Press Office


A 'Living Laboratory' in the heart of Newcastle


The Urban Sciences Building is a £58m commitment by Newcastle University to lead international research into creating the cities we want to live and work in.

Situated on the Science Central site in Newcastle, the research centre building and its surrounding city area will become a ‘living laboratory’ underpinning research to make urban centres more sustainable for future generations.

The centre will be a flagship development on the 24-acre site when it opens in autumn 2017.

Newcastle University’s brightest minds in the fields making up urban science research will be brought together in the centre to tackle one of the greatest challenges of our age – ‘How do we create and develop cities which meet the demands of modern day living but also places which will meet the needs of our children?’

For the first time, academics will work together in an environment specifically designed to benefit their research and promote collaboration.

Each research subject area is led by world leading experts - in computing science, energy useage, traffic and urban planning, physical and social geographers and researchers in waste and water management.
Their research is working to a shared agenda – one of digitally enabled sustainability.

They will use digital technologies to develop new insights into urban sustainability problems.
Dwindling natural resources, computing systems reliability, huge new demands on power generation and increased domestic and industrial waste are just some of the challenges that academics will address.
The research centre they will work from will be a major resource in their studies. It is specifically designed with monitoring device technology built into the fabric of the building.
Data taken from heating and ventilation systems and energy use for example will be collated along with environmental measurements taken from the wider Science Central site and from locations already in use across the city.
The result will be a wealth of information which can be brought together to help urban planners at the city council or emergency services better plan ahead, making the city more resilient to natural disasters or technological failure.
And the urban research centre will fulfil Science Central’s wider goal of being more than just bricks and mortar.
The aim is for commerce to take advantage of the valuable data being collected by academics working so closely in a purpose built environment.
Start-up businesses will be incubated in the centre before moving into Science Central’s The Core building and then to a new office on the site itself.
Scientific excellence supporting business growth for the long term benefit of the city.
The site that once supported a colliery and was the home of Newcastle Brown Ale, will be the foundation of a new generation of industries and endeavour centred around knowledge and innovation.

published on: 4 December 2014