Warwick centre set to rev up engineers

April 4, 2003

The University of Warwick opened a £70 million automotive research centre on Wednesday, which it hopes will transform the image of UK engineering, writes Anna Fazackerley.

The centre will focus on supporting the manufacture of premium or luxury automotive products, which, the university argues, is the future of UK engineering.

In a bid to increase the skills base in this area, £5 million of the funding will go on financial incentives to persuade graduates to take up careers in engineering. More 150 high-quality students will be paid to enrol on a new postgraduate research programme.

Nick Matthews of the university's manufacturing group said the cash would be comparable to salaries offered in financial services, a sector popular with engineering graduates. He said: "Half our graduates don't go into engineering. Exhortation - telling young scientists that engineering is good for them - won't work."

Mr Matthews hopes the centre, which will help secure about 50,000 jobs, will go some way towards reinvigorating engineering. He said: "Somewhere along the way, the engineering sector has lost its confidence. There has been too much moaning and too little ambition."

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