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Her Royal Highness, The Princess Royal, opens £27m Edge Hill facility 

Building opening

June 7, 2022

Catalyst, the new £27m home for the library, careers and student services functions has been officially opened by Her Royal Highness The Princess Royal.

Edge Hill University's Vice Chancellor Dr John Cater presents HRH The Princess Royal with gingerbread from Ormskirk's Mr Thompsons Bakery
Edge Hill University’s Vice Chancellor Dr John Cater presents HRH The Princess Royal with gingerbread from Ormskirk’s Mr Thompsons Bakery

Her Royal Highness toured the state-of-the-art building and met with students, staff and alumni as well as key people involved in the development and construction of Catalyst before officially opening the building.

During her visit, Her Royal Highness had the opportunity to learn about research work in the Biology department which focuses on the eradication of major global health threats. This included work on insecticide resistance in mosquitos and research aimed at developing new antibiotics from strains of Streptomyces bacteria.

Professor Clare Austin, Director of Medical Education gave an overview of Edge Hill Medical School, which will train undergraduates from 2020 with a foundation year starting this year. Colleagues also demonstrated key clinical skills equipment.

Her Royal Highness viewed Remember Me, a multimedia art installation by Professor Helen Newall, exploring the fragmentation of memory and identity in the context of WWI. She examined a selection of items relating to the University’s history and links with the suffragette movement in the archive, viewed demonstrations by the student wellbeing and campus life teams and met student volunteers, scholarship winners and alumni. She also saw a rehearsal of a suffragette themed play and learned about the University’s work with Tate Liverpool.

Dr John Cater, Vice-Chancellor at Edge Hill, said: “The University is exceedingly proud of our iconic, state-of-the-art, Catalyst Building which is transforming learning and support opportunities for over ten thousand students. We’re exceedingly proud that Her Royal Highness, The Princess Royal, kindly and generously agreed to formally open this stunning facility.”

The Catalyst building has brought together several of Edge Hill’s student facing teams for the first time, giving them a prominent and highly visible presence at the heart of the campus.

The 8,000 square-metre space provides a 50 per cent increase in study spaces and houses 230,000 books on 5,000 shelves and its 24-hour opening gives students improved access to services.

Confidential interview spaces, meeting areas, group rooms and waiting areas have been designed to ensure users receive the best possible service and experience. An event space and new facilities allows the Careers Service to showcase job opportunities and host employer events alongside mock interviews, CV workshops and ongoing career advice and support.

Jacqui Howe, Head of Careers, said: “Since we moved into Catalyst we’ve seen an increase in the uptake of our services by students and increased engagement. As it houses the library, the building has a huge footfall and more students are dropping in to see us than ever before. We’re delighted that Her Royal Highness has met some of our fantastic volunteers today as volunteering is one of the main ways we help new students settle into university and the wider community. It not only gives them real transferable skills but also helps them make friends and grow in confidence.”

June 7, 2022