Work is set to get underway on Teesside University’s new research and innovation facility, with a commitment to sustainability underpinning the development.

The £13.1m industry-led Net Zero Industry Innovation Centre (NZIIC) will support the ongoing drive for clean energy and position Teesside firmly at the heart of the UK’s green industrial revolution, providing a focus for major investment.

And the ambition to achieve net zero is clear at every step of the project, including the appointment of Robertson as the main contractor.

Committed to being socially, economically and environmentally responsible, Robertson was one of the first UK businesses in the built environment to achieve carbon neutrality and has already moved beyond this to become climate positive and aims to invert its carbon footprint.

The NZIIC will be constructed using state-of-the-art techniques and materials to minimise the carbon footprint, including the deployment of new technologies and a zero-waste commitment.

Malcolm Page, Chief Operating Officer at Teesside University, said: “We are delighted to see work starting on our Net Zero Industry Innovation Centre and to have appointed Robertson as the main contractor.

“Teesside University is committed to becoming a Net Zero institution by 2030 and to powering the change we need to see across society.

“The commitment to sustainability and innovation shown by Robertson aligns perfectly with our own ethos, and we look forward to working in partnership with them to deliver a high-quality facility that supports our shared ambition.”

The NZIIC is the latest development in Teesside University’s campus masterplan, which has seen £275m invested to date. It is located at the expanding Tees Valley Net Zero Innovation Hub and has received £5.2 million in funding from the Tees Valley Mayor and Combined Authority and the European Regional Development Fund.

Garry Hope, Regional Managing Director, Robertson Construction North East, said: “Being a responsible business is embedded in all we do, and we are proud to deliver this new state-of-the-art facility for a customer who shares our values and commitment to net zero.

“The NZIIC will be among some of the first projects that we deliver achieving net zero status for its entire build programme. It is our responsibility alongside Teesside University to show how high-quality buildings create an environment which inspires and makes a wider contribution to sustainability through social impact, local economic benefits and the removal of carbon.”

Tees Valley Mayor Ben Houchen said: “It’s great to hear work will soon be kicking off on this all-important centre that will become a lynchpin of our net zero ambitions. It’s just one of many projects that’s seeing spades in the ground as 2022 is the year for construction.

“As we position our region as a powerhouse in the cleaner, safer and healthier industries of tomorrow, NZIIC will play a major part in that, supporting industry, leading innovation and spurring the creation of good-quality, well-paid jobs for local people.

“Much like the University’s National Horizons Centre has done for the biosciences sector, I’m sure the knowledge and expertise on offer at this new facility will drive forward advancements in this vital area.”

The NZIIC has an estimated completion date of Spring 2023 and it will play a vital role in the delivery of Net Zero ambitions for the region and the UK.