Chris Skidmore MP – Minister of State for Universities, Science, Research and Innovation – visited Loughborough University on Friday 8 March.
Tying in with the start of British Science Week, the minister was interested to learn more about Loughborough’s pioneering STEM teaching and research facilities.
He received a tour of the £17m state-of-the-art STEMLab where he visited laboratory classes and mechanical workshops taking place, accompanied by Loughborough Students’ Union (LSU) President Rahul Mathasing and Education Executive Officer, Hannah Barton.
At the Start-Up Lab, based in the STEMLab Ideas Factory, Mr Skidmore learned about a range of student projects including Engineers Without Borders, Bake Balance, a healthy baked goods business and StuTemp, a recruitment company which matches temporary job vacancies with students looking for flexible work.
He then received a tour of the National Centre for Combustion and Aerothermal Technology (NCCAT) alongside Pro Vice-Chancellor for Enterprise, Professor Tracy Bhamra and Pro Vice-Chancellor for Research, Professor Steve Rothberg. Set to open in 2019, NCCAT will act as the UK’s primary hub for research focusing on the development of future low emission aerospace combustion systems that will reduce the environmental impact of aircraft.
Funded through a partnership comprising the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, the Aerospace Technology Institute and Innovate UK, with support from Rolls-Royce and Loughborough University, the development will help support the UK to successfully compete within the future aerospace market and will be instrumental in the training of future engineers capable of developing and delivering this technology.
Professor Jon Carrotte, Director of NCCAT and Rolls-Royce/Royal Academy of Engineering Professor of Aerothermal Technology, said: “We were delighted to host a visit from the minister to demonstrate NCCAT’s capabilities. It is a true example of how academia can work together with government and industry to accelerate technology innovation and development to benefit the UK economy.”
Following a roundtable discussion with the University’s senior management, the visit concluded with an informal meeting with a group of students. LSU’s Rahul Mathasing said: “It was an engaging and informative visit for all involved. The students thoroughly enjoyed the opportunity to speak with the minister, ask some of their burning questions and give valuable insight into what it is like being a Loughborough student.”
Vice-Chancellor Robert Allison commented: “The University was delighted to welcome Mr Skidmore to campus to showcase the exceptional STEM facilities, research and teaching at Loughborough. I was especially pleased he had the opportunity to hear directly from our students and see their projects and learning in action.”
Universities Minister Chris Skidmore said: “With a growing demand for STEM skills it is vital that people are prepared for the jobs of tomorrow and it was great to see the brilliant STEM teaching and facilities at Loughborough University during British Science Week.
“I also enjoyed hearing the views of students from their SU on a range of issues which are important to them.”