Release type: Media Release

Date:

$2.5 million research labs and workshop open for students

Ministers:

Senator the Hon Chris Evans
Minister for Tertiary Education, Skills, Jobs and Workplace Relations

Students at Newcastle University will have access to world class research and learning facilities with the opening today of a new industrial design workshop and an engineering and research laboratory.

Officially opening the $2.5 million purpose-built facilities, Minister for Tertiary Education, Senator Chris Evans, said students and staff would benefit from working in the modern environment.

More than 900 undergraduate and postgraduate students studying architecture, design, construction management, property economics and quantity surveying will use the industrial design workshop.

“With the growth of industrial production in Australia, employment opportunities for industrial designers are increasing rapidly,” Senator Evans said.

“Through its degree courses, the University of Newcastle is producing innovative, resourceful and creative graduates to take up those employment opportunities.”

The University’s School of Engineering’s research capacity would also be enhanced by the new facilities which provide space for new experimental research and laboratory-based researchers.

“The School of Engineering at Newcastle is widely recognised as one of the top engineering schools in Australia, and these new facilities demonstrate the University’s commitment to continuing to enhance its enviable research track record,” Senator Evans said.

The latest enrolments figures for Newcastle University are 17, 490, up from 14,490 in 2008 - an increase of 10 per cent.

“The Gillard Government has opened the doors of Australia’s universities. As a direct result of our reforms we have seen almost 100,000 additional students grasp the opportunity of a university education since 2007,” Senator Evans said.

“We have also made a record investment in building and upgrading university facilities.”

The Australian Government contributed $2 million through the Teaching and Learning Capital Fund (Higher Education) for the construction of Newcastle University’s industrial design workshop and a further $562,000 through the Better Universities Renewal Funding initiative for the engineering research laboratories.

“A strong higher education sector is a key ingredient in creating a highly-skilled Australia, ready for the challenges of a 21st Century economy,” Senator Evans said.

Since 2008, the Australian Government has committed $4.5 billion to provide funding for projects that create or develop significant infrastructure in higher education, research and vocation education and training institutions.

“We are currently extending this funding through a dedicated $500 million Regional Priorities Round of the very successful Education Investment Fund,” Senator Evans said.

“It is vital that regional Australians have access to quality education opportunities regardless of where they choose to live and study.”

“I recently released the guidelines for this Regional Priorities Round, which is squarely aimed at supporting regional higher education and VET institutions to improve their infrastructure and improve the quality of training and education regional students receive.”

More information on the funding of higher education infrastructure programs can be found at:

http://www.deewr.gov.au/HigherEducation/Programs/Funding/Pages/Home.aspx