Harpenden’s Rothamsted Research set to construct new campus

Rothamsted Research in Harpenden has secured funding for its expansion

Rothamsted Research in Harpenden has secured funding for its expansion - Credit: Image supplied

The world’s longest-running agricultural research station is set to grow after it was given the go-ahead to expand in Harpenden.

Rothamsted Research has been given approval to construct a new campus, with building to begin at its West Common-based centre in March.

Stephen James, associate director of operations, said the expansion would enable more “face-to-face” collaboration between researchers working at the centre, and visiting scientists.

St Albans district council’s approval of the development follows a major cash injection from the Government to financially back Rothamsted’s expansion.

The scheme includes a state-of-the-art conference and meeting centre to replace a decades-old lecture room.

It will include a 300-seat lecture theatre, and the facility will be available for use by local businesses and schools to hold various events.

A second building will provide office space and laboratories for collaboration between researchers from industry and academic scientists.

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Stephen said: “The intention is to get our scientific research used more widely, and put into practice.”

Rothamsted was established in 1843 and its work includes looking at arsenic uptake in rice to protect millions of people worldwide, changing the structure of vegetable milk to mimic human milk and finding ways to prevent insects from becoming resistant to chemical pesticides.

The Government is providing about £11 million towards the expansion, as part of its new agri-technology strategy to help drive economic growth.

Rothamsted’s new buildings will open in the middle of next year.