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Northumbria announces £6.7 million funding to drive STEM excellence

12th December 2014

THE next generation of scientists and engineers will benefit from ambitious new investment in world-class STEM education by Northumbria University, Newcastle.

The £6.7 million investment will be co-funded by the Higher Education Funding Council for England (HEFCE), as part of its £200 million scheme to increase high-quality Science Technology Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) students. The University will use the funding to create world-class teaching and research STEM facilities at its city campus, including new specialist laboratories and technology.  

The news comes as the Government prepares to announce its Science and Innovation Strategy. It also follows the recent launch of Northumbria’s £1.2 million Think Physics project to inspire more young people to engage in science and pursue STEM careers.

Northumbria University Vice Chancellor and Chief Executive, Professor Andrew Wathey said: “This investment of £6.7 million in STEM facilities, co-funded by Northumbria University and HEFCE, marks clearly the commitment of this University to driving world-class research and teaching across STEM disciplines, and to drive an increased flow of highly-employable graduates into industry.

“This week, the Government announced the results of the Science & Research Capital Consultation. This outlined how the government will spend £5.9 billion of science research capital from now until 2020/2021. Universities have a vital role to play in this strategy to ensure the UK remains one of the world’s leading scientific nations.

“Northumbria’s ongoing investment in developing world-class STEM provision reflects our responsiveness to this growing demand and to the growing collaborative opportunities, in both research and teaching, with industry.”   

HEFCE announced £200 million funding for 73 UK universities and colleges to ensure Higher Education responds effectively to the increase in demand for STEM studies by creating facilities that will support the development of a greater number of high-quality graduates into industry.

Linda Conlon, Chief Executive, International Centre for Life, said: “This is tremendous news from our partners Northumbria University who share with Life an ambition to enhance STEM provision in the region. We look forward to working with them on new and exciting projects which, when coupled with projects such as Think Physics and the MSc in Science Communication, will establish the North East as the place to be for the next generation of UK scientists, technologists, engineers and mathematicians.”

Last month, Northumbria launched its innovative Think Physics project on campus at a special event, featuring science experiments and examples of STEM research, which was attended by guests including Newcastle MP Chi Onwurah.

Chi, who has a degree in electrical engineering, said: “STEM skills are critical for the future economy of the country and particularly the North East with our industrial and manufacturing basis. Today's announcement is great news underlining ?Newcastle’s position as a destination for great STEM education and Northumbria's growing role in that.”

Executive Dean for Engineering and Environment, Professor Glen McHale, said: “I am extremely pleased our bid has been successful and that we will see an investment totalling £6.7 million over the next two years, co-funded by HEFCE. This will be used to invest in learning and teaching facilities at our city campus, creating new laboratories, purchasing the latest technology and equipment, and refurbishing our existing buildings, with the aim of transforming our campus into a world-class beacon for STEM.”  

Think Physics Director Dr Carol Davenport added: “Think Physics aims to encourage more young people, particularly girls, to study science-related courses at university. It is great news that Northumbria will be able to provide even better opportunities and facilities for those students who choose to do their STEM undergraduate degrees here.”

Northumbria offers a range of undergraduate and postgraduate courses in STEM disciplines across a number of its departments. To find out more click here or go to www.northumbria.ac.uk

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