Why do we need the Life Sciences Building?
Life Sciences is one of the emerging disciplines of the 21st century, with key linkages to Engineering Sciences. The University of Southampton is recognised as being one of if not the strongest University in the UK across all engineering sciences. All of the relevant Schools in these areas were rated 5* (the very best rating) in the last research assessment exercise (RAE) - these are Electronics and Computer Sciences, Civil Engineering and the Environment, Engineering Sciences. Each of these Schools already undertakes research in areas which apply engineering solutions to biological problems. It is natural, therefore, that the two subject areas, life sciences and engineering, should be physically located close to each other so the natural synergies could be fostered and exploited. The establishment of the Institute for Life Sciences (IfLS) is a key element in the University's plans to further enhance its international reputation for excellence.
The vision for the IfLS is for a world-leading centre for cross-disciplinary research and innovative teaching and learning in the life sciences, which will underpin the training and development of future life scientists. It will build on Southampton's strengths across the life sciences - in neuroscience, the developmental origins of health and disease, the life science interface, bio and nanotechnology, chemical biology, biodiversity, bio-computing, sustainability and the environment - enabling the University to develop a pre-eminence in the multidisciplinary aspects of biosciences. It will unite the leading across-disciplinary scholars in an environment designed to achieve a community of research, education, and continual personal development.
The University Council met in September 2007 to review proposals for development of the University's estate to reflect its ambitions as a world-class university of the 21st Century. The proposals included the redevelopment of the Boldrewood campus because the current facilities there are no longer fit-for-purpose, are expensive to run, and are a huge liability to the University in respect of the costs involved in maintaining the building as a safe working environment. Also considered was the best location for the Schools of Biological Sciences and Medicine (the majority occupants of Boldrewood) to support and develop research and education in the life sciences.
The decision was made to build a modern, purpose-designed building (the Life Sciences Building) on the Highfield campus as the new home for the two Schools and the IfLS , and to demolish the existing Boldrewood building and replace it with several new buildings to support the redevelopment of the Boldrewood campus as a Maritime Centre of Excellence.