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HRH The Princess Royal visits Harper Adams

Posted 11 May 2006

The Princess Royal in the Bioenergy Development Centre

PIONEERING developments at Harper Adams University College were given the royal seal of approval today – with a visit from Her Royal Highness The Princess Royal.

Her Royal Highness visited the prestigious Newport-based university college this morning to officially unveil plaques in two state-of-the-art buildings.

During the two-hour visit Her Royal Highness unveiled a plaque commemorating the opening of the Bioenergy Development Centre – housing the UK’s first micro-turbine combined heat and power biomass generator.

She also unveiled a stone to commemorate the opening of the Aspire (Advancing Skills for Professionals in the Rural Economy) Centre for Excellence in Teaching and Learning, recently awarded to Harper Adams.

Commenting after the inaugural event, Professor Wynne Jones, Principal of Harper Adams University College, said: “It was an immense honour to receive a visit from Her Royal Highness, who is our Honorary Fellow.

“As always, she was incredibly interested in all the developments and work undertaken at Harper Adams, as well as the two she was officially visiting, and members of staff at the university college were delighted to explain the projects they were involved with.”

The Princess Royal arrived at Harper Adams by helicopter just after 10.30am, where she was greeted by the Vice Lord Lieutenant, Simon Kenyon-Slaney OBE before proceeding with the visit.

Her Royal Highness’ first stop on the visit was to the Bioenergy Development Centre where she was invited to unveil a plaque commemorating the opening of the development.

The micro-turbine biomass generator, developed by Talbott's Engineering following 10 years of research and development, could generate enough energy to provide a quarter of Harper Adams’ average electrical demand.

As the visit proceeded, The Princess Royal attended the Aspire Centre for Excellence in Teaching and Learning, where she was presented to Dr Abigail Hind, Director of the Aspire Centre before unveiling a stone commemorating the project.

“It was a great pleasure to meet Her Royal Highness and discuss the work we are doing at Harper Adams. The Aspire Centre is an achievement and an honour for the university college and we look forward to meeting The Princess Royal in the future in her role as an Honorary Fellow to discuss the work associated with the centre,” Dr Hind added.

Harper Adams was recognised as a Centre for Excellence in Teaching and Learning in January 2005 in recognition of its outstanding achievements in this area.

The £1.9 million award, which is the only one made to an institution or university faculty that specialises in supporting the needs of the rural economy, land-based and food sectors, has allowed the university college to establish the Aspire Centre.

New facilities in the centre include a large open study and resource area for student use in placement and career planning, video-conferencing and seminar suite, a video-editing suite, a meeting room and computer room, along with a dedicated room for secondment fellows and development fellows to work on teaching and learning projects.

During the visit, Her Royal Highness was also invited to present three College Teaching Development Fellowships to Scott Kirby and Lin Davies to develop online farm information data; to Greg Rowsell to produce interactive engineering design learning activities and assessments in the virtual learning environment; and to David White to produce a multi-media resource in farm machinery.

The Secondment Fellowship Scheme was also launched at the event – which aims to encourage and support collaborative development work between the Aspire Centre and other universities, colleges, professional bodies and graduate employers.

The Princess Royal last visited Harper Adams in June 2004, and saw, at first hand, the wide range of research and work with rural businesses being carried out at the university college’s campus

The 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.

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