Work to start on UC's major new science facility

27 November 2013

Construction work will start later next year on the University of Canterbury's (UC) $212 million new Regional Science and Innovation Centre.

Work to start on UC's major new science facility

Construction work will start later next year on the University of Canterbury’s (UC) $212 million new Regional Science and Innovation Centre.

The new science facility is part of the Government’s $260 million support for the university as it rebuilds and remediates following the 2010 and 2011 earthquakes.

Science teaching at Canterbury will be cutting edge in terms of delivering modern science education, Pro-Vice-Chancellor responsible for the RSIC, Professor Paul Fleming says.

"This will be supported by state-of-the-art audio-visual and laboratory equipment in teaching environments which best facilitate a blended learning approach.

"We will draw on a mix of modern face-to-face teaching methods, individual and small group investigative laboratory learning, on-line learning and independent learning through individual effort and group work. 

"The RSIC will, due to clever design, have much of our science on view where school students and other visitors to the centre will be able to see laboratory work in action through glass walls.

"Research will benefit from having well equipped laboratories which will enable staff and postgraduate students to engage in much more interdisciplinary discussion due to the co-location of our academic disciplines in close proximity to each other.

"Open learning and social spaces will mean that students and staff will be able to meet colleagues from other disciplines and this will facilitate the cross-fertilisation of ideas and generate cross-discipline research proposals.’’

The RSIC will contain a suite of multi-disciplinary teaching laboratories where undergraduates in biological sciences, chemistry, geography, geological sciences and physics and astronomy will be taught.

There will also be state-of-the-art research facilities for these disciplines which will be used by academic staff and postgraduate research students. The centre will also contain facilities for the College of Education's Science and Technology Education programme and facilities for the College of Science's active Outreach Programme.

Secondary School students from Christchurch and wider afield will be able to use the facilities, both the laboratories and also the extensive informal learning spaces.

"We hope to occupy the first phase building at the beginning of 2017. Staff will be working in modern, well designed facilities which will enable them to engage in world-class research using the most modern equipment.

"All students and staff will work in an open, welcoming environment in which there will be a range of informal learning spaces that they will be able to access at any time. The facilities are designed to ensure that all the relevant research groups have appropriate adjacencies to each other.

"The wireless environment will give us the capacity to use tablets for teaching and communication purposes. Wireless communication systems will enable lecturers to communicate with targeted groups of students within a wider laboratory environment.

"Research equipment is constantly evolving and the buildings are designed to accommodate new equipment as the science develops,’’ Professor Fleming says.

Science is one of the areas where UC is seen as having a strong international reputation. The centre will generate graduates and knowledge that will particularly assist the Canterbury region and New Zealand in coming years. 

For further information please contact:
Kip Brook
Media Consultant
Student Services and Communications
University of Canterbury
Ph: (03) 364 3325
Mobile: 027 5030 168
kip.brook@canterbury.ac.nz

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