Development & Alumni Relations Office 



29 June 2016

Queen’s has unveiled the foundation stone of its new £39m School of Biological Sciences building in Chlorine Gardens. The new premises will offer state-of-the art teaching and research facilities for 750 students and 170 staff, who will tackle some of the world’s most pressing agri-food related issues.

The School of Biological Sciences will be a key driver for the development and future growth of the life sciences and agri-food sectors in Northern Ireland, which currently employ some 80,000 people and generate more than £5.5 billion in sales each year.

Construction of the new facilities will also support 550 jobs in the building sector, including staff from the main contractor O’Hare and McGovern, and a range of other firms.

Due to open in 2018, the building will provide facilities to help grow the life sciences sector, in areas such as agriculture/food science, food safety, disease/infection biology, diagnostics, waste management, ecosystems and the environment. 

The new 11,000m⊃; School is the latest building in Queen’s £700m 20-year capital investment programme to support world-class research and education and provide an exceptional experience for its students.

Speaking ahead of the unveiling, Queen’s President and Vice-Chancellor, Professor Patrick Johnston, said: “Today is a momentous occasion for the life sciences and agri-food sectors here in Northern Ireland, and further afield. Queen’s new School of Biological Sciences will be a power-house for these sectors, both of which have been identified as cornerstones of Northern Ireland’s future prosperity. 

“From food safety to disease and infection control, the work housed in our new School will not only be of global significance and importance, it will also impact positively on everyone’s lives here in Northern Ireland.”

Announcing his support for the new School of Biological Sciences building, Minister for the Economy, Simon Hamilton, said: “The investment by the Department for the Economy helps to support Queen’s in providing modern up-to-date facilities and will enhance the wider infrastructure within higher education. This development is a key part of the University’s long-term vision to create state-of-the-art facilities and will support research and education into the next decade and beyond.”

Professor Chris Elliott, Queen’s Pro-Vice-Chancellor, Faculty of Medicine, Health and Life Sciences said: “The building will be home to globally recognised experts in areas right across the biological sciences, with research focus on key global challenges. It will house Queen’s Institute for Global Food Security, one of the University’s four Global Research Institutes, which is leading the world in addressing one of the greatest challenges – how to ensure the safety of our food.”

Head of the School of Biological Sciences at Queen’s, Professor Aaron Maule, added: “To ensure Northern Ireland’s crucial agri-food and life sciences sectors can remain competitive at home and internationally, they need access to a highly skilled workforce who have been educated in a way that is directly relevant to their needs. 

“The new building will ensure we attract the best staff and students from Northern Ireland and around the world, and continue to produce graduates who are making a real and lasting impact in fields as diverse as agriculture, pharmaceuticals, food science, infectious diseases, marine sustainability and environmental management.”

O’Hare & McGovern Managing Director Eamon O’Hare said the new building would be a world-class facility which strengthened the firm’s long term relationship with the University as they continued to enhance Belfast’s educational landscape.

He added: “Our vision for the delivery of this project is to create a catalyst for social, economic and environmental change, providing sustainable employment for local businesses, students, apprentices and long-term unemployed.”

Media inquiries to Anne-Marie Clarke (Mon-Wed) or Michelle Cassidy (Thurs-Fri) at Queen’s Communications Office, T: +44 (0)28 9097 5310. 


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