Contractor announced for new £17m research centre in Edinburgh


The £17m contract for the building of the new Scottish headquarters for the British Geological Survey (BGS) has been announced.


Morrison Construction, part of Galliford Try plc, will build the Lyell Centre which will also serve as a major joint BGS/Heriot-Watt University research centre for geological, petroleum and marine sciences.


Under the £9.6m design and construct contract Morrison Construction will build the new state-of-the-art Lyell Centre on existing vacant land within the University’s Edinburgh Campus.




The Centre will provide offices, research laboratory areas, aquarium laboratories and associated working areas, a central core containing welfare facilities, ancillary meeting areas, as well as external landscaped areas.


It will be constructed at Heriot-Watt University’s Edinburgh Campus and will form a £21m purpose-built research and collaborative centre for the University and the British Geological Survey (BGS).


Scheduled for completion in early 2016, the Centre will bring together key expertise from both institutions and provide a unique opportunity for strategic growth through research-led development with an interdisciplinary and innovative applied geoscience technology focus.


Professor Murray Roberts, Co-ordinator of the Lyell Centre, said, “We are really pleased to see the Lyell Centre moving into the construction phase. A lot of work over the last two years has got us here, on time and on budget.


“Over the next year Heriot-Watt is embarking on an ambitious £8.5m recruitment drive to appoint new research stars to move into the Lyell Centre and drive it forward.


“The Lyell Centre is working at the interfaces of applied geoscience, ecology and technology – and we need this interdisciplinary approach to tackle the grand challenges of energy supply and sustainable development in a changing world.”


John Ludden, Executive Director BGS, said, “BGS is delighted that the contract for the Lyell Centre has been agreed and building can commence on an exciting new opportunity for the British Geological Survey and Heriot Watt University to strengthen our capabilities and build new areas of co-operation.”


Eddie Robertson, Regional Director, Morrison Construction said, “We are delighted to have been selected by Heriot-Watt University and The British Geological Survey to construct this major new project at the University’s Edinburgh Campus.


“This appointment reflects our strong reputation and market presence within the education sector. We look forward to working with Heriot-Watt University and The British Geological Survey to create the top class facilities the students and staff deserve.”


Work will commence in December and is expected to last about a year.