The new science building, the Beatrice Shilling Building, at Royal Holloway, University of London’s Egham campus was officially opened today (27 March 2019) by Professor Dame Ann Dowling, President of the Royal Academy of Engineering.
The state-of-the-art building is home to the university’s new Department of Electronic Engineering which welcomed students for the first time in 2017.
Students are benefitting from a new building that was designed to develop a creative approach to study, learning and research. It comprises large, modern lecture spaces for teaching and has technical facilities and equipment, collaborative working spaces, research and project fabrication resources and computing and electronics laboratories. There is also a field laboratory on the roof with solar panels and a wind turbine to enable hands-on practical experience with alternative energy generation.
Professor Paul Layzell, Principal of Royal Holloway, University of London, said: “In the UK we currently have an annual shortfall of 20,000 engineering graduates and the UK has the lowest percentage of women working as professional engineers in the EU. At Royal Holloway we wanted to be instrumental in changing these statistics by creating a new department in a new building to encourage more young women to become engineers.
“We believe that the new Beatrice Shilling Building provides the creative environment that will inspire the next generation of scientists and engineers to succeed, achieve their goals and make a difference.”
Professor Dame Ann Dowling, President of the Royal Academy of Engineering, said: “I am delighted to be opening the new Beatrice Shilling Building and be celebrating Royal Holloway’s investment in engineering. The building reflects the ethos of the new Electronic Engineering degree - creative and sustainable, with space for collaboration and group projects.”
Professor David Howard, Head of the Department of Electronic Engineering at Royal Holloway, said: “I have been privileged to have had the rare opportunity to set up a new department from scratch and I am proud of what we have achieved. Ingenuity is at the heart of the Beatrice Shilling Building which is supporting our students to develop in the creative and innovative world of electronic engineering. Creativity must come first, followed by science, for the UK to train the world-class engineers for the future.”
The university received a £5m grant from the Higher Education Funding Council for England which has helped to provide the most modern of resources for students and encourage more female engineers.
The decision to name the building after the pioneering engineer, Beatrice Shilling, was one made by the whole university community. Beatrice Shilling was selected from a choice of four, inspirational female scientists who were passionate about making a difference in their field. Shilling, who held a degree in electrical engineering, was born in Hampshire and worked at the Royal Aircraft Establishment as an aeronautical engineer. She is recognised for her ingenuity in providing a vital modification to British fighter planes in the early stages of the Second World War.