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The University of Warwick and Oxford Brookes University have been awarded £3.3 million pounds by the Higher Education Funding Council for England (HEFCE) to create a "Reinvention Centre for Undergraduate Research" The purpose of the Reinvention Centre is to consolidate, enhance and develop research based learning within the undergraduate curriculum.
The Reinvention Centre puts undergraduate research at the centre of undergraduate education. By reinventing the relationship between teaching, learning and research, students will benefit from becoming contributors to the research culture of their departments. Student research will be enhanced through curricula redesign, extra-curricula research opportunities, research scholarships, accreditation for research skills, student exchanges and joint ventures with community organisations. An important aspect of the work of the Reinvention Centre is the design of appropriate learning and research facilities for undergraduates. Initially focusing on the collaborating departments, the Reinvention Centre's work will be extended into other departments within the two universities over the lifespan of the CETL
Based in the Department of Sociology at Warwick and the School for the Built Environment at Oxford Brookes, the initiative will roll out into other departments of the two universities during the life of the CETL. It is envisaged by the end of the five years for which funding has been granted 6,500 students will have benefited from the Centre.
The Centre will build on a number of successful programmes at Warwick and Brookes. At Warwick an Undergraduate Research Scholarship Scheme has already enabled 30 undergraduate students to actively participate in the research life of the University, and the research skills module of Warwick's undergraduate "Warwick Skills Certificate programme" has been taken up by 40 students. Dr Mike Neary from the University of Warwick's Department of Sociology, the Director of the Centre, already leads a project for undergraduate students which uses research based learning in the form of research partnerships between students and ex young offenders.
In 2002-3 Oxford Brookes redesigned all its undergraduate and taught masters degree courses to clearly demonstrate the linkages between research and teaching. Oxford Brookes University has a long history of development work in the area of learning and teaching, including "Project Link", designed specifically to link teaching and research in the built environment disciplines.
Note for Editors: HEFCE's Centres for Excellence in Teaching and Learning (CETL) initiative rewards excellent teaching practice and invests in that practice in order to increase and deepen its impact across a wider teaching and learning community. Those higher education insitutions who make succesful bids under this intiative are rewarded with recurrent and capital funding from 2004-05 to establish a Centre for Excellence in Teaching and Learning. The University of Warwick has been awarded funding for two Centres - the second is a £4.5 million CAPITAL Centre which brings together the University of Warwick and the Royal Shakespeare Company (RSC) in a partnership which will use theatre performance skills and experience to enhance student learning and the development of the RSC acting companies.
For further information please contact: Dr Mike Neary, Department of Sociology, University of Warwick, Tel: 024 76 523964
Peter Dunn, Press and Media Relations, University of Warwick mobile 07767 655860
Susan Tolman, Head of Public Relations, Oxford Brookes University Tel: 01865 484453