Queen’s opens £14m computer science centre

A world class computer science hub built by Queen’s University at a cost of £14 million indicates its commitment to global development in the field it has been claimed.

The centre, housed in a brightly coloured modernist building on Belfast’s Malone Road, is to be opened by Ian Loughran, a Queen’s graduate who is now head of Americas sales operations at Google and will support the expansion of computer science – an institutional priority for the University.

STEM subjects are increasingly important to Northern Ireland’s economy and are currently in demand in the local labour market.

Describing itself as the “engine house” of the province the university said it is working with key industry players to ensure graduates are highly trained and employment ready.

“This investment by Queen’s is part of the University’s £700m capital development programme, which is transforming our campus and continuing to develop as a university that is a beacon of leaning and innovation,” said president and vice-chancellor, professor Patrick Johnson.

“The colourfully-redeveloped computer science building will allow the 1,000 students reading computing-related subjects to have access to state-of-the-art facilities. The impressive design fits the requirements of our world class university and supports our outstanding students and staff in conducting leading-edge education and research, focused on the needs of global society.

“This redevelopment would not have been possible without the support of our generous sponsors and donors; The Garfield Weston Foundation, First Derivatives and Allstate.”

Mr Loughran said: “I’m delighted to see this investment in Northern Ireland and specifically at Queen’s. Computer Science education is critical, not only because of the growing number of computer related jobs but also because it develops key skills, which foster new ideas and drive innovation in tech and other fields.”

The redevelopment was completed in nine months, its modern and colourful exterior boasts glass fins which represent digital code– a main mathematical aspect of computer science.

The hub spans four floors and includes labs and break-out spaces, providing a meeting place for creative learning and a new mode of teaching.