The James Dyson Foundation is donating £8 million to Cambridge University to create a technology hub, to provide Cambridge’s engineering students with advanced engineering laboratories.
The donation is the largest gift ever received by Cambridge’s engineering faculty.
“Academic excellence is essential, but we need Britain’s brightest to turn powerful ideas into useful products,” said Dyson.
Due to open in 2015, the Dyson Engineering Design Centre will provide a prototyping hub and workshop space for mechanical, structural and electronic engineers at the Department of Engineering.
An open plan design featuring dozens of incubator units will encourage the sharing of ideas and a collaborative research environment. Specialised printing machinery, scanners, lasers and routers will be provided.
The facilities will also be used for outreach projects, involving local schools, to inspire the next generation of inventors.
In addition, a separate new five storey building, the James Dyson Building for Engineering, will house postgraduates and support world leading research in areas including advanced materials, smart infrastructure, electric vehicles, and efficient internal combustion systems for cars.
Bridge links across buildings will allow easy access to testing laboratories housing world-class turbo machinery, fluid dynamics equipment and areas for nanotechnology analysis.
Specialist knowledge on research strategies and funding advice will be available on-site.
“Our research is world class, but we have to bridge the gap between academia and industry,” said Dame Ann Dowling, head of the Department of Engineering at the University of Cambridge. “The Dyson Engineering Design Centre and the James Dyson Building for Engineering will do that, supporting our emerging engineers and encouraging them to take risks and experiment.”