25 April 2022

Official opening of the Royce Discovery Centre at The University of Sheffield

The new state-of-the-art research facility, the Royce Discovery Centre, in partnership with the Henry Royce Institute and The University of Sheffield, officially opened on 20th April 2022.

VIP guests in front of Royce Discovery Centre

Professor Martin Jackson, Research Area Lead for Royce at the University of Sheffield, and Professor Serena Cussen, Head of Department for Materials Science and Engineering at The University of Sheffield, welcomed guests to Royce’s new building at the university. The capabilities of the latest UK centre for advanced materials processing were displayed to guests from both industry and academia. 


Photo of Royce Discovery Centre

The celebrations began with building tours for attendees, with demonstrations given by Royce technicians and researchers in all key areas of the centre. To encapsulate the full offering of the facility, focus was placed on the following areas: Additive Manufacturing, Field Assisted Sintering Technology, Near-Net-Shape Manufacturing, Nano Characterisation, X-Ray, and Materials Characterisation.

With 7 purpose-built laboratories, one double height workshop, offices, and 2 meeting rooms, the Royce Discovery Centre is certainly impressive!


Guests touring the Royce Discovery Centre facilities

The main event, the opening ceremony, saw important keynote address from a number of influential speakers from the wider materials community.

Prof. Martin Jackson, Research Area Lead, Royce at the University of Sheffield, opened the ceremony, highlighting the unique capabilities, exclusive to the Royce Sheffield team, that are setting a platform for ground-breaking discoveries.

Dr Beatriz Fernández Silva, Postdoctoral Research Associate, The University of Sheffield, then presented on the centre’s ability to produce high-quality research outputs for both industrial and academic applications. 


Bea Fernandez Silva speaking at the DiscoverTranslate launch

Henry Royce Institute, CEO, Prof. David Knowles, next discussed the wider Royce ambition of accelerating the translation of academic research into commercial opportunities, and how the Royce Discovery Centre feeds into this.

Prof. Serena Cussen, Head of Department for Materials Science and Engineering, The University of Sheffield, highlighted the importance of discovering new materials as we look to adopt more sustainable practices within the UK manufacturing industry.

Dr Aurélie Lacroix, Senior Scientist, Sixfold, then presented on work completed through the Royce Industrial Collaboration Programme, assisted by Head of our Nano Characterisation Lab, Dr Alice Pyne, and Dr Rob Moorehead.


DiscoverTranslate Opening Ceremony

Finally, Sir Peter Gregson, recently appointed Chair of the Henry Royce Institute, highlighted the benefits of the Royce Discovery Centre, not only for industry, but also early-career researchers and students.

In fitting with his speech, Sir Peter invited Dr Bea Fernández Silva to the stage to join him in unveiling the plaque, further amplifying the importance of early-career researchers’ part in driving materials processing forward. 


Bea Fernandez Silva and Sir Peter Gregson

The unveiling of the plaque marked the official opening of the Royce Discovery Centre, which already accommodates around 350 users, ranging from researchers, PhD students, to professional services staff, driving research and innovation in advanced materials processing. 


Photo of VIP guests next to plaque at the Royce Discovery Centre opening

The Royce Discovery Centre and new equipment totaling £62.5 million was only possible thanks to the investment by the Engineering & Physical Sciences Research Council part of UK Research and Innovation, and The University of Sheffield.

Royce’s presence in Sheffield extends to the Royce Translational Centre, situated in the Sheffield Business Park, which is already working in collaboration with the new facility to assist in the acceleration of university and industry ideas from discovery through to an industry production scale in order to meet global challenges. 

The Royce Discovery Centre and the Royce Translational Centre work in tandem with the Engineering Faculty facilities to further enhance the University of Sheffield's status as a world leader in the science and development of materials processing.


ABOUT THE ROYCE DISCOVERY CENTRE

Planning permission for the new facility was granted in April 2018, with the main building work started in August 2018. The building area totals 5793m² with a construction value of £18 million. The formal handover of the Royce Discovery Centre took place 13th July 2020, however due to Covid-19 related delays, the building’s official launch took place 20th April 2022.

The Royce Discovery Centre, under the Project Management of Gardiner & Theobald, and the University of Sheffield's Estates & Facilities Management team on the client side, was designed by Bond Bryan - an architectural practice that also designed our partner site, the Royce Translational Centre - alongside civil and structural engineers, Curtins, and building services engineers, Ramboll. The building was delivered by Henry Boot Construction, the appointed University of Sheffield contractor, with Elecomm contracted for installation of mechanical and electrical services.

We're proud to have collaborated with only local contractors in the development of our new facility, with the output definitely demonstrating the high-quality offering of the Yorkshire area. These local connections have ensured a smooth delivery of a centre for advanced materials innovation. 


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