THE University of the Sunshine Coast will build a $37.2 million state-of-the-art Engineering Learning Hub after winning a major grant from the Federal Government.
Deputy Prime Minister and Treasurer Wayne Swan will visit the Sippy Downs campus today to mark its successful bid for $30 million from the Education Investment Fund.
The university will contribute the remaining $7.2 million to build and operate the four-storey, 6500sq m hub.
"I'm thrilled at what this facility will mean for the Sunshine Coast, somewhere with a very special place in my heart," Nambour-born Mr Swan, who is holidaying on the Coast with his family, said.
"By delivering first-class education facilities we will help generate jobs and future prosperity for the Coast region, and the country."
The new facility will be linked to the University of Southern Queensland, with visualisation theatres built at both universities, to enable collaboration in producing 3D scenarios in civil and mechanical engineering and in developing teaching materials.
It will also feature cutting-edge learning and teaching spaces, including an interactive lecture theatre for 120 students that can be quickly reconfigured for group work activities or scenario work.
There will also be a stand-alone learning lab, which will be used to demonstrate physical properties of a range of materials and structures. USC vice-chancellor Professor Greg Hill said the Sunshine Coast economy was dependent on engineering, particularly in construction.
"There are significant engineering skills shortages across Australia, Queensland and the Sunshine Coast," Professor Hill said. "These are likely to be exacerbated as more engineers are drawn into the mining sector and as a large number of existing engineers retire.
"Australia has tended to rely on migration to supplement the supply of engineers, but this is becoming more difficult. Australia needs to re-invest in the education and training of its own engineers."
Professor Hill said the University's Engineering Future Program would have significant outcomes for the engineering sector, including new education capacity and capability and more pathways for school and TAFE students to pursue engineering degrees.