Breaking the ground for New Ångström
At last the shovels were dug into the pile of sand outside the Ångström Laboratory and the construction of New Ångström was officially started. “Here we’ll create learning environments and meeting places of highest international standard”, said Johan Tysk, Vice Rector at the Disciplinary Domain of Science and Technology.
Despite the chilly morning, more than 200 curious spectators had gathered at Polacksbacken on 2 October for the groundbreaking ceremony. In front of the main entrance, non-alcoholic sparkling drinks were served and music performed by student orchestra Tupplurarna. On one side of the bicycle stands, a large pile of sand lay waiting.
The upcoming expansion is in great demand, according to Vice-Chancellor Eva Åkesson. The Ångström Laboratory is in much need of classrooms equipped for modern educational methods and workplaces, particularly as the Department of Information Technology will be moving in from across the road.
“30,000 new square metres will be added. This will strengthen the joint activities and provide many important cooperation opportunities and synergies for all who work and study here, as well as for other parts of the University,” she said in her speech.
Vice Rector Johan Tysk also stressed the importance of the expansion for Uppsala city and the region. Calculations show that the number of inhabitants in the region could increase by 140,000 people in 15–20 years. This makes collaborations between the University, the industry and society to a concern for the whole region, facilitated by New Ångström. At the same time it increases the University’s appeal.
"We’ll have an international meeting place of the highest standard and research of international excellence. So with these first shovels, I want to add: let’s get cracking!”
New space for information technology
Behind the construction of a new wing, building 9, and an entirely new building 10 lies the idea of increased collaboration across departments. Above all, education and research within information technology will be closer to the other activities at the Ångström Laboratory. The move is a boost for the department’s interdisciplinary collaborations, according to Ingela Nyström, Professor in Visualisation at the Division of Visual Information and Interaction. In addition, the department will finally acquire new appropriate premises.
“We’ve had our current ones for 30 years and they’ve been great, but not anymore. At New Ångström, we will be able to receive new students and recruit new people which will allow us to continue developing IT,” said Ingela Nyström and continued:
“Our department will be situated on the upper floors of building 10, and at the lower levels, we’ll have the opportunity to develop special labs around social robotics and visualisation. These shall be visible to all students, not just to those at our department. In this way, there will be an interdisciplinary setting with meeting places for all subjects with IT components.”
Also present was local manager Simon Högberg from NCC, a 2013 graduate from the Bachelor Programme in Construction Engineering at the Ångström Laboratory.
“Now that NCC is involved in the construction of New Ångström, there are very good opportunities for mutual exchange. We usually accept 2–3 trainees per year from the programme in construction engineering to do project work and who eventually become employed at NCC.”
Recently, all freshmen taking the programme in construction engineering made a first visit to NCC’s workplace at the Ångström Laboratory. But Simon Högberg would also like contacts to open up in the other direction.
“We would like to have an exchange with builders like us getting into the University and learning more about what is happening here at Ångström. If we’re talking about for example electrification, the research on solar cells at the Ångström is very advanced. We’re still only getting started, but I hope we’ll get the chance to develop many different collaborations.”
Building 9 is expected to be ready in Autumn 2020 and building 10 in Spring 2022.