THE CONSTRUCTION of a new nano-technology laboratory in the Engineering Building is expected to cost €2 million. The construction of the laboratory, which has been funded by the Higher Education Authority (HEA), is expected to be completed in upcoming weeks.
The work also involved the reorganisation of the existing laboratories and workshop facilities and the investment in support equipment for the laboratories.
Head of Buildings and Services, Aidan Grannell, said that the construction had been “substantially completed by Christmas” and that they are currently in the final stages of development. “There are some aspects of it that are not fully online…[and] there’s a few pieces of equipment to sort out but there are parts already in use.”
While the main construction was completed during the Christmas period, Mr Grannell commented that the reason why construction took place during term time instead of during winter break was due to conditions attached to the HEA funding.
“The difficulty for us was that the HEA put certain conditions on it,” said Mr Grannell. “Their conditions were that we’d spend the money as fast as possible and ideally have it finished before Christmas… we really would have preferred to have done it in the summer [to minimise disruption].”
As a result, Mr Grannell said that the construction in the building itself “presents significant challenges,” such as student safety, recruiting builders and designers.
Overall, he believes that the development of these facilities is essential for the university saying that it “addressed some of the shortfalls that our colleagues in the Engineering Building have and this brought nano-technology into the campus in a very formal way.”
Head of Engineering, Dr David Fitzpatrick, commented on the developments saying that the new facilities would be of great benefit to students and staff alike.
The developments are part of a larger construction of research facilities scheme occurring throughout the campus. The facilities are being funded by the HEA Research Facilities Enhancement Scheme (RFES) to develop research facilities in both the engineering and science buildings.
The university was awarded €10 million for the development of four different research facilities in the Science Building along with the development in the Engineering Building.