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November 28, 2014
For immediate release

Province commits $16 million to UPEI

Innovation and Advanced Learning

The provincial government has committed $16 million to the new School of Sustainable Design Engineering at the University of Prince Edward Island, says Innovation and Advanced Learning Minister Allen Roach.

“As the primary funder of this new initiative, our government recognizes that UPEI is a tremendous post-secondary institute,” said Minister Roach. “This new specialized engineering degree program was strategically chosen, due to increasing demand for both engineering graduates and increasing student interest.”

The government recognizes the importance for policy-makers to align education and training opportunities, to the needs of the workforce. Senior management at UPEI, acting on a recommendation from the Provincial Post Secondary Task Force, spent the past couple of years proactively researching what specialized program would attract students and what needs are present in our labour market workforce across Prince Edward Island.

The new program will focus on mechatronics, bioresources, and sustainable energy engineering, which is well aligned with the province’s strategic growth sectors of bioscience, IT, renewable energy, and aerospace. These industry sectors have been steadily growing in Prince Edward Island and there is a demand for skilled, qualified engineers.

Engineering has significant current and projected growth not only locally, but also globally. Students are looking for degree granting engineering education, and employers are looking to hire them.

Launching a new university program requires a great deal of planning, as well as additional infrastructure. The province is investing $16 million into this project. Of that, $4 million will go towards the operating costs of the new engineering degree. $12 million will go towards the construction of a new state-of-the-art building to house the engineering program.

“This initiative will help strengthen our university and provide us with a well-trained and knowledgeable engineering workforce, who are ready to start their careers,” said Minister Roach. “This is a true example of collaboration between government and our leading post-secondary institutions. This initiative will attract new students, improve the competitiveness of the institution and contribute to the sustainability of UPEI.”

“The University of Prince Edward Island is undertaking a transformative approach to post-secondary education by putting innovation into action and establishing the new School of Sustainable Design Engineering,” said UPEI President and Vice-Chancellor Alaa Abd-El-Aziz. “We are creating a professional engineering R&D workspace on the UPEI campus where students and faculty will work alongside industry clients to design solutions that better society and contribute to global challenges.”

He added, “UPEI is grateful to the Government of Prince Edward Island and Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency for helping build our culture of teaching and research excellence.”

UPEI provides students with quality education and a foundation for lifelong learning, as well as the practical means for a fulfilling career.

Ground work for the new building will commence next week and construction will be completed for the start of the fall 2016 semester.

Media Contact: Autumn Tremere
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