Plans for new world-class social science facility approved

  • New world-class social sciences building approved
  • Facility will improve learning for students through collaborative teaching and social spaces

Social Science building new

The University of Sheffield’s plans for a new, world-class social sciences facility to enhance the student experience and encourage interdisciplinary research have been unanimously approved by Sheffield City Council.

The proposed state-of-the-art home for the University’s Faculty of Social Sciences will improve learning for students through its new collaborative teaching and social spaces and offer a wide range of disciplines under the same roof for the first time.

It will also include a research hub, bringing together cross-cutting research centres in an innovative working environment to encourage truly interdisciplinary research that will lead the way in addressing key societal and global challenges.

Professor Gill Valentine, Vice-President and Head of Faculty for Social Sciences, said: “Our Faculty is leading the way in impactful learning, teaching and research. The new facility has the potential to secure future development in these areas by bringing our students and academics together in an innovative, interdisciplinary environment.”

Social Science internal

The Faculty of Social Sciences is the University’s largest faculty, with more than 9,000 students - making up 34 percent of the University’s total student population.

The Faculty comprises 13 departments, several cross-cutting research institutes, and the White Rose Doctoral Training Partnership. The Faculty is unique among its peers in the Russell Group in having both classical social sciences disciplines such as Politics and Economics, but also practitioner-based disciplines such as Architecture and the Information School.

Professor Sir Keith Burnett, President & Vice-Chancellor of the University of Sheffield, said: "As a scientist all my career, I have been astonished at how much of my energy as a leader has in fact fallen into the area of social science, engaging with government, understanding an economy and how we live together. For our work as medics, engineers and scientists to really bite, we need social sciences to be the gear that connects us to the way the world works.

"Our new flagship venture for social sciences will allow us to partner with global organisations in ways which will also benefit our city, creating opportunities for the next generation along the way."

The proposed new facility will also provide departmental bases for the Departments of Economics, Politics, Sociological Studies, the Sheffield Methods Institute and the Faculty of Social Sciences office.

The adjacent Elmfield Building, which currently houses the Department of Politics and the Sociological Studies Department, will provide the departmental homes for the Information School, Journalism Studies and the School of Education. This will bring departments in closer proximity to the Sheffield University Management School on Conduit Road.

Green space, which will be open to the public as well as students and staff, will be part of the development, providing an improved local environment.

Designed by award-winning Sheffield-based architects HLM, the building has been devised with sustainability at its core and it is expected that it will achieve a BREEAM (Building Research Establishment Environmental Assessment Method) outstanding rating. Ground source heat pumps will be installed to maximise the opportunity created by thermal warmth, and provide cooling in the summer.

The proposed sports centre on Northumberland Road, which was also approved by the planning committee this week, will provide a new swimming pool and increased gym capacity.

New sports facilities

A linked planning application for two new 3g sports pitches at the University’s Norton site, was approved by planning committee last month.

The new social sciences building will be built on an existing 3g pitch on Northumberland Road, and the Norton proposal not only replaces that pitch with a state-of-the-art 3g rugby and football pitch, but also allows the University to develop a new 3g hockey pitch there, along with associated changing and shower facilities.

The new sports pitches at Norton will be completed first, to ensure that there will be no net loss of sports provision.

Construction work on the social sciences building will start on site in early 2018, with an expected completion date of spring 2020. Work on the proposed new sports centre would begin once the social sciences building is complete.

Additional information

The University of Sheffield
With almost 27,000 of the brightest students from over 140 countries, learning alongside over 1,200 of the best academics from across the globe, the University of Sheffield is one of the world’s leading universities.
A member of the UK’s prestigious Russell Group of leading research-led institutions, Sheffield offers world-class teaching and research excellence across a wide range of disciplines.
Unified by the power of discovery and understanding, staff and students at the university are committed to finding new ways to transform the world we live in.
Sheffield is the only university to feature in The Sunday Times 100 Best Not-For-Profit Organisations to Work For 2016 and was voted number one university in the UK for Student Satisfaction by Times Higher Education in 2014. In the last decade it has won four Queen’s Anniversary Prizes in recognition of the outstanding contribution to the United Kingdom’s intellectual, economic, cultural and social life.
Sheffield has six Nobel Prize winners among former staff and students and its alumni go on to hold positions of great responsibility and influence all over the world, making significant contributions in their chosen fields.
Global research partners and clients include Boeing, Rolls-Royce, Unilever, AstraZeneca, Glaxo SmithKline, Siemens and Airbus, as well as many UK and overseas government agencies and charitable foundations.
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For further information please contact:
James Merrylees
External Relations Manager
University of Sheffield
0114 222 0565