Cambridge, United Kingdom, July 11, 2000 — Microsoft Research Limited (MRL) today broke ground on the site of its new research laboratory in Cambridge, United Kingdom, confirming the company’s commitment to advancing groundbreaking research in Europe. The new laboratory is one of the first buildings to be constructed on the University of Cambridge’s major new science and technology site, West Cambridge, which will act as a pioneering center for research collaboration.
Microsoft and Cambridge University officials break ground on new research lab.
“The new building represents a significant investment by Microsoft and re-affirms Cambridge’s status as a global center of excellence for research,”
said Professor Roger Needham, managing director of Microsoft Research Limited.
“It will ensure we continue to recruit some of the best researchers in the world, providing them with an environment that will allow them to push forward the boundaries of computer science.”
The new building will enable Microsoft Research, involved in a range of projects including computer vision, machine learning, information retrieval, programming languages, networks, hardware systems and security, to build on its current reputation as a leader in the field of basic computer science research. Currently, 55 researchers are employed, with plans to grow to 180 by 2005. According to Needham, Microsoft’s new research laboratory has been designed to facilitate and encourage the cooperative style of working that is part of its success. In addition to single offices for the majority of employees, it also features large public areas, including an enclosed atrium and lecture theater.
Plans for the building were submitted in December 1999, but the process was delayed when it was found that the site was of archaeological significance. Several thousand artifacts were subsequently recovered from a dig undertaken by the Cambridge Archaeological Unit and funded jointly by Microsoft.
The new research lab also reaffirms the strong research partnership between Microsoft and Cambridge University. The new headquarters will be built next to the university’s own new Computer Laboratory building, currently under construction following a substantial donation by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. Both buildings are expected to be open by late 2001.
“The partnership between Microsoft and the university is a superb example of how we as a university see our relationship with companies in the digital age,”
said Sir Alec Broers, vice chancellor of the University of Cambridge.
“In building its new Research Laboratory on the same site as our own Computer Laboratory, Microsoft is publicly acknowledging Cambridge’s reputation as a center of excellence for computing science. I have no doubt that by working together closely in the future, they will be able to push forward the boundaries of computing science even further.”