University of Salford’s £16m robotics building delivered by construction group

Handover ceremony

The University of Salford’s £16m new robotics building, has been delivered by Morgan Sindall Construction, on behalf of the Crescent partnership.

The new build, NERIC, will serve as a hub for small to medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) looking to design, test and validate innovation in this rapidly growing area.

Acting as a focal point of the university’s commitment to industry collaboration, innovation, and skills, the hub will be a beacon for robotics and automation specialisms.

Offering a one-stop-shop for developing and applying robotics and automation alongside other innovative digital technologies into their business, NERIC is a purpose-built facility with specialist equipment and innovation support services, bolstering new and improved applications and products to be taken forward.

Focus areas for the facility include robotics for intelligent infrastructure, digital automation, and supply chain improvement, working across a range of sectors, including robotics and automation, the requirements of net zero, healthcare technologies, vehicle automation and the development of smart cities.

Part-funded by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF), the NERIC facility will enable the university’s robotics and automation specialists to expand their work with SMEs around the country.

Disciplines covered by the 22,580 sq ft NERIC building will include the dynamic and growing sectors of robotics for intelligent infrastructure, digital automation and supply chain improvement, as well as health, wellbeing and integrated care technologies.

The building is part of a £2.5bn Crescent masterplan, a 240-acre major regeneration scheme being delivered by the University of Salford, Salford City Council and development partner, The English Cities Fund, a strategic joint venture between national urban developer, Muse, Legal & General and Homes England, aimed at driving economic and social prosperity for the whole of the city over the life of the 20-year programme, through the delivery of spaces where people can live, work, relax and innovate.

Morgan Sindall also recently completed work on the Science, Engineering and Environment Building (SEE Building) on campus.

Throughout both build programmes, the company deployed its intelligent solutions approach to bring together digital and platform design capabilities with modern construction methods and innovative carbon reduction tools to create inspiring new facilities for the university.

Shaun Jones, area director for Morgan Sindall in Greater Manchester said: “It’s a pleasure to see the completion of this facility which will support vital learning and research in an established and continually expanding area of expertise by providing a hub which adds value to both the university and Greater Manchester’s technical infrastructure.

“The completion of NERIC caps a fantastic period of collaboration between ourselves and the university that has also seen the delivery of the SEE Building. We’re now really excited to see what the brilliant minds who will occupy these facilities can achieve.”

Prof Joe Sweeney, Dean of the School of Science, Engineering and Environment at the University of Salford, said: “We’re delighted and excited that NERIC will soon be active, providing an industry-facing platform for the University of Salford’s world-leading research in robotics, artificial intelligence, and machine learning.

“As we move towards Industry 5.0, the use of robots in our lives, as well as industry, will be increasingly frequent, and NERIC will bring together our health-focused expertise in this area, allied with our science and engineering research to help meet the needs of future living.”

Mark O’Mullane, development director at The English Cities Fund, said: “NERIC is a world-leading facility that will provide a range of opportunities for people in the city and beyond to learn, to innovate and play a part in what a future with robotics could look like in the UK.

“Crescent is all about connecting people to the opportunities regeneration creates and NERIC is a prime example of this.”

Delivering a new gateway building to the Innovation District, NERIC will provide the university with a new and significant presence facing on to Frederick Road. In line with the university’s commitment to reducing carbon emissions, The NERIC is an all-electric building which incorporates solar PV panels on the roof and an adiabatic air handling unit.

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