Royal opening: University’s know-how the focus at new building launch

Royal opening: University’s know-how the focus at new building launch
University news

Monday 11 February 2013

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Coventry University showcased its expertise when Her Royal Highness the Princess Royal formally opened its £55 million engineering and computing facility on campus.

The new home for the University’s Faculty of Engineering and Computing has been used by students since September 2012, but the state-of-the-art building received royal attention for its official opening on Friday 8 February 2013.

The striking, eco-friendly structure, which houses an impressive array of high-tech equipment, is symbolic of the University’s ongoing commitment to invest in our engineering future and support technology-based companies.

The building’s design, from the way that classrooms and laboratories are arranged to the way that cutting-edge technology is used throughout, also reflects the University’s innovative approach to teaching and learning which is firmly focused on preparing students for successful careers.

With the University having a long track record of working closely with business, the engineering and computing team is confident that the new facility will further enhance its entrepreneurial standing and increase still further the joint research and development projects with industry.

Her Royal Highness saw for herself the award-winning work in a variety of disciplines, including humanitarian engineering. The University’s endeavours in this area saw a team of its undergraduates emerge victorious in a prestigious competition run by charity Engineers Without Borders (EWB).

The Princess Royal was shown the engineering students’ winning design concept for a community and health centre in one of southern India’s poorest areas.

Staff and students also highlighted the partnership work the University is carrying out with EWB and the Royal Academy of Engineering to establish an advisory board to steer the faculty’s efforts to create a new charity to support global humanitarian engineering initiatives.

Other key features of the new Engineering and Computing building which were demonstrated to the Princess Royal include:

  • a 2,000 square metre, £3 million high performance engineering centre with a Harrier Jump Jet aircraft and three flight simulators;
  • a one-fifth scale wind tunnel designed and built by the Mercedes AMG Petronas F1 team;
  • a £2.6m ERDF-sponsored centre to support SMEs around the UK with the development of sustainable construction technologies;
  • a high-tech games laboratory featuring the latest 3D games development equipment.


Paul Ivey, dean of the Faculty of Engineering and Computing at Coventry University, said:

It was with great pleasure that we welcomed Her Royal Highness the Princess Royal to formally open our new engineering and computing facility.

We believe that our new building will strengthen our position as a forward-thinking, innovative University. We produce graduates who meet industry’s exacting demands by applying fresh and original approaches to teaching and learning, investing in state-of-the-art equipment and building close links with business. This philosophy underpins the whole look and feel of the new building.

The distinctive, modern building, designed by Arup Associates and built by Vinci Construction, is part of the University’s ongoing multimillion pound redevelopment plan for the city centre campus.

For further information and images, please contact Alex Roache, external press and media relations officer, Coventry University, on +44 (0)24 7679 5050 or email

Humanitarian engineering
Humanitarian engineering is defined as the use of engineering disciplines in a culturally sensitive and sustainable way to address social issues in communities which are unable to cope themselves. It can be applied on a local, national or global level and – contrary to popular perception – is not necessarily restricted to reactive work in the wake of a natural disaster.

Her Royal Highness the Princess Royal
The Princess Royal, the second child and only daughter of the Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh, was born at Clarence House, London, on August 15th 1950, when her mother was Princess Elizabeth, heir presumptive to the throne. She was baptised Anne Elizabeth Alice Louise at Buckingham Palace on October 21st 1950.

She received the title Princess Royal from the Queen in June 1987; previously she was known as Princess Anne. Her Royal Highness is the seventh holder of the title.

[source: The official website of the British Monarchy.]