£30m legacy for future scientists at Staffordshire University
EDUCATION leaders have pledged to be at the forefront of innovation after unveiling a new £30 million science centre.
The complex in Leek Road, Stoke, was unveiled yesterday by rower and double gold medallist Andrew Triggs Hodge, 12 years after he graduated from the university in environmental science.
The centre, part of the £285 million University Quarter, boasts specialist laboratories, lecture theatres, a psychology suite and flexible learning areas.
There is also a public cafe and exhibition space.
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The science and technology centre is the first building to be shared between Staffordshire University, Stoke-on-Trent Sixth Form College and Stoke-on-Trent College.
And bosses hope it will encourage greater investment in the city.
Deputy Vice Chancellor Paul Richards, pictured below, said: "It is in a really exciting and strong location which is very visible from the train station.
"We are looking to build a strong relationship with the colleges and attract more students into science.
"Ultimately it is showing that we have these facilities available in Stoke-on-Trent and we have the resources and profile to attract new companies." The impressive building will house all the university's science and research including forensic science, bio-medical science and psychology.
Funding for the centre came from several backers including £8 million from the Higher Education Funding Council, £2 million from the colleges and £20 million from the university's own resources.
Visitors were welcomed to the centre yesterday with a breakfast created by MasterChef winner Tim Anderson including a sorbet with liquid nitrogen.
The meal was followed by a question and answer session with Andrew and university staff. Accompanied by his two gold medals which he won in London and Beijing, Andrew said: "Rowing was my passion in life and it gave me something to strive for.
"I am very proud to be a Staffordshire University graduate and think that the new facilities will serve as an excellent base for students now and in the future."
The centre aims to become a UK Centre of Excellence for science, technology, engineering and mathematics.
Professor Michael Gunn, vice-chancellor of Staffordshire University, described the centre as a legacy for future graduates who will go on to contribute to these fields.
One of the students who will be using the facility, Ryan Summerfield, aged 16, said: "The building is nice and modern with good facilities.
"I think the campus is great in helping promote the area. It makes science a lot more inviting."