The Lancaster Environment Centre is a major development on Lancasterís Campus, bringing together a community of university environmental researchers, government scientists and a growing number of commercial enterprises.
The first two phases of the centre were opened in 2004 by Professor Sir John Lawton CBE FRS (current chair of the Royal Commission on Environmental Pollution) and Professor Paul Wellings, Lancaster's current vice-chancellor. These first two phases contain state-of-the-art controlled environment facilities, specialised laboratories and cutting-edge equipment to allow integrative studies of terrestrial, aquatic and atmospheric systems.
The latest phase of LEC (opened in May 2007 by Professor Martin John Rees, Baron Rees of Ludlow Kt, current president of the Royal Society) now provides more offices for staff and students, meeting rooms and laboratories for university research, a new facility for the co-location of businesses and offices for LECs Knowledge Exchange Team: Enterprise & Business Partnerships.
Researchers are supported by excellent facilities for chemical, biochemical, physical and biological analysis and a substantial pool of first class equipment and data management software, to permit scientific research from the molecular to global scales. Our strengths in the humanities, social and management sciences concerned with science of the environment and policymaking, complement this capability.
The pooling of human resources creates a powerful UK and European centre for the science of environmental change, having major international impact and the ability to inform national and European policy making. In achieving this, the Lancaster Environment Centre provides a significant international focus for research, teaching and innovation in the environmental sciences.
The University has a long-standing reputation for excellence and innovation in teaching and research in the broad area of the environment. It was one of the first British Universities to offer Ecology as a full degree subject and amongst the first to establish a Department of Environmental Science. The Lancaster Environment Centre sits within the Faculty of Science and Technology and draws together the research programmes previously conducted by the departments of Environmental Science, Biological Sciences and Geography.
LEC is one of several significant areas of recent investment at Lancaster, with a total of £35m in capital investment being committed since 2004. Our strategic partners, NERC's Centre for Ecology and Hydrology (CEH) has made Lancaster one of their four centres of excellence following their contribution of £11.8m to this total sum of money and the creation of CEH Lancaster.
A driving aim behind the formation of LEC has been to assemble and optimise cross disciplinary research teams, to address 21st century environmental challenges, especially those related to environmental change, sustainable (water, energy) resource and chemical management, biodiversity & ecosystem function and sustainable agriculture
The Lancaster Environment Centre is a joint investment by NERC/CEH and Lancaster University. The project combines CEH and Lancaster University laboratories, developed partly by a new extension to Lancaster Universityís Biological and Environmental Sciences building and partly by extensive refurbishment of areas of the existing laboratories. The development of this joint facility underpins the close integration of CEH and Lancaster University research activities and provides extensive, state-of-the-art research laboratories, fifteen glasshouses and ten walk-in controlled environment rooms. These include high-grade containment facilities for research with genetically modified organisms and radionuclides.
Taken together with phase 3, the Lancaster Environment Centre is a landmark building matching the award-winning Ruskin Library near the main entrance to the Lancaster University campus. Phases I and II are finished like the Ruskin Library, in a light coloured render, and distinguished by feature towers, which serve the additional function of housing the extensive services required by a modern laboratory building. The southern elevation features the integrated glasshouses, allowing easy access between growing areas and laboratories. Integration between the various communities within LEC, is facilitated by a central atrium and covered courtyard cafe, which lie at the heart of the building.
Phase 3 of LEC provides a striking new aspect to the Centre when approached from main University entrance, with its three story dedicated facility for business co-location, clad in high gloss black ceramic tiles, manufactured and sourced from within Lancashire.
In addition to the main site is a 1000m≤ prefabricated building at the northern end of campus, which houses environmental engineering and instrumentation workshops and large-scale sample preparation facilities for CEH and a remote meteorology and field site centre at Hazelrigg, adjacent to the Universityís main campus.