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Last Updated: Tuesday, 26 July 2005, 13:38 GMT 14:38 UK
Science research centre approved
Artist's impression of the Institute of Life Science facility at Swansea University
Researchers at the new centre will study biological sciences
Plans for a 50m research centre with a super computer called Blue C have been approved by Swansea planners.

Swansea University said its Institute of Life Science will be at the cutting edge of biology-based research.

The six-storey building includes a business centre aimed at encouraging the commercial exploitation of ideas developed by campus scientists.

Blue C, the size of a tennis court, is said to be one of the most powerful computers for this kind of research.

The institute is set to be the research arm of the university's expanding School of Medicine.

It will house up to 350 specialist professors, scientists and researchers in fields such as reproductive biology, diabetes and social psychiatry.

In addition, it will also host Blue C, in a laboratory incorporating an area called the Virtual Reality Cave.

Computer cabling
The super computer Blue C will be based at the institute building

The deal to create Blue C was a partnership between the Welsh assembly, Swansea University and international computer giant IBM.

Currently based in the English midlands, the computer is capable of processing in 40 seconds data which would take some of its rivals up to two days.

Construction of the institute building is due to be finished by the end of 2006.

Swansea University Vice Chancellor Professor Richard B Davies said: "We are confident that work on the Institute will progress quickly and that the state-of-the-art facilities it houses will be ready for occupation by the end of next year, enabling the School of Medicine's researchers to push forward with their work."

Professor Julian Hopkin, the Head of School of Medicine and the Institute of Life Science, said: "The work we will carry out there really does have the potential to save lives in the future."

Economic Development Minister Andrew Davies said: "The Institute of Life Science is of international significance and will have a major impact both in terms of cutting-edge medical research and in its impact on the local economy."


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