A £500,000 REFIT has been completed at Huddersfield University’s chemical engineering laboratory.

And university officials believe it is proof of their growing reputation in science at a time when some universities are losing science students.

The laboratory is designed to help students learn about the scaling-up of chemical processes to industrial quantities by looking at the whole process, including such areas as energy efficiency and safety.

As well as involving the laboratory fixtures the renovation work has also seen the replacement of large pilot plant with modern, more efficient, smaller equipment, some with state-of-the-art computer control.

Despite a national drop in the number of science students Huddersfield University has continued to increase its intake on its chemistry courses over the past 10 years.

It is now the country’s 16th largest chemistry department.

Dr Hamid Golshekan, senior lecturer and director of studies in chemical engineering at the university said: “I hope the new facilities will encourage even more undergraduates to consider Huddersfield’s already popular chemistry courses.

“Chemical engineering is not a course which students are always aware of at school and yet it is a subject with a shortage of graduates.

“We are seeing many students, both from the UK and overseas, choosing our courses and we hope these developments will attract even more.”

Dr Golshekan continued: “The department has a long tradition of working with industry and every year companies approach me looking for graduates to employ. But I have more requests than graduates to fill the positions.

“The Huddersfield course is unique in being chemistry with chemical engineering, which enables graduates to obtain jobs and professional qualifications in either area.

“This means that students starting the course are not committed to either area. Some choose both and a few graduates have gone on to become both professional chemists and professional engineers.”

Dr Roger Jewsbury, the head of the Chemical and Biological Sciences Department, said: “Despite the difficult times nationally, science at Huddersfield is undergoing a renaissance.

“There has been a significant increase in staff this year to boost both research and teaching.’’