Staffordshire University signalled its intent to become a UK Centre of Excellence for STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) studies with a bang at the launch of its new flagship Science Centre.
The £30 million Science Centre was brought to life with a day-time firework extravaganza opened by Olympic gold medallist and Staffordshire University graduate, Andrew Triggs-Hodge, MBE.
Greeted to thunderous applause Andrew recalled to a captivated audience how his own Olympic journey began at Staffordshire University where he first started rowing while studying Environmental Science.
“It is hard to imagine that it has been 12 years since I’ve been at Staffordshire University and it is incredible to see how much has changed.
“One thing I’ve learnt since being away is that it’s not so much about who or what you know, but it’s about the attitude and passion you take into your profession. For me my journey led to two Olympic gold medals, for others here it could lead to saving a life as a surgeon.”
“Today is about starting that journey; it’s about providing the right facilities to nurture that talent. But it’s up to you guys to make sure that energy and that passion turns an opportunity into something much bigger.” Andrew added.
Earlier in the day visitors were treated to a gastronomic delight created by MasterChef 2011 winner Tim Anderson which included baked beans on toast ice-cream and a coffee sorbet created with liquid nitrogen.
The opening represents the University’s commitment to address the demand for STEM graduates from the growing science and technology sectors which create one in every four new jobs in the UK over the next five years – the equivalent of 140,000 jobs.
The building has also been billed as a symbol of partnership and collaboration between the University and its University Quarter (UniQ) partners – neighbouring Stoke-on-Trent Sixth Form College and Stoke-on-Trent College – who are also using the specialist labs and teaching facilities within the new centre.
Steve Burgin, Chair of the Board of Governors at Staffordshire University, addressed the launch event by stating that the facility is “a testament to the establishment’s commitment to improving the quality of science teaching for students, positioning Staffordshire as a centre of excellence.”
The Science Centre will house all University science teaching and research across forensics, environmental and biomedical sciences, as well as psychology and sports science and biomechanics.
Professor Michael Gunn, Vice-Chancellor for the University, said: “The new Science Centre establishes our position as the leading teaching-led, vocational university offering academic study and access to commercial experience. This can easily be transferred by graduates into science and technology careers that will provide them with sustained employment and fuel the economic growth of the West Midlands and the wider UK.”