Roche and Gilead Announce New Labs

This year, the first edition of IBO’s biannual article on new labs reports the construction of several academic, government and industrial labs. The table on page 3 shows some of the largest buildings for academic research in the sciences that have been approved or are already under construction, as well as new labs in the biotechnology industry. In addition, new facilities for energy, including oil and gas, forensics, and food and agriculture are described.


Two universities in the US have begun projects as a result of public-private partnerships. In March, the University of Wyoming broke ground on its High Bay Research Facility, a 90,000 ft2, $53.5 million building for campus energy programs. According to the University, it will be used for oil and gas research and include flexible lab space, as well office and meeting areas. The facility will house the Center of Innovation for Flow in Porous Media, the Improved Oil Recovery Laboratory, the Geomechanical/Petrology Laboratory and the Structures Research Laboratory. The project has received $37.2 million from the state, and $16.3 million as well as $9.2 million for research equipment from private corporate donors.

Montana Tech announced a ground breaking this month on its new Natural Resources Research Center. The three-story, 32,000 ft2 building was funded with $5 million from three energy companies and $5 million from the state. The building will house labs for undergraduate and graduate programs in natural resources and energy. The building’s planned opening is in fall 2016. The site will include labs for petroleum and nanotechnology research as well as an energy lab. It will also include a lab for testing wood and composites. It will also provide areas for student projects.

Shell Malaysia is building an upstream oil and gas lab in Lutong, Sarawak. It is scheduled to be completed by the end of 2016 at a cost of more than MYR 8 million ($2.2 million = MYR 3.63 = $1). The facility will be used for analyzing samples for the company’s programs in deepwater exploration and production. The lab will enable analysis of more than 50 parameters for purposes including QC and product optimization. It will also support the needs of the company’s partners. According to the Borneo Post, the facility may also be used to accommodate the community for testing contaminated water and oil spills.

Crime and Forensics

Several labs for forensic analysis have been announced in the US and India. In Houston, Texas, construction has begun on a new facility for the Harris County Institute of Forensic Sciences. The $65 million, nine-story building will cover 200,000 ft2 and house clinical, lab, teaching, public and administrative areas. The building will feature an open-lab design to facilitate collaboration between the Medical Examiner and Crime Laboratory Services. The new facility will support forensic analysis that includes drug chemistry, gunshot-residue and paint analysis, histology, pathology and toxicology. The facility will also include a training room for hands-on teaching. Ground was broken in October 2014, and construction is expected to be completed in early 2017.

Edneyville, North Carolina, will also get a new crime lab. The 36,000 ft2, $16.8 million building will enable toxicology, DNA and other types of analyses. Ground breaking is expected this summer, with construction to take about two years. The lab will accommodate 52 employees, including 10 new positions each in toxicology and DNA analysis.

India’s Ministry of Home Affairs has announced plans for several forensics labs. Under the XII Five Year Plan, the government will establish three new Central Forensic Science Laboratories in Pune, Bhopal and Guwahati. Labs in Chandigarh, Hyderabad and Kolkata will be expanded and modernized. The budget for these projects totals INR 279.9 crore ($44.5 million = INR 62.9 = $1). According to the Pune Mirror, the Pune lab will include facilities for DNA analysis, and narcotics, explosives and ballistic testing.

Agriculture and Food

Also planned are labs for food and agriculture. The University of Arkansas will establish the Don Tyson Center for Agricultural Sciences in Fayetteville, with construction to begin this year. The completion date of the $16.3 million, multistory, 60,000 ft2 building has not yet been determined. The University stated that the Center would facilitate improved methods of producing food and protecting natural resources. Its labs will conduct research on water quality as well as plant, animal and watershed sustainability. The facility will also include greenhouses and an exhibit hall, and provide public programs.

The University of Georgia has broken ground on its new Food Technology Center on its Griffin campus. The Food Product Innovation and Commercialization (FoodPIC) Center will be located in the $5.5 million, 14,500 ft2 facility. According to the University, the building will include labs for hot and cold temperature work, QC labs, pilot plants and administrative offices. Chemists, consumer sensory scientists and microbiologists are among the FoodPIC staff. University and industry personnel will use the facility to promote the development of food products, safe processing of food and preparation of pilot plants. Completion of the Center is planned for 2016.

The US Embassy in Ghana has reported that the US Agency for International Development has broken ground on the Ghana Seed Inspection Unit in Tamale. The Embassy has indicated that the lab will use international standards to test seeds to ensure a high-quality seed supply to farmers in Ghana. Labs for seed inspection will also be constructed in the country’s Upper East and Upper West regions, according to the Embassy.

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