June 26, 2017, by Liz Cass
Midlands Innovation expansion puts universities in the driving seat for UK Industrial Strategy
Midlands Innovation, one of the region’s most influential academic collaborations, is expanding its portfolio with the addition of two new members, Keele University and Cranfield University.
The pioneering partnership currently consists of the Universities of Aston, Birmingham, Leicester, Loughborough, Nottingham and Warwick, and seeks to amplify the economic development of the Midlands through uniting universities and industry to drive cutting-edge research, innovation and skills development. Midlands Innovation’s evolution with the addition of Keele and Cranfield in June 2017 will widen its impact across the region, expanding into the north-west and south-east.
Cranfield University is the UK’s only exclusively postgraduate university, and it specialises in technology and management. Sir Peter Gregson, Chief Executive and Vice-Chancellor of Cranfield University, said: “I am delighted that Cranfield has joined Midlands Innovation. We already attract investment and employment to the region through our world-class education and research. Combining our research expertise with other partner universities in Midlands Innovation means that we can contribute to major new initiatives regionally, nationally and internationally. This opens new opportunities for staff and students alike, and supports economic growth across the region.”
Keele University was founded more than 60 years ago to meet the demands of a new kind of society, economy and world. Professor Trevor McMillan, Vice-Chancellor of Keele University, said: “I’m delighted that Keele has become part of Midlands Innovation, joining like-minded institutions that are all striving to develop our fantastic region. Keele is committed to driving advanced research, innovation, and skills development that will further develop our regional economy, as demonstrated by the recent launch of our £70m New Keele Deal programme, and the creation of Europe’s first Smart Energy Network Demonstrator on our campus. We’re looking forward to forging closer links with the other partners to further develop groundbreaking research and innovation initiatives across the Midlands.”
Professor Stuart Croft, Chair of Midlands Innovation and Vice-Chancellor and President of the University of Warwick, said: “The addition of our two new partners Keele University and Cranfield University is a fantastic opportunity for Midlands Innovation and the Midlands Engine. Both universities embody the spirit of Midlands Innovation perfectly – their world-leading research and dynamic approach to teaching and industry collaboration mean they are an obvious fit for the partnership. We’re delighted to have them on board as part of a bigger and better Midlands Innovation.”
The Midlands Innovation group of universities has played a key role in numerous regional initiatives, including the Midlands Engine for Growth. Heralded as the birthplace of the industrial revolution, the Engine for Growth addresses the challenge of building on the Midlands’ heritage to raise the long-term growth rate and boost the economy. The contribution of universities to this vision is crucial: developing essential skills, stimulating new ideas through cutting-edge academic research and facilitating knowledge exchange. Midlands Innovation provides a platform through which the region’s universities can collaborate with each other and regional, national and international partners to pool resource and increase their impact. Bringing Keele and Cranfield into the partnership makes the Midlands Engine’s vision all the more attainable.