|Department of Engineering|
|University of Cambridge > Engineering Department > News & Features|
12 March 2008
Dr Alan Reece
Work has begun on a new, £15 million home for the Department's Institute for Manufacturing (IfM).
The building, designed by world-famous architects Arup Associates, will create an international centre for industrial innovation, reflecting the IfM's integrated approach to global industrial issues.
A generous donation from leading British industrialist Dr Alan Reece provided the funds needed to complete the project and the building will be named in his honour. Dr Reece officially launched the construction phase at a start-on-site ceremony on Tuesday 26 February.
Professor Mike Gregory, Head of the IfM, said: "We are extremely grateful to Dr Reece for his great generosity which has enabled us to build a state of the art home for our work."
The new building will accommodate students, staff and industrial partners at the heart of the University's growing science and technology campus at West Cambridge. It will provide a forum in which global industrial issues can be pursued in a multi-disciplinary and practical way involving industrialists and policy makers as well as academics.
The design of the building reflects the IfM's established cross-disciplinary approach, with large communal areas, shared study rooms, open plan work areas for students and researchers and world class meeting and communication facilities. The IfM was established in 1998 with the aim of linking education, research and practice and engineering, management and economics with a strong industrial orientation.
New facilities for the IfM's technical research groups will include workshops for the design of new commercial products and laboratories for research into new applications of laser, radio-identification, and inkjet technologies.
The move has been made possible through a generous donation from leading British industrialist Dr Alan Reece. Dr Reece has contributed £5 million towards funding the building, which will be named the Alan Reece Building in his honour.
Dr Reece left his readership in Agricultural Engineering at the at the University of Newcastle upon Tyne in the 1980s to focus on invention.
His innovative designs include a highly efficient undersea plough, which greatly reduced the cost of installing the cables and pipelines vital for the telecoms and oil industries, amongst others, beyond the reach of trawler dragnets.
Since then, his companies have brought over £400 million of business to Tyneside, employing several hundred people.
He has made substantial charitable donations to numerous educational and community projects in the Tyneside region. His company Pearson Engineering Ltd has also supported humanitarian organisations who work to remove land mines in former war zones.
More recently, they were awarded the world's first contract for a mining machine designed to operate in extremely deep water.
Dr Reece is still passionately concerned with engineering and manufacturing. In 2006 he published a paper arguing that the decline in manufacturing in the UK has led to a decline in the demand for highly-paid technologists, which is in turn partially responsible for current problems in the teaching of maths and the sciences.
Funding for the £15 million building has also come from the Gatsby Charitable Foundation and the Government's Scientific Research Infrastructure Fund.
The Alan Reece Building's location on the West Cambridge site will help foster links with other researchers in the University. These include the Computer Laboratory, the Nanoscience Centre and the Centre for the Physics of Medicine.
Several research groups from the Department of Engineering, of which the IfM is a part, are also based nearby, including the Whittle Laboratory for research in turbomachinery the Schofield Geotechnical Centre and the Electrical Engineering Division.
More information about the building, plans, maps and photographs please visit: http://www.ifm.eng.cam.ac.uk/westsite/
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