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Government and industry support future engineers

12 January 2010

Industry and government are joining forces to back what is claimed to be the first purpose-built engineering school in the UK for more than 20 years. The University of Lincoln has received cash backing from Siemens as well as local and national support totalling £7.3 million.

East Midlands Development Agency (emda), through the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) and Lincolnshire County Council (LCC), has confirmed an investment of more than £3m in the new facility. This is in addition to the £4.3m grant from the Higher Education Funding Council for England (HEFCE) announced in July and major investment by Siemens.

The additional funding will enable the creation of an Engineering Hub that will work closely with engineering businesses.

Diana Gilhespy, emda’s executive director of Regeneration, said: “Advanced engineering is an important sector in the Lincolnshire and East Midlands economy, and it forms a large part of the county’s employment base. This is why we are investing in the construction of the Engineering Hub, which we anticipate will create 129 jobs and enable up to 68 new businesses improve their performance within the first two years of the facility opening. By bringing businesses and the University closer together, we also aim to boost innovation and help smaller engineering companies get the right support to develop new products and stay ahead of their competitors.”

It is hoped that small to medium enterprises in the region will benefit significantly from the Hub, which will focus on engaging with employers in technology transfer, research and development and knowledge exchange, in order to enhance business competitiveness and the regional economy.

The academic expertise of the University of Lincoln and the industrial know-how of Siemens Industrial Turbomachinery Limited will come together under one roof alongside a portfolio of leading national and international industrial partners.

Professor Paul Stewart, head of the School of Engineering, said: "The founding of the new School is extremely timely, addressing the fundamental issues of power and energy production, energy conversion and distribution, and ultimately delivery of a low carbon economy.

"My personal vision is for the new School to have international status and impact, to contribute to the UK economy at both local and national level, and above all to equip and develop our staff and students for the rigours of an as yet unknown and exciting technological future."

Professor Andrew Atherton, pro vice chancellor - Strategy and Enterprise at the University of Lincoln, said: "The new School of Engineering has come out of partnership. Working closely with Siemens Industrial Turbomachinery and the advanced engineering cluster around Lincoln, the University has developed a truly innovative approach to high quality, engaged and relevant higher education.

"The School is already supported by pump-priming investment from HEFCE. This strategic investment from ERDF, emda and Lincolnshire County Council will ensure that a state-of-the-art facility focused on industrial power and energy, combustion and turbomachinery will be made available to engineering businesses across the region."

David Hart, chairman of Lincolnshire Enterprise, which advises Lincolnshire County Council on Economic Regeneration, added: “We were delighted to recommend that Lincolnshire County Council supports the School of Engineering. It will provide high quality training to the workforce of engineering firms in Lincolnshire and beyond, helping them to succeed and grow their businesses.”

Construction of the new School is planned to start in 2010, with the facility opening in 2011.


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