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Report of the Council on the construction of a Centre for Advanced Photonics and Electronics (CAPE) at West Cambridge

The COUNCIL beg leave to report to the University as follows:

1. In their Report to the University, dated 12 June 2000 (Reporter, 1999-2000, p. 804), the Council reported that a Marconi Laboratory would be established for research and teaching of communications and associated information and computational disciplines and that it would be housed in a building to be named the Marconi Building. The University approved construction of this building, by Grace 3 of 12 July 2000, but the building was never started due to the change in the financial circumstances of Marconi plc.

2. It is now proposed to construct a building to accommodate the Department of Engineering's Centre for Advanced Photonics and Electronics (CAPE) on the same site at West Cambridge on which the Marconi Building was to have been constructed. The new building will be part two-storey and part three-storey and will have a gross external floor area of 4,675 sq.m. comprising laboratories, offices, and cleanrooms. The building is to be known as the CAPE Building.

3. The Department of Engineering has insufficient accommodation within its existing buildings, on the site off Trumpington Street, and has a current space deficit of 6,000 sq.m. The Department's research activity in the areas of photonics and electronics is expanding rapidly, but is currently housed in inappropriate space and in temporary, remote accommodation on short-term rental. The proposed new building will provide the space required for the Department of Engineering to undertake integrated research and technology development in these areas as well as to extend current interdisciplinary research activities, not only involving engineers but also physicists, chemists, and bio-scientists. In addition the facility will be co-located with related nationally funded research activities: namely the Interdisciplinary Research Collaboration (IRC) in Nanotechnology, the Cavendish Laboratory, and the Computer Laboratory.

4. The CAPE building will be some 10% smaller in gross floor area than the Marconi Building, but will retain a similar shape and profile. It is anticipated, therefore, that planning consent for the new building should be an amendment of that previously granted for the Marconi Building. If this is not possible then a full Reserved Matters Planning Application will be submitted.

5. The total cost of the building project has been estimated as £14.4m. It is expected that funding of £12m will be made available from the University's SRIF-2 allocation and confirmation of this is expected by the end of July 2003. The balance of the cost, £2.4m, is to be provided by external donations and a departmental contribution. The Department has confirmed that these funds have already been secured.

6. It is expected that the new Centre will incur recurrent operating and maintenance costs of £161,000 a year. These costs will be met from increased research grant overheads and HEFCE QR funding. The staff costs, of £122,000 a year, will be largely a transfer from existing locations.

7. Drawings of the proposed scheme are displayed for the information of the University in the Schools Arcade.

8. The Council recommend:

I. That approval be given for the construction of a building for the Centre for Advanced Photonics and Electronics as proposed in this Report.

II. That the Treasurer be authorized, on the advice of the Director of the Estate Management and Building Service, to accept tenders for the building and all associated works in due course subject to full funding being available.

Centre for advanced photonics and electronics at West Cambridge

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Cambridge University Reporter, 23 July 2003
Copyright © 2011 The Chancellor, Masters and Scholars of the University of Cambridge.