UK-based property, residential, construction and services group Kier is to build two facilities in a £135 million (€154.94 million) project at Cardiff University’s £300 million (€344.32 million) Innovation Campus (CIC) in Wales.

One will house SPARK, said to be the world’s first social science research park, and the Innovation Centre, a creative space for start-ups, spin-outs and partnership working.

The other will be home to scientific research establishments, the Institute for Compound Semiconductors and Cardiff Catalysis Institute.

The scheme will also include a bridge linking Cardiff Business School with CIC. Work is due to complete in 2018.

Kier secured the contract under the South and Mid Wales Collaborative Construction (Sewscap 2) framework, and the company has committed to supporting employment, training, and apprenticeship and development opportunities in the local area.

This includes local employment and skills development opportunities, subcontracting local SMEs, and providing opportunities for young people via apprenticeships. Cardiff University students will be offered work placement opportunities.

Anthony Irving, managing director of Kier Construction Western & Wales, said, “This contract brings together our national, sector-leading experience in the science and technology field and our local expertise, building on Kier’s strong presence in Cardiff and the wider Wales region.”

Professor Hywel Thomas, pro vice chancellor for research, innovation and engagement, added, “The two new buildings will be home to world-leading research centres with the power not only to unlock the economic potential of catalysis and compound semiconductors, but to harness the application of social science to solve pressing global problems.

“We are investing in people and places to build partnerships that create growth.”

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