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Science Minister visits University of York

Posted on 1 March 2002

Science Minister Lord Sainsbury visits the University of York on Friday 1 March to hear about the University's pioneering work in science education and to see work on the £25 million building which will house cutting-edge research in biology when it opens later this year.

The University's Science Education Group is internationally renowned for developing new and exciting approaches to teaching science which are used all over the world.

Lord Sainsbury will be briefed by Professor John Holman, Director of the Science Curriculum Centre, who invited the Minister to the University, on how its work with departments such as Chemistry, Biology, Educational Studies and Physics is laying the foundation for the scientists of the future by providing improved science programmes for schools and teacher training.

Professor Holman said: "Lord Sainsbury has a personal and ministerial interest in education and in the professional development of science teachers. We're delighted he's coming here to meet staff who have designed such innovative and exciting science teaching materials."

Lord Sainsbury will also visit the University's Department of Biology, one of the largest in the country, where a £25 million redevelopment will provide new and refurbished buildings for the Biology Department's research groups and for the Structural Biology Laboratory of the Department of Chemistry. The department has over 400 scientific and support staff and teaches over 400 undergraduates. The buildings have been designed to cluster around a state-of-the-art technology hub which will bring together different technologies and equipment.

Professor Alastair Fitter, Head of the Department of Biology, said the programme will centre around the Technology Facility, a novel suite of laboratories containing £5M of state-of-the-art equipment. "These laboratories will allow all of our international research teams to use the most modern technologies, whether in cancer research, plant biotechnology or ecology and are made possible by Government recognition of the infra-structure needs of UK science.

Lord Sainsbury said, "I'm very pleased to have the chance to see at first hand the innovative work that is being carried out at York into science education and biology research. Science education is vital for a thriving economy. I am also excited to have a preview of the major building redevelopment for the Department of Biology which the DTI's Joint Infrastructure Funding (JIF) is helping to get off the ground."

The funding for the work has come mainly from the Government's Joint Infrastructure Funding scheme.

Notes to editors:

  • Lord Sainsbury will be welcomed to the University of York at 10.15 am on Friday 1 March by Vice Chancellor Professor Sir Ron Cooke.
  • He will receive a briefing on the work of the Science Education Group including:
    • the new York Primary Science Enhancement Programme
    • professional development courses for science teachers
    • new A-level courses in Chemistry, Physics and Biology
    • plans for a new GCSE Science course
    • links between the Science Education Group and University departments
    • initial teacher training
  • After lunch with members of the University and Science City York he will visit the Department of Biology to see its new buildings and to hear about departmental research, intellectual property, and the technology development strategy
  • He will also hear about the dynamic partnership between the University and the city of York in the Science City York project which is helping to create local employment, encouraging new science-based businesses, and raising awareness of science among the York workforce.
  • The new Biology buildings are funded by a grant of £21.6M from the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC) under the Joint Infrastructure Fund (JIF).
  • Established in July 1998, the JIF has a total buget of £750 million for infrastructure and major equipment comprising of £300 million each from the DTI and the medical research charity the Wellcome Trust together with £150 million from the Higher Education Funding Council for England (HEFCE).

Contact details

David Garner
Senior Press Officer

Tel: +44 (0)1904 322153