UNIVERSITIES Minister, Sam Gyimah MP, has visited Bournemouth University to engage with staff and students and take part in a groundbreaking ceremony.

The minister is currently touring a handful of universities across the UK as part of his #SamOnCampus campaign.

He visited BU’s Fusion Building to see a showcase of various Bournemouth University research projects.

Attending the showcase, alongside Vice Chancellor Professor John Vinney and Bournemouth West MP Conor Burns, the minister was able to take part in a virtual laparoscopic surgery with Dr Tom Wainwright, deputy head of the Orthopaedic Research Institute.

Professor Jan Wiener, Head of the Ageing and Dementia Research Centre (ADRC) then took the minister through virtual technology being used to aid people living with dementia, and how this can help both those affected and carers.

The minister then heard from Dr Sarah Bate and PhD student Ebony Murray of the Centre for Face Processing Disorders, whose work in face tracking and recognition could form a link between prosopagnosia and developmental disabilities like autism.

Mr Gyimah then took part in a ground-breaking event at Talbot Campus with Wilmott Dixon’s Managing Director of Southern Homes Counties, Richard Poulter, who gave a brief speech before declaring the first day of construction, alongside assembled Wilmott Dixon and university staff involved in the construction project.

Speaking about BU in an interview on campus with final year BA (Hons) Multimedia Journalism students Poppy Bullen and Shey Spears, the minister said: "I love the Fusion Building, I think it’s absolutely fantastic – it’s a great space, very open and modern and I think that’s really good.

"Seeing some of the applied research that is being done across the board is really interesting – if anything, Bournemouth University should be shouting more about it to the rest of the world."

In talking about some of the challenges facing him in his role, the minister said: "One of the things that’s very key to me as Universities Minister, is ensuring that students get value for money for their degrees.

"Students are investing a considerable amount of money in their degrees and I want to make sure that they get what they have paid for from the university, but also afterwards that whatever they want to do with their degrees, that they are able to pursue those dreams and ambitions."

He added: "That’s why I started this whole thing called #SamOnCampus, to be able to actually go out there to listen and engage with students so that they have a voice in the decisions that are being made in Westminster."