PLANS to construct a £50m research laboratory at the University of Reading have been given the go ahead.

The four-storey building will house purpose-built teaching and research facilities for the University's biology department and labs that can house 280 students – making it one of the largest hands-on teaching facilities in the UK.

Two of the floors will be dedicated to wet and dry research for 95 academic researchers and 145 doctoral students, with the Cole Museum of Zoology squeezed in amongst 7,557m2 of teaching and lab space.

The Whiteknights Campus build can now go ahead following planning approval by Wokingham and Reading Borough Councils.

Professor Steve Mithen, Deputy Vice-Chancellor, said: “The Health & Life Sciences building will provide a world-class suite of teaching and research facilities, enabling us to continue our tradition of outstanding teaching in biological sciences and pioneering research that addresses the global challenges in biomedical science.

“It is just one of several multi-million pound investments within our current building programme designed to sustain, and further enhance, Reading’s status as a world leading teaching and research intensive university.”

The new facility will be built where the engineering department currently stands, which is soon to be demolished along with the Knight and Harborne buildings and AMS Tower.

It is hoped the laboratory will be open by the summer of 2019.