Nottingham’s two universities are playing a vital role in helping to support the economic and social recovery of the City and the wider region, as it emerges from the COVID-19 pandemic.
Through the Universities for Nottingham collaboration, the University of Nottingham and Nottingham Trent University are uniting with local partners including councils, healthcare trusts and the D2N2 Local Enterprise Partnership, around a common civic mission to improve levels of prosperity, opportunity, sustainability, health and wellbeing for local citizens, families and communities.
Universities for Nottingham is supporting Universities UK’s national campaign #GettingResults, launching today, which is aimed at underlining the critical importance that universities are playing in helping people and businesses recover from the wide ranging damage caused by the pandemic.
In a joint statement, Professor Shearer West, Vice-Chancellor of the University of Nottingham and Professor Edward Peck, Vice-Chancellor of Nottingham Trent University said: “In Nottingham and Nottinghamshire, we believe our students, colleagues, researchers, and graduates have so much to offer. We are proud of their knowledge, skills and expertise and we look forward to seeing them help businesses and industries bounce back in the years to come. We must now make sure that we work closely with our local employers and partners so they are getting the most out of what our university can provide in this challenging process of recovery.”
Universities for Nottingham is already supporting local employers in the Nottingham area through the Digital Marketing Academy (DMA), which will see students working with local marketing agencies to increase skills within the industry.
Digital marketing agencies Hallam and Impression have teamed up with Nottingham Trent University and University of Nottingham to deliver the DMA to students, which will see them gain an extra-curricular qualification in the industry before they finish their studies.
The DMA was introduced by the universities as an initiative to combat the high-level digital skills gap identified by Nottingham City Council. The DMA helps students from any degree to gain a deeper understanding of the multitudes of areas which digital marketing covers, and gives agencies a chance to help guide students on the skills they will be looking out for when hiring graduates.
In addition, the new state-of-the-art £9m Dryden Enterprise Centre (DEC) subsidised by the European Regional Development Fund on Nottingham Trent University’s City campus will link industry and academics, enabling them to work together on projects and challenges. Entrepreneurs, start-ups, small and medium sized enterprises will also have access to tailored support to help them achieve their business goals such as access to upskilling opportunities or recruitment help, as well as mentoring, networking and training programmes delivered by NTU’s Enterprise team, business experts from Nottingham and Nottinghamshire and associate partners.
The skills of graduates from both institutions will also have an important role to play in the future success of businesses and sectors during the Covid-19 recovery process, with many staying in the city to launch successful start-ups of their own.
In 2017, with support from Nottingham City Council, the city’s first ‘social supermarket’, Foodprint, was opened in Sneinton by students from Enactus Nottingham – a not-for-profit organisation that supports student entrepreneurs. Since it started, the company has saved more than 30 tonnes of food from being wasted, and the equivalent of 130,000 kg of CO2 emissions and now has hundreds of regular customers, providing food to around 600 people every week through its wider delivery network. Saving food that supermarkets would otherwise throw away but is still perfectly good to eat from going to landfill, it sells goods at greatly reduced prices in a store in Sneinton, ensuring everyone can afford high-quality, nutritious food.
The universities’ research continues to drive forward innovation and knowledge exchange in the city and wider region.
Nottingham Trent University’s £23 million Medical Technologies Innovation Facility (MTIF) will bring organisations and clinicians together with university researchers to develop their ideas and get them to market as quickly as possible. The MTIF project is expected to improve the lives of patients, reduce the cost of care and stimulate the regional economy. It will focus on supporting the development of innovative products and advanced materials to meet a range of future healthcare needs and accelerate innovation.
The University of Nottingham has been awarded a share of the £28.5m award by Driving the Electric Revolution part of the Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund from UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) to invest in new equipment to support innovative manufacturing processes for advanced electrical machines and drives which will support the UK’s net zero ambitions.
The equipment will be hosted within the new Power Electronics and Electrical Machines Centre at the University of Nottingham which has been selected to host the Midlands Driving the Electric Revolution Industrialisation Centre. The state of the art building will also host the UK Electrification of Aerospace Propulsion Facility providing industry and academic partners with a comprehensive end-to-end facility for the manufacturing and testing of technologies towards electrification to deliver the UK Governments targets towards a net zero carbon economy.
Councillor David Mellen, Leader of Nottingham City Council, said: “Nottingham is the proud home of two world-class universities, which bring new talent and investment to our city. The past 12 months, since the start of the Covid-19 pandemic, have been extremely tough for everyone.
“We’ve helped our residents, some of whom were shielding and isolated for long periods, as well as provided on-going advice and support to local businesses who have been so adversely affected. We’re looking forward to working closely with the universities and partners to rebuild our economy over the coming months.
“There is a breadth of major development already under way in Nottingham, with more on the horizon, and we feel the city is really well placed to bounce back strongly from the pandemic.”
Councillor Ben Bradley MP, Leader of Nottinghamshire County Council, said: “There is little doubt going forward, universities will play a significant role in boosting the business, economic and social recovery following the COVID-19 pandemic.
“As a county, we must take full advantage of the talent, expertise and skills that are being honed at the University of Nottingham and Nottingham Trent University, skills that are internationally renowned and respected.
“The new technologies of the future will rely heavily on the knowledge, aptitude and abilities of today’s students and it will be these students that develop entrepreneurial and innovative approaches in setting up businesses over the next 20 – 30 years.
“I fully endorse the collaborative approach being taken by organisations across Nottinghamshire, and I’m looking forward to being a part of the #GettingResults campaign in the future.”
Professor Julia Buckingham CBE, Universities UK’s President, said: “By working closely with their partners, including local government and employers, universities will play a vital role in the UK’s post-Covid recovery. Together, they can contribute significantly to future economic success and improve lives. Moving forward it is important that employers fully take advantage of universities’ support and develop productive relationships so the nation can bounce back stronger from the pandemic.”