UCLan's £35m engineering facility opens

The University of Central Lancashire's new £35m Engineering Innovation Centre has officially launched.

The teaching and research facility will engage directly with industry and provide students with real-world experience on live, engineering-related projects. It is designed to become one of the driving forces behind the Lancashire Industrial Strategy as well as national industrial strategy, addressing the need for innovation and producing the next generation of world-class engineers.

Facilities include an additive manufacturing lab (3D printing), an advanced manufacturing workshop, an intelligent systems facility, a motorsports and air vehicles lab, a high-performance computing lab, a flight simulator suite as well as a fire, oil and gas facility.

Courses shaped by industry demand and continuous collaboration will enable the centre to improve productivity across the North West, helping to support the innovation needs of 1,300 regional small and medium enterprises now and in the future.

Professor Graham Baldwin, vice-chancellor at UCLan, said: “The provision of practice-based learning has always been a strength of this university and now, through the EIC and our links with industry, we will ensure our students gain exposure to even greater levels of applied, real-world learning. Our strategy is to ensure the University is at the forefront of future skills development enabling Lancashire and the North West region to lead the new ‘digital’ industrial revolution which is now upon us.”

The EIC is a significant asset to the county, wider region and the UK.

David Taylor, pro-chancellor and chair of the University Board, added: “The EIC is not only a significant asset to the university but also the county, wider region and the UK. It will act as one of the driving forces behind the industrial strategy both on a regional and national scale while cementing Lancashire’s position as a national centre of excellence for aerospace, advanced engineering and manufacturing.”

The EIC forms part of the University’s £200 million Masterplan, which also includes a new student support centre, improvements to the public realm and highways around the Adelphi roundabout as well as new social spaces facilities and a new multi-faith centre, all at the Preston campus.

It has been funded with £10.5m input from the Lancashire Enterprise Partnerships’ Growth Deal, received £5.8m from the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) and £5m from HEFCE’s STEM Capital Fund.

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