University of Oxford: Construction gets underway at Oxford’s Life and Mind Building

Legal & General, Oxford University and Wates are pleased to announce that construction has started on the ‘Life and Mind Building’ in Oxford, as part of Legal & General and Oxford University’s £4bn partnership.

This building represents the largest building project ever undertaken on behalf of the University, and will be its largest teaching and research facility, significantly improving the way that biology and psychology are taught in Oxford. This will help scientists in the Departments of Biology and Experimental Psychology solve some of our major global challenges.

Image showing Sir James Wates, Chairman at Wates Construction Group; Professor Louise Richardson, Vice-Chancellor of the University of Oxford; Nigel Wilson, Chief Executive of Legal & General breaking ground at new Life and Mind Building
Wates, Oxford University and Legal & General break ground
Legal & General entered into a £4bn partnership with the University of Oxford in June 2019, forming Oxford University Development (OUD) in order to provide thousands of new homes for staff and students, incubator space for research and businesses and academic facilities such as the Life and Mind Building. This is the first project within the partnership to start being developed.
Wates have been appointed as the main contractor to deliver the NBBJ-designed Life and Mind Building, which is due to open in 2024. The building situated at the gateway to the Oxford’s Science Area, replaces the Tinbergen building which closed in February 2017. The building covers 25,000 sqm, set over two wings containing laboratory and office accommodation with a central atrium and lower floor teaching centre. The design will provide maximal flexibility and foster collaboration between departments.

The construction of this new building will transform the educational experience for students, provide laboratories for students and researchers, as well as lecture theatres, specialised support laboratories and opportunities for public engagement. The new building will also aim to facilitate the University’s schools and public outreach programmes through opportunities for art, exhibitions, lectures and conferences, offering a ‘window into science’.

By building out a network of high-quality research and innovation facilities similar to this building, the partnership will seek to retain talent in the city, boost the economy and support spin-out and scale-up businesses. As an example of the network and creating a world-class science arena, it was announced early this year that INEOS, one of the world’s largest manufacturing companies, and the University of Oxford are launching a new world-leading institute to combat the growing global issue of antimicrobial resistance. This is the cause of an estimated 1.5 million excess deaths each year- and could cause over 10m deaths per year by 2050. The INEOS Oxford Institute will create collaborative and cross-disciplinary links across the sciences, and will be based between two sites in Oxford, linking the new Life & Mind Building and the University’s Department of Chemistry.

Image of Professor Louise Richardson, Vice-Chancellor of the University of Oxford speaking at the ground breaking of the new Life and Mind Building
‘This ground breaking for the new Life and Mind Building marks an important day for Oxford research’ – Professor Louise Richardson, Vice-Chancellor of the University of Oxford
Demonstrating how Legal & General’s diverse skillsets and capital streams can be put to work, the Life and Mind Building is being funded by long-term annuity money from Legal & General’s retirement business, with Legal & General Capital acting as Developer and LGIM Real Assets as Development Manager.
Professor Louise Richardson, Vice-Chancellor of Oxford University:

‘This ground breaking for the new Life and Mind Building marks an important day for Oxford research. It will bring together scientists, scholars and students from all over the world, and from a wide range of disciplines, to push at the frontiers of knowledge and to find solutions to global problems. We are delighted that our partnership with Legal and General is making it possible.’

Nigel Wilson, Chief Executive at Legal & General:

‘I am delighted to be at The Life and Mind Building today and see us break ground. Not only will this building provide students with a modern, state-of-the-art facility that helps continue the University of Oxford’s legacy as one of the world’s most pre-eminent teaching institutions, it also marks the start of our first development in our partnership with the University of Oxford.

‘We are extremely proud of our partnership with the University which will help retain talent in the city, whilst driving essential inward investment and providing opportunities for world-leading innovation as well as much needed housing for key workers. By facilitating investment the UK’s regional cities, we are creating a virtuous cycle whereby pensions and savings are used to create positive social, environmental and economic outcomes which are in line with our commitment to Inclusive Capitalism.’

Paul Chandler, Executive Managing Director at Wates Construction Group:

‘We are proud to be delivering the Science and Research facilities for Oxford Universities Life and Mind Building, a place that will foster cutting edge innovation and collaboration amongst the brightest of minds so they can continue to attract the best talent from across the world.’