Green light for Glasgow University research hub on hospital site

Planning permission has been granted for construction to begin on the first building of a £113m research hub on the site of the former Western Infirmary.

The research hub is the first building of a 1bn development on the site of the former Western Infirmary.

The research hub, which will be part of the University of Glasgow, will host over 600 academics, postdoctoral researchers and PhD students working across five broad research themes.

It will also boast a publically accessible space on the ground floor, offering rooms for public engagement events and exhibitions as well as a café.

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The project is part of the wider £1bn investment on the five hectare site over the next ten years which will see much of the former hospital, between Byres Road and Dumbarton Road, demolished. The first phase of the building is expected to be completed by 2021.

The development is said to be one of the biggest education infrastructure projects in Scotland’s history.

Professor Sir Anton Muscatelli, principal and vice-chancellor of the University of Glasgow, said: “We are delighted to have received planning consent to begin construction on the research hub.

“This represents a landmark moment in our £1 billion Campus Development programme as the Research Hub will be the first building to be constructed on the site of the former Western Infirmary.”

The hub will focus on themes including ‘Technology for Life’, ‘Digital Chemistry’, ‘Quantum and Nano Technologies’ and ‘International Development’ as well as ‘Creative Economies’.

He added: “Upon completion, this building will offer a unique facility to support the University’s world-class research, as well as providing a welcoming and accessible hub for knowledge exchange and public engagement.”

An historic agreement between the university and Glasgow council stated that if the Western Infirmary ever stopped being a hospital, the university would have the right to buy back the land.

Initial work on the project will include the installation of 472 piles across the site. The design had initially met with opposition from locals, mainly over issues relating to the removal of trees. The overall project, designed by HOK architects and to be constructed by Multiplex, will also include student learning and recreation space, as well as 11 small shops, a small hotel and a central square.

A total of 2,500 new jobs are expected to be created as a result of the development. In 2017, the city granted approval to the master plan for the overall development.