On-Campus Open Days

Duke and Duchess of Sussex officially open the Tech Park

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The University of Chichester’s new Tech Park is officially open – by Royal appointment.

The Duke and Duchess of Sussex were greeted by students and staff to unveil the new £35million development, located at the institution's Bognor Regis campus. The Tech Park, which is open to students from now, brings together degree courses in Engineering as well as Creative and Digital Technologies to create a new area of academia in STEAM – Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Mathematics.

As part of the visit, the Royal couple were welcomed by University academics, students, and guests, including staff who are active members of the Armed Forces reserves. They first visited the Tech Park's animation studios designed by Max Tyrie, Head of 3D Animation and VFX, who is a BAFTA award-winning animator and has worked on the Kingsman films and Spiderman franchises.

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Steph Kidson, 19, is studying 3D animation. She said: "They're lovely, and were very interested in what we are doing. They know a lot about the industry so we could relate to what they were saying to us."

From there the Duke and Duchess walked to the Engineering labs to undertake a live-action stress-testing experiment using state-of-the-art Mecmesin tensile equipment. Engineering students including Louise Grainger, who was born, raised, and schooled in Bognor Regis, was involved in the experiment.

She said: "It was nerve wracking at the beginning but they were really relaxed. Girl from Bognor gets to meet the Royal couple. The Tech Park gives me opportunities I’ve never had before and I cannot wait to start learning in its laboratories and workshops. I’m so excited that I will take my first steps into engineering in such an incredible place.”

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The Royal party then visited the Sound Stage: a 300 square-metre, three-storey space which is one of only three in the south capable of accommodating a professional orchestra. Here they oversaw Creative and Digital Technologies students as they filmed a live-rehearsal of the University orchestra – and were invited to get involved in the action. Next to the space is a dedicated 75 square-metre green screen stage, alongside nine editing suites, and a dubbing and master suite, professional recording studios, and live room with screening theatre.

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Welcoming the Royal couple was Vice-Chancellor Professor Jane Longmore, who said: “It is an honour to have been chosen as part of The Duke and Duchess of Sussex’s first official visit to the county. We are delighted they have agreed to undertake the task of formally opening our magnificent new Tech Park.

“This is a University which takes its obligations seriously: within the West Sussex coastal region there are areas where pupils are six times less likely to enter higher education than in more affluent parts of the country. This building is a physical embodiment of our commitment to social justice, to ensuring that the children of this region have the strongest possible life chances and that they can become the engineers, technologists, and film makers of the future.”

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The Tech Park’s newly-launched Engineering department combines purpose-built, state-of-the-art workshops, laboratories, and equipment with an innovative approach to learning which takes on board input from the commercial sector, designed to produce well-rounded, creative engineers who meet current and future requirements of industry and beyond. The team works collaboratively with the University’s existing Creative and Digital Technology department, now located at the development, to build on its already-established international reputation in the world of film, animation, special effects, gaming, and supporting skills such as screenplay and score writing.

The construction has so far received the backing from more than 40 industry organisations, including Rolls-Royce Motor Cars and Sony, as well as small and medium-sized enterprises which have declared a shortage of workers with STEM skills.

For more about Tech Park at the University of Chichester go to steam.chi.ac.uk. To view more photos from the Royal visit go to www.facebook.com/UniversityofChichester.

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