Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Cash Boost for Sciences

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Cash Boost for Sciences

Article excerpt

Byline: Rachel Wearmouth Reporter rachel.wearmouth@ncjmedia.co.uk

UNIVERSITIES in the region will get a multi-million pound funding boost to prepare the next generation for careers in science and technology. Newcastle University and Durham University are being awarded a share of a PS350m pot from the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC), Universities and Science Minister David Willetts will announce today.

The cash injection is aimed at building links between industry and academia in the region, placing students at the forefront of the global science race.

On Tyneside, The Centre for Doctoral Training in Digital Civics will be set up, linking digital technology to the design of local government services in Newcastle Gateshead and Northumberland.

Professors Patrick Olivier and Peter Wright will train more than 60 PhD students over nine years, and the team will explore how digital technologies can promote participation and shape council services.

Professor Olivier, of the university's Culture Lab, said: "The technological advances we have all witnessed in the last 20 years mean that new grassroots models of service provision and government are now genuinely possible and the goal of the centre will be to train a generation of researchers capable of realising these." Professor Wright said: "One of the biggest challenges for Digital Civics is that it needs researchers that are not just technologists, but also experts in areas such as health, politics, planning and education.

"This will require researchers who understand the potential and the limitations of digital technologies, but who also know how to engage with communities to innovate in the design of new services that really meet their needs."

Leader of Newcastle City Council Nick Forbes said: "This leading centre will help create the jobs of the future which is exactly what we need, and anything that enhances public services and improves quality of life for residents is a good thing for the city and the region. …

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