A view of the proposed new research building

Plymouth University has received funding in excess of £1.2 million from the Higher Education Funding Council for England (HEFCE) to support capital investment for teaching facilities in existing and proposed laboratories, at the headquarters of Plymouth University Peninsula Schools of Medicine and Dentistry (PU PSMD), Plymouth Science Park.

The funding is part of the STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) initiative which supports teaching in these areas in universities across the country. Its objective is to allow universities to contribute to the skills and expertise base in these research areas, to the ultimate benefit of research and commerce in the UK.

The award from HEFCE will allow Plymouth University to invest in teaching facilities complementary to its medical and health research and laboratory space – not just in existing laboratories but also as part of the new £13 million research building announced recently.

The funded facilities will support undergraduate and taught postgraduate students enrolled on biomedical and human bioscience BSc and MSc degree courses in Plymouth University School of Biomedical and Healthcare Sciences (part of PU PSMD). When the new research facilities are complete these teams will move from the main campus to the Plymouth Science Park site, requiring substantial investment in teaching and research infrastructure.

The funding will be used in Plymouth to refurbish existing space for undergraduate teaching in tissue culture projects, laboratory skills training and general laboratory projects. 

It will also be used to create a bioinformatics suite to support: personalised medicine modules of current MScs; a new MSc in Bioinformatics; study and write up rooms for undergraduate and postgraduate taught students; and IT support.

Professor Raymond Playford, Deputy Vice-Chancellor at Plymouth University, said: 

“We are delighted to receive this award from HEFCE. It is a testimony to the hard work of all of our staff and the ethos of integrating cutting edge science with research informed teaching.”

Professor Robert Sneyd, Dean of PU PSMD, commented: 

“This funding will enable us to extend our STEM activities in our existing laboratories and integrate them in our new research building, allowing us to support current and new science teaching opportunities. With this support we can nurture highly trained, qualified and expert medical and health scientists who will not only contribute to the UK’s reputation for world-leading research, but also potentially play a role in the commercial sector.”