Ground broken as FTC gets more good news

Vice-Chancellor Professor Graham Galbraith - watched by members of the University Executive Board and partner organisations - breaks the ground of the Future Technology Centre.

Vice-Chancellor Professor Graham Galbraith – watched by members of the University Executive Board and partner organisations – breaks the ground of the Future Technology Centre.

The ground has formally been broken for building of the Future Technology Centre (FTC), which will be welcoming its first students in autumn 2017.

The ceremony took place as news came in that the Solent Local Enterprise Partnership has agreed in principle to approve a £1.05m grant award from its Innovation Fund, to support the delivery of the FTC.

Professor Graham Galbraith takes charge.

Professor Graham Galbraith takes charge.

The FTC will be the hub for delivering the University’s unique BEng and MEng in innovation engineering, ensuring students gain hands-on experience with specialist technology in an industrial-standard training environment.

It is one part of the University’s strategic plans to train the next generation of engineers regionally. The strategy has a strong focus on promoting diversity and widening participation to help address the skills gap.

At the ground-breaking ceremony, Vice-Chancellor Professor Graham Galbraith was joined by University Board members and governors, and representatives from Brymor Construction Ltd and consultancy firm Faithful+Gould.

Professor Galbraith told them: “This is more than about a building. The FTC is part of how we are making our degrees more real. This is not only about being relevant to real-world issues, as shown by the FTC’s strategic agreements with multinational companies, Carl Zeiss Ltd and 3D Systems.

“It is about being relevant to an ever wider group of people. One of the biggest challenges facing the UK is attracting women into engineering. The FTC and the degrees it delivers will have a strong focus on addressing this challenge.”

FTC – key points

  • The FTC has strategic agreements with two large multinational companies (Carl Zeiss Ltd, in imaging technologies and 3D systems in additive manufacturing). The ability to fabricate and test a variety of advanced materials is already attracting interest from a number of industries regionally and internationally.
  • The £5 million HEFCE cash injection is the maximum amount permitted from the government pot of £200 million to fund Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) projects.
  • The Solent LEP £1.02m investment, agreed in principle, is intended to enhance the project by funding the delivery of a business engagement facility within the FTC, enabling the Centre to host local businesses, and providing them access to use the advanced technological assets to test products and train employees, supporting local businesses to grow.
  • The FTC is part of the University’s priority of growing STEM student numbers. The new  Advanced Materials Laboratories have been designed to broaden and expand recruitment to, and support the innovative problem-based learning curriculum. These changes are already making an impact with recruitment up by a quarter (25%) for 2016 entry to the MPhys Physics degree.

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