Work at UKAEA site begins to boost robotics research

RACE Extension CGI

Midas Construction has begun work on the extension of an Oxfordshire research facility that will boost the development of robotics work in extreme industrial environments.

The design and construction of the new three storey extension will bring added benefits to the UK Atomic Energy Authority’s centre for Remote Applications in Challenging Environments (RACE) which conducts collaborative research and development with both academia and industry in the field of robotics and autonomous systems.

When complete, the project will provide open plan office spaces, meeting rooms, ‘quiet pods’ and multi-purpose areas. RACE will use the extension to continue its expansion following rapid growth since the launch of its first building in 2016.

UKAEA is focused on developing a fusion power plant. Such a power plant will be remotely operated. RACE leads on designing plant for remote operation and maintenance.

Rob Buckingham, Director of RACE, said: “The intention is to create over 100 highly skilled jobs, improve collaboration and build a globally significant robotics cluster in Oxfordshire. Robotics is a key part of the Government’s Industrial Strategy and RACE will play a leading role in delivering this vision, for fusion, for the nuclear sector as a whole and for the wider emerging robotics community.”

Derek Quinn, Executive Director at Midas Construction, said“We are pleased to be continuing our relationship with UKAEA to deliver this scheme, which will have a far-reaching impact on the development of robotic technology. When complete, the extension will operate alongside the existing RACE building to offer inspiring work and interactive spaces as well as supporting the successful growth of RACE’s robotics operations.

“This latest scheme follows a series of project wins for Midas in the Oxford area as we continue to expand our operations across the region.”

Midas has previously worked alongside UKAEA and the Science and Technology Facilities Council (STFC) on an £8million new hi-tech apprenticeship centre. Aiming to provide 125 highly skilled technicians a year, the recently completed Oxfordshire Advanced Skills (OAS) training academy will help tackle the skills shortages facing hi-tech and engineering companies in Oxfordshire by raising the quality and standard of local apprenticeships.

In addition, the company has recently completed Culham Science Centre’s Connected and Autonomous Vehicle units; as well as securing a place on the prestigious University of Oxford Capital Projects Partner Framework.

Midas delivers projects for customers across a range of sectors including; retail, education, residential and commercial developments, and has offices throughout the South of England, Midlands and Wales.

The company’s strategy is to be the contractor of choice in the areas in which it operates, through development of long-term relationships via delivery of its vision to be ‘leaders in customer service and performance’. It is a strategy which is already showing success with more than 75% of the Group’s projects being carried out on a repeat business basis.