CQUNIVERSITY has received the lion's share of funding in the Federal Government's latest higher education investment round, putting it on the path to becoming Queensland's first dual-sector institution and an engineering powerhouse.
The $73.8 million CQUniversity slice, part of a total pool of $377 million from the Structural Adjustment Fund (SAF) and Education Investment Fund (EIF) for 2011, will be spent on readying the university for its proposed merger with Central Queensland Institute of TAFE and strengthening its engineering offering.
The Bulletin can today reveal how the university plans to spend that money on its campuses across CQ.
"This announcement demonstrates just how crucial CQUniversity is to the national higher education sector, and to the communities of the booming Central Queensland region," vice-chancellor and president Professor Scott Bowman said.
"These funds represent one fifth of the overall SAF/EIF funding pool for 2011, which is a massive vote of confidence from the government in the university, and its plans for dual-sector status and the development of a world-class engineering school.
"Not only will this allow us to deliver critical skills to the region's workforce, but it will also create countless local construction jobs thanks to a huge ramp-up in building activity.
"I want to thank the Commonwealth Government for its foresight in recognising the immense contribution a dual-sector university, offering world-class engineering programs, will make to a region like Central Queensland."
Projects to be funded include $16.6 million to a new engineering precinct at CQUniversity Mackay, $14 million to an industry-leading, public-access allied health clinic at CQUniversity Rockhampton, and a $12.5 million makeover for Mackay TAFE if a merger with CQIT proceeds.
"These projects will revolutionise the learning experience for our engineering and allied health students, by equipping them with cutting-edge, custom-built facilities in which to learn their craft," Prof Bowman said.
Other funds will be channelled into "building" an integrated dual-sector university, including a revamp of classroom facilities, IT systems, administration systems and learning pathways across university and TAFE.
"In bringing together two strong institutions, staffed by great people, we can create more flexible pathways between university and vocational programs, and really offer the people of CQ - and beyond - the best of both worlds," he said.