North East & Yorkshire

Investing in the University of York

Opened in 1963, The University of York is one of the country’s leading universities, with more than 30 academic departments and almost 16,000 students.

The University of York also boasts many leading names as former students, including Greg Dyke, Former Director General at the BBC, and comedian Harry Enfield.

The University of York is located within walking distance of the city centre and its Heslington campus is home to eight colleges. Additional facilities are located in the city at King’s Manor, with new facilities in the pipeline.

The University is currently in the midst of an expansion and renewal programme, which has been in operation since 2000. Twenty new buildings on the original Heslington West campus have been completed and a phased, £750 million campus expansion scheme at Heslington East is underway. The investment in new teaching and learning facilities covers labs, academic spaces and a sport village and provides the university with a diverse offering, unique to the University of York.

Recently, the University of York implemented a £29 million phased investment to improve its chemistry department. The phased redevelopment of the Department of Chemistry included a £9.4 million project to provide additional accommodation for approximately 100 researchers and a £6 million project to provide Green Chemistry facilities.

The £6 million project – part funded by the ERDF – saw the university given outstanding training facilities along with world leading research provisions. The project included the construction of a two-storey building, which was built on the site of a former chemistry research building. The previous building was demolished prior to construction work taking place.

The project was undertaken by VINCI Construction UK and was completed in late 2013. The work was a great success and has enhanced the Department of Chemistry’s leading reputation which already boasts significant rankings amongst The Times and The Guardian’s university guides. The new facilities include a spacious wet laboratory with 80 energy-efficient two-person fumehoods, a large instrument room with modern analytical equipment and a dedicated NMR laboratory.

Head of the Department of Chemistry at York, Professor Richard Taylor, said:

“These extensive training facilities allow us to undertake a wide range of practical chemistry with supporting instrumentation, office and support areas. This exciting new development enables our Green Chemistry Centre of Excellence to move into new research facilities to promote the development and implementation of green and sustainable chemistry and related technologies into new products and processes. Focusing on wider participation and collaboration, this new facility provides a modern research laboratory to promote greater engagement with industrial partners.”

VINCI Construction UK Building Division North East Regional Director, Keith Shivers, said:

“We were thrilled to be awarded this contract with the University of York and we looked forward to working closely with the client to help them reach their short and long term objectives. The new chemistry block is a great addition to the Department and provides teachers with professional-standard facilities to educate their students.”

A project which continues to make progress at the University is the relocation of the Environment Department. The £10 million project will see new premises located near to the Biology Department and will provide opportunities for collaborative research between environmental, ecological and social scientists.

To facilitate this project, an existing block – Wentworth E block – will be demolished. Work is scheduled to reach completion in autumn 2015, with Bond Bryan as the architect.

The University of York has a clear focus towards higher learning, designed to maintain the university’s position as a world leading facility. The university encourages the sharing of knowledge by teaching students from varied backgrounds and supports academic freedom, which includes tolerance of diverse points of view.

For more information on The University of York, please visit:


British Thornton ESF Ltd 

British Thornton ESF Ltd specialise in the provision of fixed and loose furniture for the education sector, from primary schools through to further and higher education facilities. The company has been in operation for in excess of 125 years and within this time has worked with many leading universities, including Nottingham Trent University, University of Leeds and the University of the West of England.

Working at the University of York, British Thornton ESF Ltd was involved in the fit-out phase of the university’s new chemistry facilities.

British Thornton ESF Ltd Sales & Marketing Director, Andrew Kilkenny, said:

“We work on flagship projects and installations are always great for the business and allow us to develop new opportunities. At British Thornton ESF Ltd we pride ourselves on our long established trading history, the quality of our work and our service levels, all of which have led to repeat business.”



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