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Department of Chemical Engineering and Biotechnology

CEB - Maxwell Centre Connect for ‘blue-skies’ Research and Innovation

The Maxwell Centre had its official opening ceremony on 7 April and CEB was invited to take part. Dr Ljiljana Fruk and her colleagues presented our research to VIPs from within the university and industry.

The Maxwell Centre had its official opening ceremony on 7 April and CEB was invited to take part. Dr Ljiljana Fruk and her colleagues presented CEB research to VIPs from industry and academia.

The Maxwell Centre is a new building for pioneering scientific research and industrial partnership on the West Cambridge Site of the University of Cambridge, inspired by the remarkable physicist James Clerk Maxwell. Maxwell was the first Cavendish Professor of Physics in Cambridge and a fellow of Trinity College; he formulated the classical theory of electromagnetic radiation, bringing together for the first time electricity, magnetism, and light as manifestations of the same phenomenon.

CEB has already started forging important links with the Maxwell Centre, one of the Department’s neighbours-to-be at the University’s West Cambridge site.  CEB reps were present at the grand opening of this new science centre, home of 'blue-skies' research and industrial partnerships in the Physical Sciences, set up with the help of collaborating departments including CEB.

Cambridge's newest state-of-the-art science centre was officially opened by David Harding, Founder and CEO of Winton Capital, the principal co-investor in this project, apart from HEFCE, which provided the funding under the UKRPIF scheme for the Maxwell Centre.

The ceremony took place in front of the main stakeholders - from funding bodies and Centre staff to key captains of industry and academia as well as government officials. The £26 million Maxwell Centre will foster advanced research in a range of scientific fields, including efficient energy generation, storage and use. CEB is one of the collaborating Departments, as well as Cavendish Lab, Materials Science and Metallurgy, Chemistry and Engineering. Maxwell is acting as a gateway to Physical Sciences and Technology in West Cambridge. Scientists based at the new facility site off Madingley Road, will work alongside collaborators from academia and industry. There are also numerous industrial partners who have supported this project i.e. Boeing, BP, Hitachi, Merck Chemicals, NPL, Rolls-Royce, Schlumberger, Shell, Toshiba, etc…

CEB lecturer and researcher, Dr Ljiljana Fruk,  is in fact involved in graduate teaching at the Maxwell Centre through Nano DTC based there. She has already started collaborating with some of the Cavendish researchers and is using the state-of-art labs there. According to her, the Maxwell Centre is ‘a perfect example of interdisciplinarity not only within the boundaries of science but also beyond. There is a strong emphasis on creativity and outreach programmes, in particular through synergy of art and science. This is also a great chance for CEB researchers to spearhead some exciting new joint projects once CEB moves to its new home in the West Cambridge site.

With an aim to showcase CEB research and make new contacts, some CEB young researchers went along to present a poster on CEB research activities and talked to attendees about the key  department research activities and their own research projects.

The opening was an enjoyable event with speeches by Lord Sainsbury, Chancellor of the University of Cambridge, Professor Richard Friend, Director of the Maxwell Centre, Anna-Marie Greenway, VP Science and Tech BP-Cambridge and  Professor Sir Leszek Borysiewicz, Vice-Chancellor (VC) of the University . The VC added; ‘The Maxwell Centre significantly strengthens our drive to deliver new knowledge and applications for industry, underpinning growth and fostering our innovative partnerships between research and business’.

There was also entertainment on offer with spectators enjoying the performance of dance and sound work by talented choreographers. Attendees also had a chance to explore the building and witness the industry-academia collaboration. Lab tours were also available with PIs and their co-workers presenting their research projects and key experimental methods. The Optofluidics Group lab was one of those visited and Dr Tijmen Euser explained his research on photochemical reactions in advanced optical trapping experiments. Dr Euser is in fact collaborating with CEB senior researchers, Clemens Kaminski, Professor of Chemical Physics and leader of Laser Analytics Group along with Senior Research Associate Dr Adrian Stevenson. They are working on a project dealing with manipulation of cells using light. CEB scientists are certainly willing to explore common areas of interest and work together to develop innovative solutions for a healthier and more sustainable future.

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