Uni announcement worth $37m

BEAUTY SPOT: Federal Treasurer Wayne Swan and his son Matt enjoy a walk on the beach while holidaying on the Sunshine Coast.
BEAUTY SPOT: Federal Treasurer Wayne Swan and his son Matt enjoy a walk on the beach while holidaying on the Sunshine Coast. Warren Lynam

Wayne Swan visited the Sunshine Coast University to officially announce a $30 million grant. Contributed

THE University of the Sunshine Coast will build a $37.2 million state-of-the-art Engineering Learning Hub after winning a major grant from the Federal Government.

Deputy Prime Minister and Treasurer Wayne Swan, who is holidaying on the Coast, visited the Sippy Downs campus last week to mark its successful bid for $30 million from the Education Investment Fund.

The university will contribute the remaining $7.2 million to build and operate the four-storey, 6500sq m hub.

"I'm thrilled at what this facility will mean for the Sunshine Coast, somewhere with a very special place in my heart," said Nambour-born Mr Swan, who is holidaying on the Coast with his family.

The new facility will be linked to the University of Southern Queensland, with visualisation theatres built at both universities, to enable collaboration in producing 3D scenarios in civil and mechanical engineering and in developing teaching materials.

It will also feature cutting-edge learning and teaching spaces, including an interactive lecture theatre for 120 students that can be quickly reconfigured for group work or scenario work.

Building is expected to begin this year.

There will also be a stand-alone learning lab, which will be used to demonstrate physical properties of a range of materials and structures. USC vice-chancellor Professor Greg Hill said the Sunshine Coast economy was dependent on engineering, particularly in construction.

"There are significant engineering skills shortages across Australia, Queensland and the Sunshine Coast," Professor Hill said. "These are likely to be exacerbated as more engineers are drawn into the mining sector and as a large number of existing engineers retire.

"Australia has tended to rely on migration to supplement the supply of engineers, but this is becoming more difficult. Australia needs to re-invest in the education and training of its own engineers."

Professor Hill said the University's Engineering Future Program would have significant outcomes for the engineering sector, including new education capacity and capability and more pathways for school and TAFE students to pursue engineering degrees.

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