Plans for private science university could boost innovation

04 January 2012

Posted by Michelle Devonshire

A new privately-funded institution in the UK could help to boost innovation in the science and technology sector.

Plans have been unveiled by the Government for a new university for graduates that is intended to focus on cutting-edge research.

Funding will be sought for the venture from private organizations, businesses and international partners.

Announcing the proposals at the Policy Exchange, David Willetts, the UK's Science Minister, stated: "This time we will be looking to private finance and perhaps sponsorship from some of the businesses that are keen to recruit more British graduates."

He pointed out there would be no additional Government funding for the venture, but suggested it provided a means of expanding the existing UK research base.

It formed part of a series of proposals unveiled by Mr Willetts in order to make the UK global leader in terms of science that include the creation of a new centre for the testing and demonstration of satellite applications, leadership councils for e-infrastructure and synthetic biology and higher external funding for universities.

"We can have world-class industries using cutting-edge technologies. We can have a prosperous future with a role in the world," he declared, adding: "Globalization is still at its early stages when it comes to higher education".

Last month, the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills presented a showcase of innovation in the field of electronics.

The exhibition at the Westminster headquarters of the Government agency was intended to promote the best British manufacturing has to offer and was attended by Mark Prisk, the Business Minister.

Hi-tech products were on display to demonstrate the nation's expertise within the industry and Mr Prisk highlighted the pervasive nature of electronics, with products used in markets from farming and consumer goods, to IT and aviation.

"We have 40 per cent of the European market in electronics system design, nearly a third of Europe's silicon design companies and we are the home to Europe's largest concentration of electronics systems design houses," he explained.

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