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Loughborough awarded £5 million to develop state-of-the-art STEM facilities

Loughborough University has been awarded £5 million from the Higher Education Funding Council for England (HEFCE) to enhance its teaching and learning facilities for science, technology, engineering and mathematics – known as STEM subjects.

The funding will help Loughborough to develop ‘STEMLab’ – a multi-million pound, state-of-the-art suite of teaching and learning facilities.

The award is part of a £200 million fund, announced by the Government, to boost the flow of highly employable STEM graduates into industry.

STEMLab will provide science and engineering laboratories, workshops, computer-aided design and rapid prototyping facilities, a design studio and informal learning spaces. It will be the cornerstone of a new student learning zone at the west end of the University’s campus.

“STEMLab is a very exciting concept,” says Professor Robert Allison, Vice Chancellor of Loughborough University. “It will bring together teaching facilities for many of the University’s science and engineering disciplines. Students will be able to design, engineer, build and test their innovations in a single location and, importantly, interact with others studying related science and engineering subjects.”

The HEFCE funding will also enable the University to develop a suite of teaching programmes in bio-science and bio-engineering – fast growing disciplines that use traditional engineering and science techniques to address biological and medical issues. These programmes will expand on Loughborough’s existing strengths in sports science, rehabilitation and regenerative medicine.

Professor Allison says: “Loughborough University is one of the largest providers of STEM graduates in the country. STEMLab will allow us to expand our teaching provision in science, technology, engineering and mathematics and broaden the vital role we play in the pipeline supply of skilled graduates to industry.”

In addition, STEMLab will be a focal point for the University’s activities that seek to engage school-age students with science and engineering, such as the annual Loughborough Engineering Experience for Year 12 students and the Royal Society of Chemistry’s Top of the Bench competition. Such activities play a crucial role in helping students from different backgrounds find out more about university life and showcasing the range of careers open to STEM graduates.

It is anticipated that STEMLab will be operational by the end of 2016.