THE UK’s largest business-university collaboration has reached a major milestone with the “topping out” of the new marine technology and research centre at the University of Southampton.

The ground-breaking enterprise between Lloyd’s Register and the city’s university is transforming the campus’s former Boldrewood building into a £116m research hub, employing 400 staff and providing world-class facilities for marine-related research and development.

Richard Sadler, Lloyd’s Register’s chief executive, said: “The collaboration between industry and academia is vital for technical innovation.

“We want our new Group Technology Centre to lead the world in helping to develop the solutions that will support safer, cleaner, more efficient shipping and offshore activity.

“Our investment in this unique collaborative venture will benefit the UK employment market, its reputation for technology development and UK businesses in general.”

The Lloyd’s Register Group Technology Centre will be one of the cornerstones of the organisation’s global research and development network.

“With the completion of our new campus, the range of expertise in the marine and maritime sectors in Southampton will be unparalleled in the UK, and among the best in the world,” said Professor Don Nutbeam, vice-chancellor of the University of Southampton.

The first phase of the development is scheduled for completion in 2014.