University sets up £1.7m project to improve knowledge of hi-tech workers and students

Engineering department staff Dr Richard Wilbraham and Michelle Atkins.
Engineering department staff Dr Richard Wilbraham and Michelle Atkins.

A £1.7m engineering and design academy launched by Lancaster University will boost the performance of more than 128 firms, it is claimed.

It is predicted that the new initiative will improve the skills base of workers in the north west, safeguard 90 jobs, create 43 more and make students more employable.

Experts in the university’s engineering department will support businesses in the field of advanced manufacturing.

The academy has been financed until next year by the European Regional Development Fund with matched funding from Lancaster University and the private sector.

Dr Allan Rennie, head of the Lancaster Product Development Unit at the engineering department, said: “The academy provides a great opportunity for SMEs (small and medium enterprises) to work with the outstanding engineering talent at Lancaster University.

“Our students and academics possess a wide range of both technical and non-technical skills, providing the region’s small and medium-sized businesses with the necessary support to realise growth.”

Professor Andrew Atherton, deputy vice chancellor of Lancaster University, added: “Lancaster University was recently recognised as being among the top ten of UK universities for working with SMEs.

“The launch of the Engineering Design Academy is a further demonstration of our focus and commitment to working with businesses and adds to our other extensive ongoing engagement programmes that cut across many business sectors.”

Businesses can access students, graduates, engineers, facilities and equipment from the academy.

It is a resource available for companies across the north west which have received less than €200,000 of public funding within the last three financial years. Contact project manager Chris Lambert on 01524 594298 or email for more information.