Home appliances innovator Sir James Dyson has donated £12m to Imperial College London to launch a new engineering school to educate future engineering leaders.
The Dyson School of Design Engineering, funded through the James Dyson Foundation, will reside on London’s Exhibition Road in a building bought from the Science Museum.
The first new engineering department established at Imperial in the last two decades, the Dyson School will teach a four-year MEng course in Design Engineering, starting in October 2015.
"We want to create engineers who are bold and commercially astute,” Sir James said. “They will use their skills, nurtured in the Dyson School, to develop future technology that will catalyse Britain's economic growth."
The new degree’s curriculum will focus on industry-relevant skills. Developed in cooperation with Dyson engineers, it will offer a blend of technical and creative disciplines.
"Design combines the best of technical expertise with creativity, and the Dyson School of Design Engineering is uniquely placed to bring these together in its student experience and research,” said Professor Alice Gast, president of Imperial College London. “The James Dyson Foundation's generous donation, along with Dyson's industrial expertise, gives us the opportunity to create a world-leading School for a new kind of engineer to design the future."
Chancellor George Osborne commented on the announcement saying that investment into science, research and innovation is ‘a key part of the UK’s long-term economic plan’.
However, he said, more needs to be done to attract more applicants, especially women to study engineering.
"What Britain needs to do more of in the future as an economy and as a society, we need to bring together science and creativity and invention and it's about that and the commercial application of those things,” he said during a speech at the Science Museum.
"One of the most exciting things at the moment is there are many more women and girls in school doing maths and engineering subjects, considering that as a career after university.
"It is changing and of course you've got to change a whole load of attitudes and assumptions in society."
The Science Museum will use the money from the sale of the building to help fund a major transformation that will include multiple new permanent galleries.
The James Dyson Foundation has donated £50m to engineering education and medical research. This includes £8m to create a technology hub at the University of Cambridge and £5m to London's Royal College of Art to build business incubator units for graduate students.