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Published: 28 Oct, 2015

Umeå University to build state-of-the-art research environment

NEWS The Biology Building - one of the oldest buildings on campus – will be transformed into an attractive research environment in which experimental and translational research from various scientific disciplines within the Faculty of Medicine are unified into a Medical Biological Centre.

Image: LINK arkitektur

On 28 October, Akademiska hus - Sweden's leading property company for universities and colleges – approved a comprehensive renovation and reconstruction of the Biology Building.

The ambitions are high. With a Medical Biological Centre (MBC), the university aims to establish an integrated, dynamic, creative and boundless research environment.  

"The construction of the MBC involves a strong focus on experimental and translational medical research. The creation of an interactive environment for both research and education provides good conditions for an internationally competitive operation," says Lena Gustafsson, Vice-Chancellor of Umeå University.

Requirements and visions

The units and divisions that will form the MBC from the start are the Department of Integrative Medical Biology (IMB), Umeå Centre for Molecular Medicine (UCMM) and the Medical and Clinical Genetics unit at the Department of Medical Biosciences. During the spring of 2015, they have discussed the conformity of the locales, how the infrastructure can be optimized, and how the operations within all levels of education and research can be coordinated.

A design of the new building based on collective requirements and visions has been presented, which has been a collaborative effort from architects, engineers and Akademiska hus. The architects have compiled a description of the building, its technical systems and proposals for plumbing, electricity and ventilation, as well as issues regarding the environment, telecommunications and security.

Open and bright

The sections of the building that will be affected in this project are two of the three wings and the building that connects the wings. They will be created into open, bright, flexible and innovative premises with close proximity between offices and laboratories. The sections will have the same height and there will be walkways linking the wings. 
In addition, the entrance to the building will also be open and bright, and it will lead directly to a student area with dining options. Higher levels in the building will be built to foster interaction between the research teams and to achieve synergies in terms of utilization of the infrastructure and expensive equipment.

A new multifunctional hall

An entirely new multifunctional hall that accommodates 150 people will be constructed in the small park area between the Biology Building and the Natural Sciences Building.

"In the best case scenario, the centre will be known as a very attractive place to work and study at, and it will also act as a recruiting tool when it comes to attracting talented new employees and students to Umeå and the faculty," says Patrik Danielson, Vice Dean of the Faculty of Medicine and Chairman of the project steering committee.

During the spring of 2016, ground is expected to be broken and the first phase of the renovation is planned to be complete in the latter half of 2017. The estimated opening will be in spring 2018.

Editor: David Meyers