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8th July 2009, 11:14am
University of Lincoln and Siemens create innovative School of Engineering
Siemens logo The first purpose-built School of Engineering to be created in the UK for more than 20 years will take shape in an engineering partnership between the University of Lincoln and Siemens Industrial Turbomachinery Ltd (SITL).

The project is supported by the Higher Education Funding Council for England (HEFCE), which will provide £4.3m in grant to establish a Centre of Excellence for engineering training and higher education.

The School is intended to meet the extensive demand for engineers, not only at Siemens, but across the city, county and region where traditionally large numbers of engineering and related businesses are located. Close links will be forged with schools and colleges, many of whom have already expressed strong interest in engaging in this initiative, in particular schools with specialist science and technology status.  

Commenting on the School, David Lammy, Minister of State for Higher Education, said: “Engineering is as critical to our economy now as it has proved to be over the last century, and that is why it has been classed as a strategically important subject for students. It is still in high demand and is valued by employers across the country.

“This is why the Government, through HEFCE, has given more than £4 million to the University of Lincoln’s new School of Engineering. The School will contribute significantly to raising awareness of the subject and encouraging more people to take it up, both during the downturn and beyond as the economy recovers.”

Andrew Atherton, Pro Vice Chancellor – Strategy and Enterprise at the University of Lincoln said: “This is a significant development for the University of Lincoln and one that confirms our growth in recent years.  To be aligned with a world-class engineering firm like Siemens will really put us on the map.

“The focus of the School of Engineering will be industrial power and energy; a sector that has a huge global significance and one that Siemens specialises in. There are currently a small number of specialist Masters level courses and specific examples of dedicated research in several institutions; however, there is no centre specifically focusing on this aspect of engineering.  In that respect ours will be a national innovator and lead in this important area of engineering.”

A state-of-the-art education facility is planned to be located on the main campus of the University.  On completion, Siemens intends to relocate its atmospheric pressure rig to the facility and work in partnership with the University to commission research from its students, producing graduates with practical and useable skills and knowledge for the industrial power, energy and associated sector.  Siemens will co-locate its product training function, thereby accrediting its training activities whilst providing hands-on experience with gas turbines to students.

Willi Meixner, Divisional Managing Director for Siemens Industrial Turbomachinery Ltd said: “The main focus of the project is to enable education and training for the calibre of people we need in a world-class engineering company such as ours.”

Andreas J Goss, chief executive of Siemens in the UK and North West Europe said: “Our investment into this landmark School of Engineering demonstrates our commitment to help develop a skills pipeline for UK industry. In the future, there will be fewer opportunities available for those emerging from the educational system without those skills employers need as competition in the global economy will intensify. This project is an excellent example of the public and private sectors working together to develop the expertise in science, technology and engineering we need here in the UK.”

The teaching and learning will be provided by the University of Lincoln with strategic input from Loughborough University in partnership with Siemens.  Loughborough University is a leading UK university that has complementary provision in related fields of engineering and has provided guidance for the two stakeholders during initial discussions.  The engineering school will offer industry relevant and focused education at undergraduate and postgraduate levels.

David Sweeney, HEFCE Director for Research Innovation and Skills, said: “At a time when there is a growing national interest in increasing the number of people being trained as engineers, we are delighted to support this significant initiative in this field. We also recognise the important benefits that this project will have on the local and regional economy.”

A planning application for the new facility is due to be submitted in September 2009.  The University is now recruiting for the role of Founding Head of the School of Engineering.

Since it opened in 1996, £150 million has been invested in The University of Lincoln, with the institution recently reaping the rewards by being classed as the most improved University in England by both The Independent and The Times league tables.  This new university will be collaborating with one of the longest established businesses in the city. Siemens has been based in Lincoln for more than 150 years and is renowned for the research, development, manufacture and lifetime support of gas turbines to the oil and gas and power generation industries worldwide.

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