Skip to main contentCambridge University Reporter

No 6459

Wednesday 15 March 2017

Vol cxlvii No 25

pp. 398–406

Report of Discussion: Tuesday, 7 March 2017

A Discussion was held in the Senate-House. Pro-Vice-Chancellor Professor Graham Virgo QC was presiding, with the Registrary’s deputy, the Junior Proctor, the Senior Pro-Proctor, and four other persons present.

The following Reports were discussed:

First-stage Report of the Council, dated 14 February 2017, on the construction of a new Cavendish Laboratory in West Cambridge
(Reporter, 6455, 2016–17, p. 362)

Professor M. A. Parker (Head of the Department of Physics, and Peterhouse):

Deputy Vice-Chancellor, as Head of the Cavendish Laboratory I am naturally fully in support of the proposal to construct a new building to house the majority of the Department of Physics’s activities on the West Cambridge site. The new facility will replace buildings dating from 1974 which are now well beyond their design lifetime and are no longer able to provide a suitable environment for our teaching and research. In addition, the buildings incur large running costs because of their old-fashioned design, which falls well below modern environmental standards. The presence of asbestos in the construction makes routine maintenance time-consuming and expensive.

I am grateful to the Vice-Chancellor for his personal commitment to the project, and the unfailing assistance which has been provided by the central offices, Estate Management, the School of the Physical Sciences, and the wider University. I should also record my thanks to the dedicated team inside the Department which has developed the building design up to this point.

The new building has been designed to be a centre-piece of the West Cambridge site, in accordance with the strategy to create a world-leading physical sciences campus. It will be designed to the highest environmental standards and consolidate many facilities which are currently scattered across the existing site, greatly improving the effectiveness of their usage. The existing Cavendish site will then be available for the move of the Engineering Department from the centre of town.

The government has identified the Cavendish Laboratory as a national asset for Physics and has backed that assessment with £75m of support for the project. The government’s confidence in the future of the Laboratory is due to the skill and dedication of all of the staff in the Department, which sustains our excellent international reputation. We have also been fortunate in having strong backing from our alumni and other philanthropic donors, who are engaged in supporting the project. Increasingly this will be based on strong links with other Departments, enabled by the West Cambridge project as a whole. Together with the Maxwell programme which we host, this will in turn lead to stronger industrial links and more outputs for the benefit of society.

Our vision is to secure the future of the Department as a leading centre for teaching and research in physics for the next 50 years. We warmly commend this Report to the University.

Second-stage Report of the Council, dated 14 February 2017, on the construction of a new building for the Department of Engineering in West Cambridge
(Reporter, 6455, 2016–17, p. 364)

Professor S. D. Guest (Department of Engineering and Trinity Hall):

Deputy Vice-Chancellor, I speak today as Head of the Civil Engineering Division within the Department of Engineering. Since the first-stage report on this project, my colleagues have put in a tremendous effort to design a fine building that will provide a suitable home for Civil Engineering in Cambridge, and allow the University to fulfil its commitment to the EPSRC to set up the National Research Facility for Infrastructure Sensing as part of the UK Collaboratorium for Research in Infrastructure and Cities. I fully support the Report’s recommendation that construction should be approved.

Report of the General Board, dated 15 February 2017, on the establishment of a Professorship of Cancer Sciences
(Reporter, 6456, 2016–17, p. 376)

No remarks were made on this Report.