The Royal Society has purchased the historic stately home (pictured) and plans to develop it to establish a new residential centre where scientists from all over the world will discuss and develop their work.
The Grade I Listed building has been purchased for £6.5 million and the Royal Society, supported by the Kavli Foundation, will be investing a further substantial sum in developing the hall and the surrounding buildings. The Kavli Royal Society International Centre is due to open next year – copinciding with the Royal Society’s 350th anniversary – and will create around 30 jobs.
The redevelopment is also expected to create a significant number of shorter term jobs and will see investment in improving local access and road safety.
Royal Society executive secretary Stephen Cox said: “The Kavli Royal Society Centre will bring some of the world’s greatest scientific minds to North Buckinghamshire. In bringing these people together in a residential atmosphere we hope to create the sort of intense thinking and activity that gave rise to major breakthroughs such as the Apollo project or the decoding of the human genome.
“We will also be bringing a new lease of life to this fabulous building. The local community have been very supportive of our plans and we hope that our arrival can give a boost to the local economy and local businesses in the short and longer term. We will also be looking at ways which local people might benefit from the facilities.”
The Royal Society, based in London, already hosts a wide range of scientific meetings and events. The new Kavli Royal Society Centre at Chicheley Hall will provide an extension of that programme of activities including residential conferences focusing on various science and policy issues, seminars and debates, workshops which will include intensive break-out groups hosted by Fellows and Research Fellows of the Royal Society among other events.
Past Fellows of the Royal Society have included Isaac Newton and Robert Boyle and current Fellows include Stephen Hawking and David Attenborough.