Investment in excellence will safeguard UK research base

InnovationUniversity Alliance responds to today’s (15 May) announcement that three Alliance universities are to benefit from part of a £50 million investment in cutting-edge research and innovation projects. 16 schemes at institutions across the country have been allocated a share of the money from HEFCE’s Catalyst Fund, working with businesses to support the UK’s economic recovery.

Libby Hackett, Chief Executive of University Alliance, said: 

“The future success of economic growth in the UK will be based on the talent and innovation of people from across the country. This welcome investment recognises the crucial role that universities play in delivering high impact research and building innovative projects in order to drive growth.

“The Government’s commitment to research funding following excellence wherever it exists will safeguard the UK research base and is indeed welcome. Only by continuing to invest in our research-base in this way can we ensure it remains both world-leading and sustainable.”

Notes for editor 

• Press contact: Contact Andrew Henry | 0207 839 2757.
Press release from HEFCE.

University Alliance institutions projects:

Sheffield Hallam University: The University will develop a National Centre of Excellence for Food Engineering working closely with industrial partners including Cargill, Dalehead Foods, Mars, McCain Foods, Nestlé, Premier Foods, Warburtons and William Jackson Food Group who will contribute equipment, facilities, mentors or advisers. The project addresses a recent finding that many food manufacturing plants suffer from a lack of skills amongst engineers to identify and rectify breakdowns. The Centre will be fully operational by 2017, and will see the University become a leading education provider for the food and drink industry, providing state of the art facilities and creating a supply of skilled engineers. The Centre has an ambitious target to help add £1billion in Gross Value Added to the food and drink industry, as well as to get more graduates engaged in the industry.

Coventry University: The university will establish a Manufacturing Institute as part of a formal partnership with the Unipart Manufacturing Group, with the twin aims of developing innovative approaches to education, training and research in engineering, and stimulating the Unipart supply chain and the wider high-value manufacturing sector across the UK. The project includes design and implementation of a new dedicated academy building on the Unipart site in Coventry, together with new courses and training developments, joint academic-industry appointments and research and development, and technology road-mapping. The project will support the ambition of the Coventry and Warwickshire Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) for 5,000 new or upskilled engineers by 2015, and increases in the numbers of SMEs active in research and development in the area.

The Open University: The project will draw together multiple partners to create a Milton Keynes Data Hub, with a view to exploring the solutions to urban problems through data storage and sharing, as well as creating economic growth in the Milton Keynes area. The hub will bring together a number of universities (including Cambridge and Bedfordshire), Catapults (initially Satellites Applications), commercial companies and local government to build and operate a data hub to solve the demand problems of cities in terms of critical areas of transport, energy and water. The Hub will also provide a resource for student and SME entrepreneurship and the exploitation of commercial opportunities, and will explore the commercialisation of the underlying data platform as an integrated city system. British Telecom and Dell will work with the university to build the data hub, with the local authority as the trusted data custodian.

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