The University of Chichester’s Tech Park - based on its Bognor Regis campus - will be officially opened by Their Royal Highnesses The Duke and Duchess of Sussex
The Royal couple will visit the £35million development on Wednesday 3 October. While there they will meet students, staff, and business partners and see at first-hand innovations in Engineering and Design and Creative Digital Technologies.
The visit will include the University’s state-of-the-art live animation studio designed by Max Tyrie, Head of 3D Animation and VFX, and a BAFTA award-winning animator who has worked on films such as the Amazing Spiderman franchise and the first and second Kingsman films. Max will host an active workshop with students studying for the University’s 3D Animation and Visual Effects degree.
From there the Royal party will visit the 400-square metre engineering labs where they will see a live-action stress-testing experiment using state-of-the-art Mecmesin tensile test equipment. The equipment is one of only two in use in Europe - the other is in Zurich - and it is manufactured by a company in Horsham. The Royal party will meet a number of engineering students including Louise Grainger, who was born, raised, and schooled in Bognor Regis.
The party will then visit the Sound Stage. The session will feature the stage in full operation to illustrate the unique learning environment that the Tech Park can offer. The production (a filmed recording of the University’s award-winning 20-piece chamber orchestra) will utilise the full repertoire of state-of-the-art recording equipment, including cranes and tracks for the cameras, lighting and sound systems used in the film industry, all coordinated by a 30-plus cohort of students, flanked by senior staff.
Overseeing the production will be Professor Stephen Baysted, who has worked with the London Symphony Orchestra to score the soundtracks to several award-winning video games.
For Engineering, the Tech Park combines purpose-built, state-of-the-art workshops, laboratories and equipment with an innovative approach to engineering 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. Facilities include a large, double-height space for engineering design-build-test work, dedicated electronics and mechanics laboratories, a fabrication laboratory, 3D printers and facilities to teach Computer Aided Design.
For Creative and Digital Technologies, this is an opportunity for the University to build on its already excellent international reputation in the world of film, animation, special effects, gaming and supporting skills such as screenplay and score writing. Facilities include a 250 square-metre three-storey high sound stage (one of only three in the south capable of accommodating a professional orchestra), a dedicated 75 square-metre green screen stage, nine edit suites and a ‘Soho’ standard dubbing and master suite, professional recording studios and live room, and a screening theatre.
Excitingly, Tech Park brings together skills and expertise across both areas and other departments in the University to create some ‘STEAM’ – Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Mathematics – with productive opportunities for regional businesses and their employees to get involved.
The Tech Park was completed with funding from the University and supporting grants of £8 million from the Government’s Local Growth Fund through the Coast to Capital Local Enterprise Partnership, and £2.7 million from the Office for Students.
Professor Jane Longmore, Vice-Chancellor of the University of Chichester, commented: “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 looking forward to welcoming them to our new Tech Park building on the Bognor Regis campus, from which we aim to create a positive impact not just through cutting-edge research, but also in up-skilling of the local workforce and driving forward the regional economy.”