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18th November 2011, 3:31pm
University and Siemens win prestigious innovation award
A Turbine Tutorial at the School of Engineering The University of Lincoln and Siemens received a prestigious Lord Stafford Award at the awards ceremony held last night, Thursday 17 November, in Birmingham.

This groundbreaking collaboration between industry and academia, driving innovation in industrial power generation engineering, received the Open Collaboration award, This award is for a consortium led by a University which emphasises innovation and collaboration with high levels of engagement.

The Lord Stafford Awards recognise, showcase and reward the best in collaboration between businesses and universities across the Midlands.

The new School of Engineering School, developed by the University and Siemens is the first of its kind for 20 years in the UK. At its inception in 2009, the School concept was immediately recognised by HEFCE (Higher Education Funding Council for England) as a unique collaboration. The new School was opened in September 2010, to accept the first cohort of engineering graduates.

Now in its second year, the School relocated to the purpose-built Engineering Hub on the University’s main campus in September 2011. The Hub is a brand new state-of-the-art building, which houses Siemens’ gas turbine training suite, leading edge research and development facilities, teaching and training rooms and a corporate area for business clients. The School is part-funded by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) from the European Union and Lincolnshire County Council Single Programme Funding, the Higher Education Funding Council for England (HEFCE), Siemens and the University.

The collaborative nature of the School means that graduates are ‘industry-ready’ and able to immediately contribute when they enter the workplace – whether with Siemens’ own manufacturing facility in the city, or other engineering companies.

The £7m School of Engineering provides specialist courses in industrial power and energy, which are designed to meet the future needs of engineering enterprise and innovation.

Academics and Siemens employees are co-located, meaning that students benefit from the real-world, practical experience with world class gas turbines alongside the delivery of the theoretical underpinnings provided within an academic environment.

The co-location of a real engineering business within the School also provides an opportunity to extend students’ learning from beyond the lecture room or lab and into a real, professional environment.

Lord Stafford, patron of the Awards, said: “This is an example of a superb link-up between a major employer and the Higher Education provider in a city to create a facility which is beneficial to both parties. Not only does the involvement of a major company like Siemens make the offer of the University of Lincoln more attractive to engineering students but the graduates produced benefit Siemens. This is collaboration at its very best and really shows what the Lord Stafford Awards is all about.”

Students come from a wide variety of backgrounds, including those who have just completed A levels to experienced engineers, who value the learning opportunity and qualification. Troy Pickard, a Siemens employee for more than 20 years, was keen to take up this opportunity. He said: "I have 25 years’ practical engineering experience with Siemens. When this opportunity arose, I was keen to grasp it and furnish myself with more of the theoretical underpinnings that I take for granted in my everyday work and to achieve the qualification. I combine my degree with teaching fellow students, and giving them something of my practical experience."  

Steve Middlebrough, director of engineering at Siemens in Lincoln, said: "Siemens has a very long heritage and commitment to skills and training. Our collaboration with the University of Lincoln, to establish the UK's first engineering school for 20 years, is groundbreaking in many ways. The  co-location of Siemens' world-class gas turbine training facility is unique, enabling students to benefit from real-life engineering issues first hand. This is all part of our focus on creating ‘industry-ready’ graduates with the practical engineering skills needed in today's business. We also focus on highly innovative research for next generation turbines and other technical engineering issues. Our goal is to make the school a centre of excellence for engineering."

Head of the School of Engineering, Dr Jill Stewart, said: “What sets Lincoln’s School of Engineering apart is that we really did start with a blank piece of paper. We were,  and still are, able to work with collaborators such as Siemens in a completely new and innovative way. We are raising the profile of Engineering and many of our new entrants are people who might never previously have considered enrolling on an Engineering degree. That can only be good news for the future of the Engineering profession.”

The Engineering Hub will be opened officially on the 19th January 2012.

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