'Thanks a million' say engineering students

Postgraduate engineering students at the University of Sheffield look set to benefit from state-of-the-art expansions to teaching spaces and new research equipment, following the donation of one million US dollars by a former student to the Faculty of Engineering.

Graduate Sir Sze-yuen Chung, affectionately known as Sir SY, who studied engineering at the University from 1948 to 1951, donated the generous gift, which will now be used to provide more top-class facilities for the University's engineers of tomorrow.

The money from the gift will be invested in the University's new Engineering Graduate School, in addition to the £20M already committed by the University of Sheffield. This brand new building will be sited on the corner of Broad Lane and Newcastle Street with construction scheduled to start in early 2012 and completion due in mid 2013. Conditional planning permission for the building was granted by Sheffield City Council on Monday (7 November 2011) as the first stage in a 15 year plan to improve and extend the existing estate.

Following consultations with postgraduate engineering students over how they would like the donation to be used, the faculty will now feature innovative facilities that reflect the maturity of postgraduates. Many of the postgraduate courses are taught in intensive one-week blocks so that practicing engineers can take part as students and teachers. This creates the need for different types of facilities more like the 9-5 world of work and less like a seminar room designed for lessons of 50 minutes.

The faculty will also be able to invest in its strategic research priorities, creating world-class laboratories that will attract the best researchers and students in the world.

This boost to postgraduate teaching and research will in turn increase the University's capacity to share its expertise with the local manufacturing industry.

Sir SY Chung was awarded a British Council Scholarship to study in the city and arrived in Sheffield following a 28 day journey at sea. During his time in the city, he lodged with Sheffield couple Mr and Mrs Dixon on Lydgate Lane for the first year, before moving into a rented house with another postgraduate student and his wife in South West Sheffield for the rest of his studies.

During his time studying in the city, Sir SY published ten research papers, one of which was awarded the prestigious Whitworth prize of the Institution of Mechanical Engineers. Following this, Sir SY returned to Hong Kong to become a leading member of the business community and played a key role in the 1984 Sino-British negotiations over Hong Kong's future.

It was Sir SY's experience of living and studying in Sheffield and his gratitude to the education he received here that prompted him to make such a generous donation to help the next generation of Sheffield engineering students.

Professor Mike Hounslow, Pro Vice-Chancellor for the University of Sheffield's Faculty of Engineering, said: "With increased competition in the university sector, the investment in facilities which this donation will enable will help strengthen Sheffield's long tradition in engineering education attracting students to study and live in the city. At the same time we will be creating jobs in the University to support our students and lead their research, and adding value to local businesses, creating high value, long-term employment in the Sheffield city region."

Miles Stevenson, Director of Development in the Alumni Relations Office at the University of Sheffield, said: "Sir SY Chung has been a long standing friend of this University and we're extremely grateful for his generosity. The fact that he has made the gift untied to the Faculty of Engineering gives it enormous value as it enables the University to use the money strategically and will really help the engineers of tomorrow."

Notes for Editors: The Faculty of Engineering at the University of Sheffield is one of the largest in the UK. Its seven departments include over 3,000 students and 800 staff and have research-related income worth more than £40M per annum from government, industry and charity sources. The 2008 Research Assessment Exercise (RAE) confirmed that two thirds of the research carried out was either Internationally Excellent or Internationally Leading.
The Faculty of Engineering has a long tradition of working with industry including Rolls-Royce, Network Rail and Siemens. Its industrial successes are exemplified by the award-winning Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre (AMRC) and the new £25 million Nuclear Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre (NAMRC).
To find out more, visit the link below.

Last month, the University of Sheffield Advanced Manufacturing Institute (AMI) secured £9.2 million in Government funding for a new Training Centre aimed at closing the skills gap for high-value manufacturing companies. The AMI Training Centre will provide training in the practical and academic skills that manufacturing companies need to compete globally, from apprenticeship through to Doctorate and MBA level.
To find out more about the University's Advanced Manufacturing Institute, visit the link below.

For further information please contact: Shemina Davis, Media Relations Officer, on 0114 2225339 or email shemina.davis@sheffield.ac.uk