The first Higher Education Innovation Hub under the Fujitsu Ambassador Programme was recently opened at the University Campus Suffolk (UCS).
This follows the announcement of UCS as a founding Higher Education member of the Fujitsu and Intel Ambassador Programme at the Bett show at London’s ExCel. The Innovation Hub launch is part of the Fujitsu Intel Ambassador programme and is a national engagement initiative led by the two global IT leaders that aims to highlight the use of computing power to underpin knowledge in Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths (STEM) subjects and drive forward innovation in Suffolk and beyond.
The centre piece of the partnership between UCS, Fujitsu and Intel is the newly opened Fujitsu Intel Innovation Hub, located in the modern James Hehir Building. It is equipped with a range of the latest computer equipment, and will be used to promote the use of technology in Higher, Further and Secondary education. The new centre will house an array of Fujitsu technology including tablets, hybrid devices, laptops and desktop PCs, all running off the latest Intel® Atom™ and Intel® Core™ processors.
As part of the initiative, UCS and Fujitsu will work with local schools in line with the new national computing curriculum and promoting STEM skills, provide Social Media training programmes and work with UCS students and the local community to enhance the teaching and learning of STEM subjects.
Danny Arati, Education Manager, for Intel Europe said: “Intel shares Fujitsu’s passion for education and inclusion for all and is delighted to support the Education Ambassador Programme.”
Richard Lister, UCS provost and Chief Executive added: “The Ambassador Programme contributes to UCS’ growing reputation as a leading institution in STEM outreach and is a priority of our institutional-wide strategic agenda. This is a partnership that has been developed over several years; where we have collaboratively worked with Fujitsu on projects such as data centre storage and providing high performance workstations for our BSc (Hons) Computer Games Design students. We are committed to building the skills of our graduates, their future employability and to take UCS forward in high-tech research and development, benefiting employers and the wider economy.”
The Innovation Hub is one component in a larger UCS initiative to bring STEM subjects to a wider audience in Suffolk, particularly women who are currently underrepresented in this area. UCS has been particularly successful with its unique approach to widening participation in Higher Education and hopes to extend that success to STEM subjects through the use of the Innovation Hub for school educational visits and talks. UCS’ efforts in widening participation have been particularly rewarded by encouraging more women to participate in Higher Education, with 67% of the student body being female. Embedding STEM across all of areas of engagement means that UCS is well placed to encourage participation in STEM related initiatives.
Ash Merchant, Head of Education at Fujitsu, said: “Fujitsu has just launched its diversity and inclusion week internally, with gender diversity playing a key part in this. We are doing particularly well with our apprenticeship scheme, with 34% of Fujitsu’s apprentices being female compared with the national average of 10%. We share UCS’s ambition to bring STEM subjects to a more diverse audience and know that our collaboration in the Innovation Hub and the projects we run will support this ambition.”
Mohamed Abdel-Maguid, Head of the Department of Science and Technology at UCS, said; “The Innovation Hub offers a modern, technology-enabled teaching space, with a wide variety of uses. UCS will use the Innovation Hub as the main facility for the STEM Teacher Training Academy modules. Open day tours, activities and engagement events with schools, colleges, SME’s, and our partners, including CPD events for our regional stakeholders will also be hosted in the venue.”
The Fujitsu Intel Ambassador programme is aligned to and supported by the Education Technology Action Group and was discussed by UCS Director of IT, Peter O’Rourke, and the Secretary of State for Education, Nicky Morgan, at the Bett Show. The main objectives of the programme are to develop career skills and provide expertise on personalised technology in teaching and learning.
The Ambassador programme has close links to the e-Learning Foundation, which supports schools, colleges and parents in making technology in the learning environment available for all. The programme is also supported by education technology specialists Naace and the Tablet Academy.
UCS is a partnership between the University of East Anglia and the University of Essex, working with Lowestoft College, Great Yarmouth College, Suffolk New College and West Suffolk College. The development is also supported by Suffolk County Council and Ipswich Borough Council.
UCS currently has 423 students on STEM courses and there are plans for this to increase as UCS moves towards its aim of a STEM centre on the Ipswich Waterfront, aided by the announcement last week that UCS will receive £1.75m from the LEP to fund a new Waterfront Innovation Centre alongside expanding STEM facilities.