Clarke opens play at Greenwich labs

April 4, 2003

Education secretary Charles Clarke this week opened a £4 million complex of laboratories at the University of Greenwich, Medway.

The facilities include laboratories for sports science, materials science and molecular biology.

The campus already boasts a robotics centre, a computer-aided design studio and a satellite technology base. Some 2,000 students study at the campus, which is based in a converted Royal Naval barracks at Chatham Maritime.

The laboratories are part of a plan to expand the site in collaboration with the University of Kent and Mid-Kent College.

The three partners are working with the Medway Unitary Authority and the South East England Development Agency to create a joint campus and develop courses for further and higher education students.

Kent is transferring its provision to the Medway campus from its base at the Mid-Kent College at Horsted and Bridge Warden's College.

It is hoped that by 2010, the campus will cater for some 6,000 students ranging from those in further education to postgraduates.

It will serve a local population of about 250,000 and will offer everything from access-level courses up to PhD-level study.

The region is a ripe recruiting ground. The Medway area was hit economically when the Royal Dockyards closed in 1984 and it has a higher than average unemployment rate for the Southeast.

The 1991 census also found that the Medway towns of Chatham, Rochester and Gillingham had a graduate population of 3.8 per cent compared with a national average of 7.2 per cent.

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