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New teaching laboratories for chemistry

Chemistry’s new state-of-the-art teaching labs will provide new space for undergraduates in a fully-accessible building.

Keys for the Department of Chemistry’s new Teaching Laboratories have been handed over as they prepare to open the new labs for students in Michaelmas Term. Designed by architects Francis-Jones Morehen Thorp and built by ISG, the two main labs are spread over two floors, each with space for up to 100 students. There is also a large seminar room equipped with the latest audio-visual equipment, write-up areas and a bright and welcoming reception area.

Each floor has its own dedicated prep room and across the corridor from the second and third year lab is a large furnace room and analytical suite which will house over £2M worth of equipment for undergraduate use.  As well as a brand new multinuclear NMR spectrometer, the labs will be equipped with three gas chromatographs, an HPLC set up for analysing chiral compounds, a TLC-mass spec, ICP/MS, Flame AA and of course the usual array of FT-IR and UV-Vis spectrometers. Chemistry undergraduates will be some of the first in the UK to use the new generation of bench-top NMR spectrometers.

New chemistry undergraduates arriving in Michaelmas Term will begin a fully-integrated practical course designed to equip students with all the skills they need for 21st century chemistry. Led by the Chemistry Practical Course Committee, chaired by Professor Claire Vallance, a team of developers has been working on novel experiments for the unique integrated course. With the new building comes a new team, headed by Dr Malcolm Stewart, Director of Teaching Laboratories. Four newly-created posts of Departmental Lecturers in Practical Teaching and the appointment of a new Schools Liaison and Outreach Officer will help make best use of the improved facilities – introducing the delights of chemistry to a wider audience and encouraging the brightest and best school students from all backgrounds to study chemistry.

Professor Mark Brouard, Head of Department, says: ‘The Chemistry Teaching Labs will enable us to provide the very best educational experience for Chemistry undergraduates, facilitating cutting-edge new interdisciplinary experiments that mirror the collaborative nature of our research programmes. I am grateful to all those whose dedication and commitment has made this possible, and delighted that students will be able to benefit from this state-of-the-art facility for years to come.’

See a selection of building handover photographs from July 2018.