The University of Derby’s new £12m STEM centre has been officially opened by HRH The Earl of Wessex.

The 4,200-square-metre Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics centre was part-funded by a £5 million grant from the Higher Education Funding Council for England.

It provides an extension of computer studios and specialist facilities for engineering, technology and computing students.

“We are delighted that HRH The Earl of Wessex was able to open our new STEM Centre, which was built in response to the needs of industry in the region and is designed to provide our students with the best possible environment in which to study STEM subjects,” Professor Kathryn Mitchell, vice-chancellor of the University of Derby, said.

“Closing the skills gap is a key part of the Midlands Engine strategy and this is something we are committed to playing a major part in.

“This new centre will equip our graduates with the knowledge and skills required to make a significant long-term contribution to industry.”

The centre, which opened its doors to students this month, has been designed to enhance applied practical teaching in mechanical, motorsport, manufacturing and civil engineering.

It supports the university’s new programmes while upgrading and extending facilities for electrical and electronics engineering and computer networking.

His Royal Highness was given a tour of the building, which was designed by architects CPMG and built by contractor Willmott Dixon, meeting with staff, students and representatives from industry before unveiling a commemorative plaque.