By Daniel Hunter

Sir James Dyson, the founder of Dyson vacuum cleaners, has invested £12 million to launch an engineering school as part of the Imperial College London.

Forty undergraduates will be enrolled in October on a four-year course. The first two years of the course will be based at Imperial's facilities. A new building is set to open in 2017, which will allow the school to accept up to 90 students.

The Dyson School of Design Engineering will be based at the building previously owned by the Science Museum in South Kensington.

Sir James told The Telegraph there there is a huge shortage of engineers in the UK.

“We’re suicidally under-producing engineers,” he said. “Only 40,000 qualify each year, which means there will be a shortfall of half a million by 2020.”

“China produces two million engineers a year and Iran and the Philippines produce more than we do," the inventor and entrepreneur added.

This is the latest investment announced by Sir James. He recently announced that Dyson would be spending £1.5bn to expand its global business, $15m for a US company which is developing "solid-state" batteries, and £250m on a research & development project at Dyson UK which will create 3,000 new jobs over the next four years.