The £26 million Maxwell Centre will focus on “blue skies” research in areas such as efficient energy generation, storage and use, including work on photovoltaics, energy storage, refrigeration, lighting and ICT.

The Maxwell Centre significantly strengthens our drive to deliver new knowledge and applications for industry, underpinning growth and fostering our innovative partnerships between research and business.

Professor Sir Leszek Borysiewicz, Vice-Chancellor of the University of Cambridge

A centrepiece for industrial partnership with the physical sciences and engineering officially opens today. The building will be opened by David Harding, whose generous sponsorship of the Physics of Sustainability programme was central to the funding of the Maxwell Centre project by HEFCE.

In addition, the centre will foster advanced scientific computing, materials science research, nanoscience and biophysics.

Hosted by the Cavendish Laboratory, the Centre provides facilities for the University of Cambridge’s Science and Technology campus as well as collaborators from industry, with offices, laboratory and meeting spaces for more than 230 people.

It will house researchers from the University’s Physics, Chemistry, Chemical Engineering and Biotechnology, Engineering, and Material Sciences and Metallurgy departments. It is also a home to two EPSRC (Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council) Centres for Doctoral Training, the SKF University Technology Centre, the Energy@Cambridge Initiative and connects to several other Cambridge Strategic Research Initiatives and Networks.

The Maxwell Centre is due to become the Cambridge satellite centre for the Sir Henry Royce Institute for Advanced Materials Research, and will also host the partnership between ARM and University of Cambridge. The latter collaboration will research new technologies that ensure data-intensive computing can be delivered within the constrained energy budgets governing many compute applications.

Director of the Centre, Professor Sir Richard Friend, said: “The Centre will translate ‘blue skies’ research into products vital for industry.

“The co-location of academics and industry supports a two-way flow of ideas.  New research opportunities are often revealed by industrial activity, their solutions require transfer of ideas and techniques often from fields well away from the industry.

“It demonstrates our commitment to collaborating with industry, large and small, through intellectual innovation.”

Professor Sir Leszek Borysiewicz, Vice-Chancellor of the University of Cambridge, said: "The Maxwell Centre significantly strengthens our drive to deliver new knowledge and applications for industry, underpinning growth and fostering our innovative partnerships between research and business.

“This builds on established efforts to embed industrial engagement still further into the University, driving forward real excellence in translational research.”

The Centre will take forward research activity currently supported by the Winton Programme for the Physics of Sustainability at the Cavendish Laboratory, where the focus has been on original, risk-taking science since its inception in March 2011.

David Harding, Founder and CEO of Winton Capital, and an alumnus of the Physics Department, gave £20 million to the Cavendish Laboratory in 2011 to establish the Winton Programme, providing the freedom to explore basic science that could generate the much needed breakthroughs for the resource-strained world.

The Centre is named after physicist James Clerk Maxwell, who was appointed the first Professor of Experimental Physics at Cambridge in 1871 and who discovered electromagnetism and founded statistical mechanics.

It is located between the Physics of Medicine building and the William Gates building on the West Cambridge Physical Science and Technology campus.


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