skip to content

Department of Chemical Engineering and Biotechnology

Official opening

Lord Sainsbury opens the £60 million new building of the University of Cambridge Department of Chemical Engineering and Biotechnology (CEB).

The official opening ceremony of the Department of Chemical Engineering and Biotechnology (CEB) new building took place on Tuesday 24 April 2018 at its new home on the University’s West Cambridge site.

The building was formally opened in the morning by the Guest of Honour and Chancellor of the University, Lord Sainsbury of Turville. Lord Sainsbury conducted the opening ceremony, unveiling a plaque to commemorate the official opening of CEB's new home, a year following the actual completion of a phased move.

Chemical Engineering and Biotechnology merged back in 2008 and, prior to move, the different Departments operated from separate pre-existing buildings in the centre of Cambridge and the Magnetic Resonance Research Centre (MRRC) in West Cambridge.

It has been a long road for CEB new building as its construction commenced in 2013 and had its topping out in 2014. A part-move started during the summer of 2016, with teaching starting in Michaelmas term that year, and by the end of summer 2017, all functions and research groups were successfully moved.

Sensors CDT exhibit Lord Sainsbury also spoke to the crowds congregating in the Wolfson Atrium commenting; “In this new home the Department draws together expertise that bridges traditional boundaries of chemical engineering and biotechnology. It is also the home of a Department which has an outstanding track record of innovation. Its research spans from artificial heart valves to affordable disease diagnostic tools. Partnerships are the key: with entrepreneurs and companies around our city; with health partners near and far; with NGOs and institutes across the globe.”

Other dignitaries attending the flagship event included the Pro Vice-Chancellor for Research Chris Abell, Pro-Vice-Chancellor for Enterprise and Business Relations, Professor Andy Neely, and the Head of the School of Technology Professor Richard Prager, in addition to alumni and friends, donors and captains of industry and academia.

Dr David Thompsett, Technology Manager at Johnson Matthey, spoke of the special, long-standing relationship between CEB and the Teaching Consortium corporate partner, this year's sponsor of the Part 2B Design Project and one of the main donors to the new building fund.

Laser Lab researchersTo mark the occasion CEB put together a programe packed with exciting activities to cater for all tastes, from themed research talks, tours round the building, demos in the innovation room and poster displays highlighting the research of impact carried out at CEB focusing on the areas of healthcare, energy and sustainability to 'Science with a Twist' artistic displays and a 'Blast from the Past' photo exhibition.

The building was thriving with over 300 guests present and external visitors had several opportunities to interact with and talk to researchers about the science and impact of their project work. The researchers were delighted to showcase their work and share its applications and they took advantage of networking opportunities with corporate reps and academic collaborators in the building, also opening new avenues of future collaboration.

Professor John Dennis, HoD, added; "The mission of this Department is to be world-leading in research, education and impact in chemical engineering and biotechnology and its application to healthcare, energy and sustainable technology. Our aim is to produce the academic, industrial and entrepreneurial leaders of tomorrow, together with the industrial processes and bioscientific advances they will employ."

HoD Professor Dennis with supporters of new building fundCEB also took the opportunity to celebrate the naming of some of its rooms in acknowledgement of the financial support given by its key partners: The Johnson Matthey and The Weston Lecture Theatres, The Wolfson Atrium and The Robin Paul Boardroom were all inaugurated and representatives posed for photo opportunities in front of their respective rooms along with HoD, Professor Dennis.

To round off the day, and as a gesture of thanks to all staff and students who helped with the mammoth task of putting together and delivering the Opening event,  department members rallied around to celebrate success with top entertainment from Freddie Hall and the Roadrunners, a Motown/soul 5-piece band. It was the perfect end to a very long and hectic day for all involved.

The BBC filmed the event throughout the day, visited some labs and talked to researchers to put a TV film together, which was broadcast at the 6.30 pm Evening News on the day.

CEB would like to thank all the guests who attended and took part in the event and all the department members who contributed to the programme or helped run the show on the day, making it a truly memorable occasion for all. 


Latest news

Outreach at CEB: casting the net wider

12 September 2022

We have been increasing our activities targeting local, national and international schools to raise the profile of STEM subjects and encourage young students to study chemical engineering and biotechnology at Cambridge.

Light as the switch: using nanometric photodiodes to study the activity of nerve cells

23 August 2022

Researchers from the University of Cambridge and Scuola Internazionale Superiore di Studi Avanzati (SISSA) in Trieste, have developed a targeted, non-invasive approach to study the fundamental functions of the nervous system, that could also be used to develop potential therapies for neurological diseases.

Researchers use artificial intelligence to rationally design over 1,000 new chemical compounds

15 August 2022

The researchers used 'knowledge engineering' principles to generate new metal-organic polyhedra - a class of compounds with a vast array of valuable applications.


There are no upcoming talks currently scheduled in this series.