UCLan plans £20m engineering centre
THE University of Central Lancashire (UCLan) plans to bring academia and industry together at a £20m engineering innovation centre (EIC) in Preston.
The university hopes it will support local businesses while helping to increase the number of engineering graduates.
Architects are now working drawings and it is hoped the facility will open its doors in 2018. It will have space for teaching, research and “knowledge exchange”.
Rob Wallace, dean of the School of Computing, Engineering and Physical Sciences, said: “The UCLan Engineering Innovation Centre is an ambitious and exciting project that will enable us to provide a long-term economic asset for the area by supporting the industries that are the foundations of Lancashire’s economy and play an important role in the UK’s industrial strategy.
“We also aim to inspire and create the next generation of highly-skilled engineering leaders, ready to take on the challenges and opportunities within the UK and global economies. For instance, by 2020 one in one in five young people in the UK will need to become an engineer if we are to close the skills gap. The EIC will help to address this demand and work with local schools and colleges to encourage more students to take up engineering as an attractive career option. We are particularly targeting women who are vastly under-represented in this field.”
Andrew Lewis, an aerodynamicist for the Williams Formula 1 motor racing team and a former UCLan student, said: “In the relatively short time since I graduated from UCLan I have come to learn and experience first-hand how valuable the transfer of knowledge is in industry. Motorsport is highly competitive and teams are very protective over their intellectual property. However in recent years we have seen the transfer of this knowledge in to other areas such as power, transportation and automotive markets.
“What is also clear is that diversity helps to deliver creativity. The lack of women in engineering can be considered as just one aspect of this, having a more diverse workforce in my opinion is only a good thing.”