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Highlight SRON: relocation from Utrecht to Leiden completed

The relocation of NWO Institute SRON, Netherlands Institute for Space Research, from Utrecht to the Leiden Bio Science Park has been completed. In October 2019, the first pile for the new building was driven into the ground and, subsequently, twenty intensive months of construction followed. The new building meets the long term needs of SRON: from complex cleanrooms to a massive low-vibration floor plate of 5000 cubic metres of concrete with 800 tonnes of reinforcement. It is hardly surprising that the building has similarities with the building of NWO Institute DIFFER in Eindhoven because architect Ector Hoogstad created both designs.

From the start of 2021 onwards, the first SRON colleagues gradually relocated from Utrecht to Leiden. These were mainly employees from the technical support departments. The rest, mostly colleagues in the office, followed last September. In that month, SRON’s new headquarters at the Leiden Bio Science Park became fully operational.

Special features of the SRON building include the complex cleanrooms and cryolabs, built on a massive low-vibration floor plate of 5000 cubic metres of concrete with 800 tonnes of reinforcement, and far away from disruptive electromagnetic radiation sources. In the cleanrooms, various activities take place at the same time: large machines are needed to produce sensors, in another part of the space, mechanical or electronic instruments are assembled and there is a test area too. The building, with a total area of about 9000 m2, also contains workshops, offices, meeting rooms and relaxation areas situated around a large atrium. The thought behind the atrium is that all SRON colleagues will regularly come across each other there, and that those moments of contact will engender many ideas and, ultimately, superb science.

The relocation of SRON’s headquarters is accompanied by a broader collaboration between SRON, Leiden University, TU Delft and various other knowledge partners. This collaboration is aimed at the most important research programmes of SRON: astrophysics, exoplanetary research, Earth observation and technology development. For more information, please see the SRON website.

Newsletter Inside NWO-I, December 2021

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