Engineer Sir James Dyson, of vacuum-cleaner and clever-hand-dryer fame, has announced that his eponymous charity is to donate £12 million to open a new school to train future design engineers.
Norfolk-born Dyson, granted the CBE in 1996 and knighted in 2007 and with a personal wealth estimated at some £3 billion, set up the charitable James Dyson Foundation in 2002 with the express goal of supporting design and engineering education within the UK. Its previous successes have included the Education Box, a preconfigured set of activities with supportive teaching aids loaned to requesting schools free of charge, and the James Dyson Award, which aims to celebrate and encourage young engineers.
Now, the Foundation has donated £12 million to Imperial College London to create The Dyson School, a design engineering specialist facility teaching a four-year Master of Engineering (MEng) course from October this year. 'We want to create engineers who are bold and commercially astute,' Dyson claimed of the course. 'They will use their skills, nurtured in the Dyson School, to develop future technology that will catalyse Britain's economic growth.'
The facility, which is to be housed in a former Science Museum building on Exhibition Road in London, is to include industry-standard equipment, studio space, and room for 400 students to design, prototype and test new product ideas.
'Backing Britain's world leading science, research and innovation is a key part of our long term economic plan,' crowed Chancellor George Osborne at the announcement. 'It is fantastic to hear about the new partnership between the Dyson Foundation and Imperial College to open the new Dyson School of Design Engineering that will play a key role in training the next generation of design engineers.'
The Dyson School joins an £8 million donation for a facility at the University of Cambridge and a £5 million donation for the Royal College of Art to set up technology hubs and business incubators.