University wins £2.9m funding for youth science centre project

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The University of Bradford has secured £2.9m funding for a new centre which will work with schools across the city.

It is hoped that the Building Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths (STEM) at Bradford project will raise aspirations and attainment in the subjects.

The funding from the Higher Education Funding Council for England will be used to create an “inspirational space” for learning and teaching plus an outreach programme to work with schools and colleges across Bradford and beyond.

The deputy vice-chancellor (academic) of the University of Bradford, Geoff Layer, said: “We are absolutely delighted to have secured this funding, which will have a huge benefit to young people in the district. The Government recognises the importance of STEM subjects in creating the jobs of the future and this project will allow the university to share its expertise with the Bradford community.

“We especially want to reach out to those young people who would normally not consider a career in this area, so we can inspire them to achieve their full potential.

“The project will also benefit students at the university as we look to increase the range of STEM-based courses.”

Last month the University of Bradford re-launched the chemical engineering course and it says that it will continue to review and develop its course provision.

Building STEM at Bradford will involve extensive work with schools and young people.

The project aims to boost interest in science, technology, engineering and maths as well as raising educational attainment across all subjects.

The centre, which will include laboratories, will also act as a training space for teachers.

A consultation event was held in December to find out what teachers and headteachers would like from the project.

Schools will help design the facility and the outreach programme.

Over the next few months the university will continue to work with schools to finalise plans for the new centre, which will be located at the university’s city campus.

Work may also include university academics visiting schools in the area to carry out master classes to inspire children to study science, technology, engineering and maths subjects at university.

The headmaster of Thornton Grammar School, Chris Sampson, said: “We are pleased to be working with the University of Bradford on plans for a centre which will help young people across the district.

“We are working closely together to ensure that the scheme will really excite and engage children in science, engineering, technology and maths.”

Funding for the programme is part of a wider £750m worth of investment to develop Bradford’s Learning Quarter, an area of education institutions and emerging creative and knowledge-based industries.

The area also includes The Green sustainable student village, which is currently under construction and is levering in more than £40m worth of investment to the area, according to the university.

The investment programme for the area has been made possible through collaborative working and investment from the university along with Bradford College, Yorkshire Forward, Bradford Council and private investors and developers.

It is hoped the Building Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths at Bradford project will strengthen the university’s reputation as a national leader for innovative work in providing STEM opportunities and developments.

The University of Bradford is the regional co-ordinator for the Government’s national STEM programme in both the Yorkshire and the north east areas, helping to widen access and participation in STEM subjects from all sections of the community.

In 2009, over 80 per cent of its research was rated either “international” or “world-leading”.