Press Releases

Lord Sainsbury to open New Research Facility for Meteorology and Psychology – University of Reading

Release Date : 07 May 2004

Minister for Science and Innovation Lord Sainsbury will attend The University of Reading on Friday 14 May to unveil a new research facility for meteorology and psychology. The state-of-the-art £5million facility, funded by the Science Research Infrastructure Fund (SRIF) and the University, will confirm the two departments' position as UK leaders in their respective fields, engaging in research that benefits the people of Reading and the wider public. In Meteorology, the facility houses the NERC Data Assimilation Research Centre (DARC), which combines Earth observation data with leading edge numerical models, to provide our 'best' view of the state of the atmosphere. It will help improve weather forecasting and our understanding of climate change and ozone depletion. Along with the Directorate of the NERC Centres for Atmospheric Science, a Satellite Applications group from the Met Office is based in the facility. Their remit is similar to DARC's, but more focused on using satellite data to improve weather forecasts. Other Meteorology staff housed in the building use data from the ground and satellite to sense clouds and rainfall events. Others work on the study of convection and developing novel computational methods to improve the accuracy of climate models. In Psychology, the new resources in the facility will help strengthen the University's admirable record of research into ageing and child development. For example, there are resources for assessing patients with Parkinson's Disease. The School of Psychology will maintain its cutting-edge research into infant development and childhood disorders with a laboratory for recording the brain activity of infants and adults during problem-solving, facilities for observing children in social contexts and equipment for the precise recording of co-ordination in children with co-ordination problems. There are also facilities for simulating driving tasks and tracking the looking patterns of drivers. Vice-Chancellor, Professor Gordon Marshall CBE, said: "This new facility will add considerably to the science research capabilities of the University. It reflects the University's strong commitment to innovative academic investigation, and will confirm Reading's reputation as a centre for research excellence." During his visit, Lord Sainsbury will unveil a plaque to celebrate the opening of the research facility and hear talks from leading Reading academics about recent science research highlights at the University. Members of the press are invited to attend the visit from 11.30am on Friday 14 May at the Psychology foyer, Whiteknights campus, University of Reading. Please contact Craig Hillsley, Press Officer on 0118 378 7388 or email to confirm attendance. End Media Programme for Lord Sainsbury's visit 11.30am - Lord Sainsbury's tour of new research facility 12 noon - Opening ceremony for New Research Facility in new Psychology foyer 1.30pm - Poster display in Meteorology foyer 2pm-3pm - Talks on Science at Reading in room GU01 For maps of the campus, please see Notes for editors: The University of Reading is a globally renowned research and teaching institution with around 15,000 students and 4,000 staff. It is one of the top 20 research universities in the UK. In the most recent Research Assessment Exercise, 15 departments were awarded an RAE rating of 5, and five departments were designated 5*. The University consistently achieves well in the National Quality Assurance Agency teaching standards assessments, with many departments scoring 23 or 24 points, out of the 24. The Department of Meteorology is a world-leading centre of excellence in the atmospheric sciences. With an RAE rating of 5*, it is the only UK Department to offer a full range of undergraduate and postgraduate courses in the atmospheric sciences. The Department has close research and training links with the European Centre for Medium Range Weather Forecasts and the UK Meteorological Office. The School of Psychology has a long-standing reputation for excellence in experimental psychology, perception, learning, memory and skilled performance. It has also achieved a 5* rating in the RAEs. The School has been very successful in attracting external research funding, with grant income averaging around £1million per annum.


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