The University of Central Lancashire (UCLan) has been awarded more than £10 million from the Lancashire Enterprise Partnership towards its flagship Engineering Innovation Centre (EIC) due to open in 2018.
The £10.5 million cash injection, which takes the overall funding pot for the state-of-the-art engineering facility to over £30 million, is part of the Government’s historic Growth Deal which has promised to invest more than £250 million in Lancashire. Employment Minister Esther McVey MP visited UCLan to announce the funding.
She said: “This money will give Lancashire an extra boost as one of the major engineering and manufacturing areas in the UK. It’ll support more opportunities for local people, including women who might be considering careers in traditionally dominated industries like these, as part of the Government’s #notjustforboys campaign.”
The UCLan EIC has been identified as a signature project within the Growth Deal and the Lancashire Strategic Economic Plan, which sets out the county’s growth plans for the next 10 years, and will directly accelerate the delivery of a range of key objectives including reclaiming Lancashire’s role as a national centre for advanced manufacturing and ensuring that local skills reflect the social and economic needs of the area.
The EIC will capitalise on the location of the University at the centre of one of the most intensive engineering and manufacturing areas in the UK to create an internationally competitive facility that will bring together the region’s expertise from within academia and industry. It will be equipped to the highest standard with technology demonstration areas and specialist work areas to create an integrated space for teaching, research and knowledge exchange.
Rob Wallace, Dean of the School of Computing, Engineering and Physical Sciences who is leading the EIC project, commented: “We are delighted to receive this money from the Lancashire Enterprise Partnership as part of the second wave of funding from the Government’s Growth Deal.
“The additional investment will help the University achieve the scale and quality required to ensure that the EIC becomes a nationally significant centre of excellence for advanced engineering teaching, research and knowledge exchange."
“The additional investment will help the University achieve the scale and quality required to ensure that the EIC becomes a nationally significant centre of excellence for advanced engineering teaching, research and knowledge exchange with industry. It will help plug an important skills gap, encourage inward investment and support the local and regional economy.”
Chairman of the Lancashire Enterprise Partnership Edwin Booth said: “One of the challenges for the Lancashire economy is to ensure that it retains and attracts the most talented people in engineering. The scale of the new facility, breadth of the offer, and opportunities for gaining industrial experience will attract and retain high achieving students that currently choose to study engineering outside of Lancashire and the North West.
“The EIC will support the industries which underpin the Lancashire economy by providing a large pool of talented graduates available for local companies. It will provide a long-term economic asset for the area and play an important role in the UK’s Industrial Strategy.”
The Lancashire Enterprise Partnership Growth Deal will see more than £250 million invested in Lancashire and is part of a £12 billion long-term programme to revitalise local economies by building the British economy from the bottom up. The deal will help to create up to 5,000 jobs, allow more than 6,000 homes to be built and generate up to £140 million in public and private investment.