Two university-led projects have won more than Pounds 8 million in the Regional Challenge competition for European Regional Development Funds. Teesside University was awarded Pounds 5.1 million towards its Pounds 10.5 million Virtual Reality Centre. And the East London and Lea Valley Telematics Network project, led by London Guildhall University, picked up Pounds 3.1 million to go towards a programme costing Pounds 8.3 million.
Deian Hopkin, dean of human sciences at London Guildhall, said it was important to emphasise the range of partners in the project, which also involves Middlesex and East London universities, six local authorities, seven colleges, three training and enterprise councils and backers from the private and voluntary sectors.
The purpose-built centre, which will be on Hackney Community College's new Kingsland Road campus, will open in the spring of 1998.
The Teesside Virtual Reality Centre and Innovation Centre, to be built on the Middlesbrough campus, will incorporate a project-based auditorium linked to facilities in the district, and an immersive virtual reality room.
Helen Pickering, pro vice chancellor of Teesside, said: "The university has a worldwide reputation for computer graphics, but nearly all its students leave the area to work in the computer games and software industries. This centre will enable them to stay on Teesside and develop their expertise and applications for the offshore and process industries."