New state of the art building for Chemical Engineering

Students, researchers and industry partners set to benefit from the $200M investment

In 2019, UNSW Chemical Engineering will be relocating to the brand new, nine-storey, $200M, Science and Engineering Building. The new building will deliver a world class research and teaching environment, providing purpose-built modern facilities.  Topping out ceremony held on 20th June

“The basement, ground floor and level 1 will deliver dedicated teaching and learning spaces and Chemical Engineering laboratories,” says Associate Professor Kondo-Francois Aguey-Zinsou, who has been involved in the three-year process to design and plan the new facility.

“The focus of teaching activity around the ground floor and adjacent campus environment is key to UNSW’s world-class status and the ambition of providing a rich student experience,” he continues.

These levels will house the recent one-million-dollar investment UNSW Chemical Engineering has made in teaching equipment, much of which is fully integrated with online tools. “We are moving to a new blended teaching environment in recognition of the fact that there are some activities which don’t require students to be on campus,” Aguey-Zinsou says.

This gives students the freedom to learn things in their own time so that when they do come to campus they will benefit from richer experiences in the labs, practicing the theory and spending time on experiments. In addition, students will have access to a large open-plan space where they can work on their own projects, develop their own products and practice entrepreneurship.

We on a global stage and having this new facility will enable us to attract the best talent in terms of students, researchers, industry and international collaborations.

Professor Vicki Chen, Head of School, UNSW Chemical Engineering

“This offers a very powerful way for students to engage with teaching and learning activities, and gain valuable hands-on experience,” Aguey-Zinsou continues. “There will be also be lounges and small rooms where they can work in groups and facilitate their own learning.”

For researchers, the contemporary laboratory and workplace design will allow for maximum flexibility, shared use of equipment and specialised space. It will also result in improved efficiency and reliability of plant and equipment.

Professor Vicki Chen, Head of School, says a lot of thought has been given to the allocation of space and specifically designed to bring research clusters together. “The infrastructure has been tailored to particular types of research areas with integrated facilities. This will allow us to be flexible about how we use our space, as well getting people to interact more closely together,” she says.

“We designed our labs by topology. We will have a floor that’s dedicated to high-pressure, high-intensity laboratory work, we have one whole floor that’s a wet chemistry lab with supporting infrastructure, and we’ve got two great bio labs, one for environmental technology and one for food and health,” she continues.

This reorganisation of lab space into topology of research interest is what excites Aguey-Zinsou the most about the new facility. “This will enable many more opportunities for the cross-pollination of ideas,” he says.

The Mark Wainwright Analytical Centre will also be embedded in the new building which Chen is thrilled about. “This means we will have easy access to a range of complementary analytical facilities right next to our labs,” she continues.

Chen explains that the new building will be a flagship of Chemical Engineering research and teaching in Australia and will do much to boost UNSW’s reputation. “We on a global stage and having this new facility will enable us to attract the best talent in terms of students, researchers, industry and international collaborations,” she says.

Can you help?

We are looking for donors to support this important project. If you are interested in supporting the School of Chemical Engineering please contact:


Written by: Penny Jones

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