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Princess Royal Visits Harper Adams

Posted 25 June 2004

HRH The Princess Royal opening the Foulkes-Crowther Building
HRH The Princess Royal opening the Foulkes-Crowther Building
HRH The Princess Royal received a warm welcome when she visited Harper Adams University College, Shropshire, today. The Princess enjoyed a tour of the university college after officially opening the newly refurbished Foulkes-Crowther Building.

The building, which is named after the first two Principals of the college, was originally opened in 1968 when it housed the college library and teaching accommodation. Funding of more than £500,000 from HEFCE (Higher Education Funding Council for England) has enabled Harper Adams to convert the building, providing 11 new teaching rooms, three state-of-the-art computer-based teaching rooms, a teaching laboratory, a molecular diagnostics lab and associated office space. This is the latest stage of improvements to facilities for learning, teaching, and research, just one of the steps which led the university college to take second place for teaching quality in The Times Good University Guide 2005.

HRH The Princess Royal meeting Harper Adams Principal Wynne Jones
The Princess meets Harper Adams Principal, Professor Wynne Jones
The Princess arrived at the Newport campus by helicopter and was greeted by Mr Algernon Heber-Percy, HM Lord Lieutenant for Shropshire. She was introduced to guests including Mr Humphrey Salway, the High Sheriff of Shropshire, Jim and Yvonne Hicks, Mayor and Mayoress of the Borough of Telford and Wrekin, and Mr Michael Frater, CBE, the Chief Executive of the Borough Council.

Lord Stafford, Chairman of Governers, Principal Professor Wynne Jones, and Kate Robinson, Student Union President, accompanied Her Royal Highness on a tour of the new building, during which she was introduced to staff and students.

The Princess was shown aspects of the University College’s work on the production of energy from farm crops, developments in animal welfare and the ways in which primary agricultural production can have implications for human health, in line with the recommendations published in the Curry Report.

HRH The Princess Royal addresses assembled guests
The Princess addressing assembled guests.
In an address to the Royal visitor and assembled guests, Lord Stafford said the new teaching facilities would greatly improve resources for students and other visitors to the college, of which there are growing numbers. He said: “The research laboratory will provide much needed space for our molecular diagnostics work, which has direct implications for the safety of the food we eat. This research is supported by, amongst others, the Food Standards Agency, and the Home Grown Cereals Authority.”

Lord Stafford added: "Harper Adams is providing specialist higher education for the agricultural and rural communities, support for rural business and much-needed research at a time of considerable change in the agricultural and rural economies. Highly qualified people are needed to see that change through, and we intend to continue our efforts to provide our students with the best, and most relevant, education that we can.”

After unveiling a plaque commemorating the opening of the Foulkes-Crowther Building, Her Royal Highness officially announced Harper Adams’ recent success in securing funding of more than £2.1 million to establish and strengthen existing links with rural industry.

Awarded by HEFCE and the DTI Higher Education Innovation Fund, a major part of the funding will be used to create a National Rural Knowledge Exchange. The university will lead a consortium of 14 higher education institutions and several further education colleges to link the higher education sector with rural businesses across eight English regions. The project will enable rural businesses to benefit from academic expertise and facilities, encouraging rural entrepreneurship.

The Princess also visited the new Bamford Library, which was recently officially opened by Sir Anthony Bamford, chairman of JCB. There, the Royal visitor was introduced to students, who presented her with a Harper Adams rugby shirt.

The Princess’s visit continues a tradition of Royal visits to Harper Adams University College that have included HM The Queen, HM The Queen Mother, HRH Princess Margaret and HRH The Prince of Wales.

Note to Editors

* Harper Adams University College is a specialist higher education establishment for the land-based sector. It specialises in agriculture, agri-food, engineering, rural enterprise and land management, leisure and tourism, business, countryside management and animal health and welfare (including bioveterinary science and veterinary nursing).

* The Foulkes-Crowther Building has been converted in large part thanks to the HEFCE Project Capital and Science Research Investment Fund initiatives. The 11 new teaching rooms have varying capacities, from 20 to 104 seats, all with the latest AV facilities. Disabled access has been provided throughout.

* Harper Adams University College was placed second in Times Higher Education Good University Guide 2005 for the quality of its teaching. Harper Adams scored 23 points out of a possible 24, and beat more than 100 British universities, including Cambridge and Oxford.

* The university college was recently awarded two grants from the HEFCE Higher Education Innovation Fund worth £2,165,000. The cash injection will be spread over two years and provide at least twelve new jobs. £1million will be dedicated to developing a National Rural Knowledge Exchange (NRKE). The remainder will enable the university to provide new jobs and further develop its work with the rural community through its Centre for Rural Innovation (CfRI)

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