Page last updated at 10:58 GMT, Friday, 20 November 2009
New state-of-the-art pollen unit
Bee
A bee about to land on a sunflower to collect pollen

A new state-of-the-art science teaching and research facility is to open at the University of Worcester.

The building includes a high-tech environmental test chamber, capable of replicating almost any climate in the world.

The £7 million facility will be opened on 2 December by the University's Chancellor, HRH the Duke of Gloucester.

The unit produces all of the UK's pollen forecasts, and assists police through its forensic services.

The property housing the National Pollen and Aerobiology Research Unit (NPARU) will be called the Charles Darwin building.

Allergies

Professor David Green, the University of Worcester's Vice Chancellor, said: "This is an excellent addition to the University's leading edge research and teaching facilities.

"It opens up important new areas including, for example, microbiology and research into eye allergies.

"I have no doubt that the outcome of the research conducted here will practically benefit many people in the region and beyond, as well as provide an excellent training for our students.

"West Midlands firms will benefit, as we are able to test their products independently and help them eliminate allergens."

Professor John Newbury, Head of the University's Institute of Science and the Environment, added: "We are very excited to have this new state-of-the-art facility.

"It will provide our students with the high quality equipment needed by today's science graduates."

A dust mite
Millions of dust mites live in the home, feeding on shed skin cells

Forensics

The NPARU is dedicated to tackling environmental aspects of asthma, hayfever, and airborne allergens, such as pollen and house dust mite, both indoors and outdoors.

The unit also carries out work on behalf of the police, analysing pollen and airborne particles to gather evidence in serious crime cases, and this specialist unit will now expand its work within the new facility.

Professor Jean Emberlin, Director of the Unit, said: "The NPARU team is excited about the new building's world class facilities for research and commercial activity in aerobiology and allergy, microbiology, forensic palynology and related topics.

"In particular the controlled environment room, which can replicate most climatic conditions and has unique features, can be used for a wide range of work, such as aerosol and pollution research, testing materials and appliances, pathogen viability and allergens, and will enable NPARU to be a centre of excellence at the European level."

The project was supported by Advantage West Midlands and the Central Technology Belt.




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