The Federal Government has announced $31 million in funding for the University of Wollongong's Early Start - Changing Children's Futures project aimed at improving the quality of early childhood education and research, with an additional $7 million being contributed from a philanthropic donor.


The $44 million initiative will aim to produce a generation of high quality, high experience educators for children aged 0-12.


UOW Vice-Chancellor Professor Paul Wellings, CBE, described the announcement as a “red letter day for the University”.


“This is a really significant project for the University and for Australia,” Professor Wellings said. “It will be the largest centre in the world for engaging in the process of dealing with social disadvantage.


Professor Wellings said the project will radically transform educational, health and social outcomes for children in regional, rural and remote communities. Early Start will respond directly on the early years of life and the social and economic value of providing resources to disadvantaged children, their families and capacity build communities.


"Our targeted investment will give students in regional Australia access to better quality education and training opportunities, helping to support increased participation and in turn, meeting the skills needs of regional communities," Minister for Science and Research Senator Chris Evans said.


The funding forms part of the Regional Priorities Round of the Federal Government's Education Investment Fund.