongside the continued reduction in public spending.”

Professor Mark Goodwin, Deputy Vice-Chancellor (External Affairs) with responsibility for Cornwall at the University of Exeter said: “Following the opening of our Environment and Sustainability Institute last year, this latest investment marks an important next step in our provision of academic skills and research excellence in the county. The Science and Engineering Research Support Facility will enable us to extend our work with local businesses, sharing the benefits of our expertise in business, marine renewables, and ecology and conservation with communities and businesses across Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly.”  

Councillor Julian German, Portfolio Holder for Economy and Culture, Cornwall Council said: “The funding announcement of the Science and Engineering Research Support Facility will build on the excellent research and higher education package already being offered at the Penryn Campus. SERSF will increase our region’s progress into education and research in the business, marine renewables, and ecology and conservation sectors. SERSF will join other high quality ERDF investments at the campus which work together to strengthen business, forging world class connections to ultimately reach our future economic goals.”

The SERSF has been enabled by investment from the European Regional Development Fund Convergence Programme (£3.9M) and £1.6M from the University of Exeter.

Work on the SERSF building is due to start this month and it will be ready for occupation in summer 2015. The building has been designed to a BREEAM ‘Excellent’ rating - a measure of environmental sustainability.

The University of Exeter now has about 1,800 students based at the Penryn Campus, which it jointly owns and manages with Falmouth University in an arrangement considered unique within the UK.

Date: 18 March 2014

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