Midas Construction commenced building works on the Engineering Centre in November 2020 and is now celebrating the topping out of the steel frame.

Professor Mark E. Smith, President and Vice-Chancellor of the University of Southampton, marked the development of the milestone with Michael Queen, Chair of Enterprise M3 LEP and representatives from the Southampton Science Park, the University of Southampton and Midas Construction, at a special topping out ceremony.

Professor Mark E. Smith, President and Vice-Chancellor of the University of Southampton said:

‘I am so pleased to be here today to celebrate this important milestone in the construction of our brand new Engineering Centre. This is a very important investment from the University that will help further our commitment to become a fully civic university. The centre will help to grow and retain local talent and maximise the impact of our research related to the environmental and sustainability challenges faced by local towns and their businesses. I look forward to the collaborative work we will complete with businesses throughout our community. I am very grateful for the support for this project from the Enterprise M3 LEP’

The Engineering Centre will enhance collaboration opportunities for the University of Southampton Science Park and local business within the Enterprise M3 LEP area of influence. It will house the Future Towns Innovation Hub (FTIH), which will deliver a joint industry-academic Centre of Excellence by bringing together cutting edge ideas, commercial expertise and state-of-the-art research laboratories to facilitate happy, healthy and prosperous towns in the Enterprise M3 area and beyond.

Michael Queen Chair of Enterprise M3 LEP said:

“EM3 is committed to ensuring our towns can meet the demands of the modern world by providing a sustainable, high quality of life for all those who live and work in them. The Future Towns Innovation Hub will offer world-leading engineering research excellence from the University of Southampton to business partners and town leaders to provide opportunities and practical solutions to real problems, including some of our greatest environmental challenges”

Dr Robin Chave, CEO, Southampton Science Park said:

We are delighted that the Future Towns Innovation Hub will be housed in our new Engineering Centre and it was a great pleasure to welcome everyone to Southampton Science Park today for the all-important topping out ceremony!

The Science Park is already a magnet for the commercialisation of research and new technologies in the M3 corridor and it is therefore uniquely positioned to host this new facility, and to create further collaboration opportunities through our networks. I’m absolutely confident that the positive societal impacts arising from this new centre will resonate significantly beyond our boundaries and for generations to come.”

This partnership working model also aims to provide a physical space for business and enterprise to access and interact with world leading expertise, skills, and facilities available within one of the UK’s most outstanding engineering groups, in an environment that nurtures creativity and innovation.

The state-of-the-art building will provide specialist laboratory facilities and a ‘collaboration zone’ that will support a range of sectors such as eco-hydraulics, electronics, transport research, aerospace, energy, unmanned systems and a number of hydraulic flumes.

Professor Paul Kemp, academic Director of the Future Towns Innovation Hub, said:

“We look forward to providing an environment in which creativity and innovation needed to solve complex interdisciplinary challenges faced by our local towns will be nurtured. The hub will provide access to state-of-the art experimental apparatus and laboratories in which local business and enterprise will be able develop relationships and collaborate with world leading academics to enhance the sustainability, health, happiness and prosperity of our urban environments. The insights gained and technologies generated by these activities will have far reaching impact and benefit to the UK and wider global community”.

Steve Lee, Divisional Director for the Southern Division of Midas Construction, said: “We’re immensely pleased to have been able to gather with project partners to celebrate this milestone moment for what is a truly exciting development. Marking the topping-out of a new building is a fine tradition and we look forward to completing the construction phase of the Engineering Centre and playing a modest part in the important role it is going to play driving technological innovation across a number of really exciting sectors, supporting skills development and creating opportunities for the local economy.

“In fact, we are delighted to be able to confirm that some of that good work is already underway.  Midas has worked with staff, trainees and supply chain partners to create a number of skills development opportunities, including the creation of roles for a trainee quantity surveyor and an employment skills co-ordinator, the provision of a two-week work experience placement for a Test Valley resident currently not in employment, who wants to pursue a career in quantity surveying, alongside our participation in careers events providing information about the construction industry to local schools and colleges.”

The Engineering Centre construction is due to complete in early 2022.