The University of Nottingham’s contribution to business, research and the local community has been hailed as something to aspire to during a ministerial visit.
Minister of State for Universities. Research and Innovation Chris Skidmore MP and Exchequer Secretary to the Treasury, Robert Jenrick MP visited the University of Nottingham to discuss University Enterprise Zones (UEZ), cutting-edge research and the civic role of universities.
Using the success of Nottingham’s Innovation Park (UNIP) the Ministers announced that more universities across England can apply for funding to develop their own Enterprise Zones.
The announcement comes in the wake of plans to double the size of UNIP over the next ten years, creating up to 2,000 jobs.
Mr Jenrick, who is also MP for Newark, says the University of Nottingham’s enterprise zone, on the former Raleigh Bicycle site, has created a powerful link between academic research expertise and economic growth in the city.
He said: “We’ve been extremely impressed by what the University of Nottingham has achieved with its UEZ, which has helped transform a former industrial site into an icon for 21st century progress.”
Mr Skidmore said: “Our universities are among the best in the world, and when they join forces with our ambitious and innovative small businesses, they have the potential to meet the grand challenges of the future.
“Today’s investment to bring business and academics together will not only lead to the creation of new products and services, it will boost job creation for local areas to feel the benefits of UK innovation which demonstrates our modern Industrial Strategy in action.”
The visit also took in the Advanced Manufacturing Building at Jubilee Campus - a flagship building that plays hosts to global leaders in manufacturing science and technology. Research in the building is currently transforming industry around the world from repair robots fixing Rolls Royce engines to complex pharmaceutical devices.
Finally Mr Skidmore was invited to take part in Periodic Table of Videos LIVE! Building on the success of his series of videos with the same name Professor Sir Martyn Poliakoff led a demonstration showing the effect of climate change on oceans and marking The International year of the Periodic Table.
The University is celebrating the Year in a number of ways. Yuri Oganessian, the only living person to have an element named after him (Oganesson), will give a guest lecture in March; the University will host a periodic tablethemed Wonder public open day in June, and is developing a Nottingham-themed Periodic Table with highlights including Robin Hood (Rh) and Ey Up Mi Duck (Eu).
Over the last nine months, the University of Nottingham and Nottingham Trent University have started working together on a brand new approach to their combined civic impact.
This initiative, called the Universities for Nottingham, will see both universities look at how they might better collaborate with each other and partners across the area to help support the future of economic growth in Nottingham and the life chances of its citizens.
Both universities will undertake a joint assessment of their economic, social and cultural impact on the local area - consulting partners across Nottingham about their challenges and priorities - before launching a joint civic programme in Autumn 2019.
The Minister remarked that he was delighted to see that both of Nottingham’s world-class universities were leading the university sector’s response to this important agenda.
University of Nottingham Vice-Chancellor Professor Shearer West said: “As a University, we firmly believe that our research expertise can make a valuable contribution to progress both by using technology and ideas to solve some of the problems we’ll face in the future, and by creating opportunities for the partners we work with and the people of our home city.
“We have been delighted to host the two Government ministers and wholeheartedly support their efforts to grow University Enterprise Zones elsewhere. They are an important demonstration of the wider value universities bring to their localities.”
On Monday (4 March) the University will also play host to the first meeting of a new Midlands Engine steering group aimed at helping the region realise its ambitious vision for Toton, HS2 and the surrounding area. The meeting will focus on discussing the first phase of work to unlock £2m of Government funding for the creation of a locally-led development corporation to lead on the project.