Further funding secured for Cumbria STEM Facility

The University of Cumbria secures funding for second phase of science lab development

The University of Cumbria has been awarded £784,000 from the Cumbria Local Enterprise Partnership (Cumbria LEP) the county’s strategic economic body, for the second phase of development of its science laboratories at the Fusehill Campus, Carlisle. 

The university has invested in total £3.5 million in state-of-the-art labs to respond to a national shortage of graduates with specific science skills, to support regional industry requiring skilled staff and to create more opportunities for young people to participate in STEM subjects in the local area. In particular, the increased need for biosciences graduates in Cumbria with the development of the new Glaxo Smith Kline biopharmaceutical facility at Ulverston and an increase in demand from Sellafield for scientists.

The laboratory extension will enhance the existing science curriculum offer, and allow the university to expand its science portfolio by offering degree-level qualifications in chemistry and biomedical science as well as providing high quality space for teaching, research and consultancy, creating a true centre of collaboration and learning for Science in Carlisle and the region. Additionally, the facility will allow greater collaboration with local schools to encourage interest in STEM subjects from an early age. 

Graham Haywood, Director of Cumbria Local Enterprise Partnership, said: ‘This funding supports Cumbria Local Enterprise Partnership’s commitment to ensuring that the county has a vibrant skills system that is able to respond to the current and future needs of our economy.   

“In the next 10 years, Cumbria will attract over £25 billion of inward investment in sectors such as advance manufacturing, nuclear and biopharmaceuticals. This will create a huge local demand for science graduates, and people with science skills. 

In the next 10 years, Cumbria will attract over £25 billion of inward investment in sectors such as advance manufacturing, nuclear and biopharmaceuticals

“The new courses the university will offer will help young people gain the qualifications they will need to access these jobs, and will provide businesses with a much-needed supply of skilled staff. The centre of learning the university will create will also provide a significant long-term boost to Cumbria’s economy.”

Full planning consent for the development has been approved and will provide a second floor to the existing facilities. Work on the laboratory extension will begin in May this year and as with the previous scheme, the contractors, Portakabin, will be using the same method of modular construction as for the initial building. 

The modules will be built off site and then hoisted in to position above the existing laboratories.  This method minimises noise and disruption both on campus and also to our neighbours but will also ensure that the facility is in full operation for the beginning of the new academic year. 

Professor Peter Strike – Vice Chancellor of the University of Cumbria said: “We would like to thank the Cumbria LEP for their generous support to our STEM project. The overall investment strengthens the university’s ambition to be the lead provider of science related courses in the region. 

“The skills and knowledge students acquire from studying degrees in STEM subjects at the university, together with professional body accreditation, will enhance their employability prospects and create a wider pool of skilled graduates to supply the regional economy.”

W: www.cumbria.ac.uk

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