North West Regional College (NWRC) has officially launched a new partnership with Ulster University that will allow students of Science to gain valuable experience in industry, researching and working on problem based projects.

‘The Science Exchange’ which is funded by Connected NI, and was officially launched by the Mayor of Derry and Strabane District Council Maoliosa McHugh at NWRC’s Strand Road Campus, is the first of its kind in Northern Ireland and provides a unique opportunity for students and local business to participate in mutually beneficial projects.

The scheme will also provide advice and support to Life and Health Science companies, and companies with Life and Health Science problems or issues that require knowledge based creative solutions.

Based in Derry~Londonderry’s city centre, The Science Exchange will meet the requirements of local employers, provide work based learning and scholarships for students, and implement staff development for all parties.

Francine Moran, Lecturer in Science at NWRC and Project Manager of The Science Exchange explained that the scheme will initially target students enrolled on the college’s Foundation Degree in Medical and Applied Sciences and offer an additional research component.

She added: “These projects will have a strong innovation slant which will be of benefit to local business and provide an enriched experience for the students who undertake them.

“Industry involvement and the problem based nature of the projects is the cornerstone of the programme strengthening existing links with industry while creating partnerships.

“The programme will provide both short and long term benefits to the local and broader community. In addition to undertaking problem based projects of immediate benefit to local industry, students completing this programme will ultimately graduate having a greater understanding of the needs of the workplace.”

Dr Le Roy Dowey, Ulster University, and Project Manager of The Science Exchange said: ”The partnership approach towards the delivery of the Science Exchange project will help drive innovative solutions for companies and aid the development of the local knowledge based economy. Supporting confident career paths remains at the heart of what we do at Ulster University and this hands on opportunity for students will help create the relevant knowledge, skills and confidence to excel in professional life.“

Mayor of Derry and Strabane Maoliosa McHugh said: “I am to delighted launch The Science Exchange which will see students from the North West get the opportunity to develop further skill sets that will be at the forefront of advancements in industry. I wish the project managers Francine Moran at NWRC, and Le Roy Dowey at Ulster University and their teams all the success with The Science Exchange and I look forward to attending future events for industry and students alike in the new premises.”

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The scheme is being supported by NWRC’s Business Support Centre, Connected NI, Invest NI, Derry City and Strabane District Council, and Causeway Coast and Glens Borough Council.

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