Building on UTS's strong reputation for research
Work is well underway on a new specialist seven-storey research facility at the southern end of Building 4, set to accommodate multiple Science research programs from late 2020.
Responding to the need for increased dedicated research spaces on campus – as well as our strategic focus on research excellence, impact, global partnerships and innovative collaboration – the new facility will accommodate seven levels of cutting-edge labs and facilities.
Symbolic ‘lightning bolt’ details in yellow pressed metal in on the façade symbolise new discoveries and their real-world benefits – the kind of impactful research that UTS expects to be conducted inside the building when it opens.
The new facility will connect seamlessly into Building 4 on all seven above-ground levels, while a new pedestrian corridor will be created from Harris St to Alumni Green, making for easy access into the UTS Tower (Building 1).
Collaborative for-purpose design
The new building responds to growth in the UTS Science faculty and the number of dedicated research staff needing access to world-class facilities to support their high-impact research. It will provide an integrated space where collaborative research can take place across disciplines, and will consolidate existing research strengths.
According to Dianne Jolley, Dean of the Faculty of Science, the facility has been purpose-designed, with researchers playing a major role in developing floorplans that respond to the needs of their research programs.
“We spent a lot of time consulting with researchers as well as the architect to cater for the way research is done,” she explains. “At the moment, researchers might have to travel up and down several floors with sensitive, toxic or hazardous samples. It was something we wanted to eliminate in the new facility.
“Through our consultations, we could explain to the architect that, in preparing samples, staff need to be close to the next stage in the process. Or we could find out from the architect what was possible in the footprint to allow for the exchange of gases to occur – to share all sorts of details they needed to understand to provide the best research space.”
As well as providing a purpose-designed environment for staff to develop their research, the facility will also feature world-class safety features, such as additional fume hoods that are vital in high-level chemistry experiments, while accommodating newer research areas that require specific workflows.
Enabling world-leading research
The new facility will accommodate specialist labs that facilitate targeted research across a range of emerging and established fields. These include:
- Advanced Analytics
The Advanced Analytical Laboratory will accommodate specialist mass spectrometry equipment, used to analyse chemical samples from a range of research activities. The lab will act as an integrated proof-of-concepts industry hub where UTS partners, researchers and HDRs can work collaboratively to tackle important and significant analytical challenges. It will also be a training ground for specialist mass spectrometry scientists for the pharmaceutical, biological, clinical, food and environmental industries.
Building on an existing Faculty research strength, the Synthesis Laboratory will host large fume hoods and associated equipment that enable chemical synthesis, an active and growing research area. The lab will enhance existing research with industry partners in materials and energy research, while also bringing potential to expand research in health-related synthesis.
Phenomics is an emerging area of biology that measures how an organism responds to cellular and environmental influences. This Australian-first algae-centric phenomics facility will meet the needs of the emerging algae-based biotechnology sector. Microalgae are renewable sources of biofuels, animal feeds, bio-based chemicals and pharmaceuticals. This specialist training and research space will meet the needs of industry and fast-track the discovery and commercialisation of algae-based bio-products, as well as overcome current production hurdles.
- Translational medicine
The Translational Medical Science lab will facilitate bench-to-bedside development of cellular therapies by rapidly translating novel genomic/proteomic and imaging research discoveries from the laboratory to pre-clinical trials. The lab will have the capacity to accommodate research in gene therapy, stem cell technology, neurological research and other specialist areas.
World-class reputation, facilities and researchers
The new facilities will also play a part in securing the best researchers, enhancing even further our reputation for life-changing research, according to Professor Jolley.
“Over the past few years UTS’s international reputation has risen in leaps and bounds,” she says. “One of the key drivers is our research reputation, which leads to our ability to attract world-class researchers. However, world-class researchers will only come to world-class labs.
“In building this facility, we wanted to make sure that we had a facility that reflects where we want to go in the future, that supports our big ambitions and that attracts the best researchers in the world and keeps them here.”