Glasgow university plans hi-tech campus expansion in Govan


Academia and 12 industry partners join forces to create Scotland's "Silicon Valley" of nanofabrication and precision medicine

Artist's impression of new campus

The University of Glasgow has announced a multimillion-pound investment to build the Clyde Waterfront Innovation Campus (CWIC) on the south bank of the river in Govan. The project will see the construction of the James Watt Nanofabrication Centre (JWNC) and the Precision Medicine Living Lab.

Funding for these buildings comes from £28 million committed by the university and £27.5m from the Glasgow City Region City Deal. The university is also bidding for a further £63m in funding. Construction work is expected to begin within two years.

The JWNC will focus on industries demanding nanofabrication for quantum technology and photonics, enabling the co-location of high-quality academic and translational assets with cutting-edge industrial R&D teams supported by state-of-the-art facilities. The initiative is already supported by 12 major industry partners.

The site for the new campus is currently a disused car park located in the southern end of the Clyde tunnel, near the Queen Elizabeth University Hospital (QEUH). The Precision Medicine Living Laboratory will flow into the existing Clinical Innovation Zone at the Queen Elizabeth University Hospital.

Commenting on the plans, Principal Professor, Sir Anton Muscatelli, said the move could make the city synonymous with innovation in the 21st century, in the same way that it was identified with shipbuilding and heavy industry a century ago. "I have no doubt that the innovation agenda and industries like quantum technology, nanofabrication and precision medicine can be to the 21st century Glasgow economy, what shipbuilding was in the past."

Hi-Tech aspirations

Dr Sara Diegoli, Strategic Project Manager at the College of Science and Engineering and the lead for the quantum aspect of the CWIC project, commented: "Glasgow is already a world-leader in areas likes quantum technology, photonics and nanofabrication – and the Clyde Waterfront Innovation Campus will bring together a cluster of excellence from both industry and academia which will be truly unparalleled elsewhere."

This excellence has caused the university to outgrown its cleanroom facilities on Gilmorehill in the West End, where researchers are working on nanotechnology.

Speaking to BBC News, Diegoli explained: "The cleanroom is in a Victorian building so we have some constraints when it comes to expansion."

The CWIC will act as a centre of excellence for a range of new technologies, co-locating industry and world-class research, and will see hundreds of high-end jobs located in Govan in the first stage.

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Vice-Principal and Head of the College of Medical, Veterinary and Life Sciences, Professor Dame Anna Dominiczak, Scotland’s leading expert in Precision Medicine, said: “Scotland has the real potential to lead the world in Precision Medicine – a field which could save billions for our NHS, contribute massively to economic growth and job creation and lead to major improvements in public health."