Chris Skidmore MP, Minister of State for Universities, Science, Research and Innovation, visited Durham University on the 24th January.
During a two-hour tour, Skidmore was shown around Durham’s new Teaching and Learning Centre and tried out new digital learning tools, including virtual reality headsets.
In addition, Skidmore held meetings with the Vice Chancellor, Stuart Corbridge, and made a speech to over 100 staff, students and leaders of the TechUp project.
“This shiny press release fails to acknowledge any desire by the University to lobby the Government”
Skidmore said that it had been a “fantastic opportunity” to visit the University, and called the research “really inspiring.”
Before entering parliament in 2010 as the Conservative MP for Kingswood, Skidmore worked as an advisor for David Willetts and Michael Gove. He is also a published historian, having written biographies of Edward VI and Richard III, as well as an account of the Battle of Bosworth.
Since December 2018, Skidmore has served as the Minister for Universities, following Sam Gyimah’s resignation over the government’s Brexit policy.
Skidmore worked as an advisor for Michael Gove
Corbridge commented that: “We were pleased to welcome the Universities Minister to Durham show him just a few of examples of how innovations that began here are supporting the regional economy and, as a result, benefitting our local communities.”
Simon Henig, Leader of Durham County Council, attended Skidmore’s speech, and commented afterwards that “I hope what the Universities Minister has seen in Durham will encourage him to lobby the Government for further investment in our region.”
The press release from the University has come under fire from DULC, Durham’s Student Labour Club.
Zoe Haylock and Jack Pearce, co-chairs of the club, said: “This shiny press release fails to acknowledge any desire by the University to lobby the Government to improve the welfare of the most debt-laden generation ever.
“A responible University would recognise that the appauling financial situation which is the reality for its students and staff is fundamentally detrimental to the incredible research they undertake.”
Photo: Chris McAndrew via Wikimedia Commons