Sep 17, 2019 Last Updated 10:52 AM, Aug 14, 2019

A passivhaus first for the University of Leicester

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The University of Leicester has officially opened the George Davies Centre, its new cutting-edge medical teaching and research building, named in honour of the Fashion Retailer George Davies and opened by Sir David Attenborough OM and Michael Attenborough CBE.


It represents the largest investment in medical teaching and applied research by a UK university in the last decade. George Davies is the Founder of high-street brands Next (based in Leicestershire), George at Asda and Per Una for Marks & Spencer. He joined the Attenboroughs, other philanthropic donors, senior management of the university, representatives from local healthcare organisations and staff and students of the College of Life Sciences in celebrating this landmark building.

Acting as a hub to bring together, for the first time, the university’s leading academics, researchers, clinicians and students, the George Davies Centre will completely transform medical teaching and improve the lives of many patients in the region and beyond. Housing the university’s medical school, the school of psychology and department of health sciences, it will provide an environment for cultivating applied research that will be at the forefront of improved patient safety and the fight against chronic disease.

The centre was made possible through the generosity of many donors, a number of whom are recognised throughout the building through the naming of lecture theatres and rooms. These include the Samworth Foundation, Naresh and Bina Popat, the Leicestershire & Rutland Masonic Charity Association, the Thakrar Family/HKS Motors, the Edith Murphy Foundation, Bhikhu and Saroj Hindocha, Bridget Towle, Next PLC, the Garfield Weston Foundation and the Masonic Charitable Foundation.

Other donors are recognised through their gifts to the Wladyslaw Sluckin Memorial Fund Appeal, the Sir Robert and Lady Burgess Teaching Fund and contributions made by University of Leicester alumni and medics.

The building’s completion coincides with the introduction of Leicester Medical School’s innovative new curriculum, which puts patients at the heart of healthcare education.

The centre will provide a space for public engagement, including a mental health campaign display linked to a public engagement campaign. There will also be a display celebrating women in science and medicine as part of the university’s role as a HeForShe IMPACT Champion. The £42m building, which incorporated investment from the University of Leicester and an ambitious fundraising appeal, is a state-of-the-art, multi-award-winning building that is the largest non-residential building in the UK to meet the Passivhaus certification for sustainability and energy performance.

Professor Paul Boyle, President and Vice Chancellor of the University of Leicester, said: “The George Davies Centre is a landmark in both building design and in the development of medical education and research here at the University of Leicester. As we invite George Davies, Sir David Attenborough and Michael Attenborough to officially open the building, I am delighted to be able to celebrate those who have played a part in accomplishing both of these goals.

“This ground-breaking building has been made possible by the generous support of our donors, who I would like to thank personally. In making a commitment to this project they have also played a vital role in nurturing future generations of clinicians and researchers working at the cutting-edge.”

Professor Philip Baker, Pro Vice Chancellor and Head of the College of Life Sciences, said: “We are delighted to celebrate the official opening of the new George Davies Centre. Designed to bring together the university’s leading academics, researchers, clinicians and students it provides teaching rooms, offices, lecture theatres, dry lab research facilities and support spaces.

“The new facility delivers a new ‘rapid response’ curriculum for training tomorrow’s doctors along with being the home of our psychology and health sciences students. The centre will become a central hub speeding the translation of research to real-world improvements for patient treatment so it is especially fitting to name the building after George Davies, whose generous donation has enabled a new limb salvage clinic to be opened and the university to invest in new research.”

Bill Friar, Director of Development and Alumni Relations at the University of Leicester, said: “The University of Leicester was established nearly 100 years ago through gifts, large and small, made by the local community to honour loved ones who served and in many cases died in World War I. The university is a living memorial to their sacrifice, and has as its mission a commitment to improving the lives of future generations.”


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