University of Surrey wins Royal Society of Chemistry Prize for teaching
The £1.7 million Fluor Pilot Plant at the University of Surrey has won a 2023 Horizon Prize for Education - awarded for ground-breaking innovations that mark a step change in teaching.
This fully operational chemical plant, complete with a state-of-the-art control room, gives groups of students the chance to operate industrial processes throughout their degree.
Since 2020, some of those processes have been available to students and the wider public using a VR app. Users can experiment with the main reactor, control flow rates, with an alarm alerting them if something goes wrong.
Professor Adrian Dobbs, Head of the School of Chemistry at the University of Surrey, said: “We are grateful to the Royal Society of Chemistry for this honour, and delighted that the rich experience our students enjoy has been recognised in this way.
''When the chemists and chemical engineers of the future come to Surrey, they have access to some of the best facilities in the world.”
The university has taken the award as signifying and validating its belief that 'immersive experiences are the answer to tackling the national shortage in engineers'.
Dr Helen Pain, Chief Executive of the Royal Society of Chemistry, said: “The chemical sciences are at the forefront of tackling a range of challenges facing our world. From fundamental chemistry to cutting-edge innovations, the work that chemical scientists do has an important role to play in building our future.
“The inspiration, innovation and dedication of those who work in education is fundamental to the progress of the chemical sciences – shaping the future and setting our young people up to tackle the challenges and the opportunities facing our society and our planet.
“The University of Surrey Chemical Pilot Plant Education and Training Team’s work demonstrates an outstanding commitment to chemistry education, and it is our honour to celebrate their considerable contribution.”