Univ of Cambridge Receives £4 Million for Lego Professor, Education


The Lego Foundation has donated a £4 million benefaction to the University of Cambridge, and the University is investing £2.5 million for the creation of a Lego professorship to start in October, 2015. The professor will be head director of the Research Centre on Play in Education, Development, and Learning.

University of Cambridge vice-chancellor Sir Leszek Borysiewicz said in The Reporter, the university’s magazine that:

“[H]e has accepted with gratitude a benefaction of £1.5million from the Lego Foundation, payable over three years, of which both the capital and the income may be used to support a Research Centre on Play in Education, Development, and Learning within the Faculty of Education over the same period.”

The Lego Foundation, which owns 25% of the Lego company, is a foundation with a mission to improve learning through play. The Foundation highlights in its vision statement:

“Play helps children develop the intellectual, emotional, social and creative skills that are of lifelong benefit to them and their communities. . . . That is why our work is about re-defining play and re-imagining learning.

The Lego Professorship is the first of its kind and it is expected to launch October 2015. The academic/director will be chosen by a board of electors and his professorship will be within the university’s Faculty of Education. The Lego Foundation has a clear mission as far as education is concerned:

“To re-imagine learning we want to work with parents, carers, school systems, institutions and governments to use the transformative power of play to improve learning for millions of children all over the world.”

The NASA Space Grant Consortium has recently made an endowment to the Robert C. Byrd Institute for Advanced Flexible Manufacturing, the Herald Dispatch reports. The grant will support the First Lego League regional qualifiers in southern West Virginia.

The NASA grant will fund the qualifying competitions in Huntington, Parkersburg, South Charleston, Lewisburg and Weston and overall about 60 teams with students ages 9 to 14 will participate for a chance to qualify for the state-level tournament.

The Lego Robotics program FLL was founded in 1998 and has been taking place in eighty countries with more than 25,000 participating teams. The program’s mission it to get young learners interested in STEM through play and experimentation with robotics.

RCBI’s Director and CEO Charlotte Weber says the First Lego League is an education promoting opportunity for the institute. She added:

“I encourage others to get involved with FLL. It’s truly amazing to witness the level of excitement at these friendly competitions as children demonstrate their knowledge of the STEM fields while also learning valuable character-building skills. We’re proud to be a part of such a worthwhile endeavor.”

The First Lego League starts September 19, 2015 and on November 7 about 15 teams will compete at the FLL qualifier competition.

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