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£2.9m funding secured for raising aspirations in science

3 February 11

The University of Bradford is set to create a centre for raising aspirations and attainment in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Maths (STEM).

Funding has been secured from the Higher Education Funding Council for England (HEFCE) totalling £2.9m for the 'Building STEM at Bradford' project. The funds will be used to create an inspirational space for learning and teaching and an outreach programme to work with schools and colleges across Bradford and beyond.

Funding for the STEM programme is part of a wider £750m investment to develop the 'Learning Quarter', an area of education institutions and emerging creative and knowledge-based industries. The area also includes 'The Green' sustainable student village, which is currently under construction and is levering in over £40m worth of investment to the area.  The investment programme for the area has been made possible through collaborative working and investment from the University, Bradford College, Yorkshire Forward, Bradford Metropolitan District Council and private investors and developers.

'Building STEM at Bradford' will see extensive work with schools and young people, seeking to raise interest in STEM subjects and to raise educational attainment across all subjects. The STEM centre will provide an inspirational space to learn and will include high quality laboratories. It will also act as a training space for school teachers, equipping them with the skills to inspire the next generation of scientists back in their own classroom.

Schools will help design the facility and outreach programme and a consultation event was held in December to find out what teachers and heads would like from the project. Over the next few months the University will continue to work with schools to finalise plans for the facility, which will be located at the University's City Campus. Work may also include University academics visiting local schools to carry out master classes to inspire children to study STEM subjects at University.

Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Academic), Geoff Layer, said: "We are absolutely delighted to have secured this funding, which will have a huge benefit to young people in the District. The Government recognises the importance of STEM subjects in creating the jobs of the future and this project will allow the University to share its expertise with the Bradford community. We especially want to reach out to those young people who would normally not consider a career in this area, so we can inspire them to achieve their full potential.

"The project will also benefit students at the University as we look to increase the range of STEM-based courses. Last month we re-launched Chemical Engineering, and we will continue to review and develop our course provision."

Chris Sampson, Headmaster of Thornton Grammar School, said: "We are pleased to be working with the University of Bradford on plans for a centre which will help young people across the District. We are working closely together to ensure that the scheme will really excite and engage children in science, engineering, technology and maths." 

The project will further strengthen the University’s reputation as a national leader for innovative work in providing STEM opportunities and developments. The University is proud to be the regional co-ordinator for Government's national STEM programme in both the Yorkshire and the North East areas, helping to widen access and participation in STEM subjects from all sections of the community.

3 February 11

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For further information please contact the University of Bradford Press Office on 01274 23 3089/3084.

Out of office hours call 07879 437996. Alternatively, e-mail or fax on (01274) 236280.