Construction of a multi-million pound facility that will house both Keele Management School and state-of-the-art facilities for business collaboration and incubation in a Smart Innovation Hub has begun.
Partners and representatives from organisations across the region attended the event at Keele University, where they heard about the value of the new facility and details of its benefit to current and prospective students, businesses and the local economy.
The new Management School will create teaching and learning facilities for staff and students. Via co-location alongside the Smart Innovation Hub, students and staff will also have the opportunity to work collaboratively with entrepreneurs and business owners in the new Smart Innovation Hub, designed to support the creation and growth of new businesses and encourage more innovation-led business growth. It also aims to stimulate a new more collaborative approach to business and management research which will benefit businesses locally and globally.
The new Management School has been funded by the university and the Denise Coates Foundation. The Smart Innovation Hub has been funded by the university, Staffordshire County Council, UK Government Growth Deal Funding and the European Regional Development Fund, the latter two secured via the Stoke-on-Trent & Staffordshire Local Enterprise Partnership.
Keele Management School is renowned for providing an excellent student experience and is contributing to the University’s recognised position nationally and internationally for teaching quality, student satisfaction, and graduate employability.
For several years, local students studying at the university have benefitted from scholarships provided by the Denise Coates Foundation. In recognition of this support and the provision of a major gift towards the cost of new facilities for the Management School, the three-story landmark development will be known as the Denise Coates Foundation Building.
This new investment in the Management School will underpin a planned substantial growth in student numbers over the next five years. This investment will play a key role enabling the university to continue its commitment to widening participation in higher education for people locally, a key priority of the funding from the Denise Coates Foundation.
The Smart Innovation Hub alongside the Management School will provide accommodation to support the creation and growth of innovation-led businesses, alongside major new facilities to enable the university to grow its established programme of collaborative research, development and innovation support to local firms.
By 2021 and as a result of the new Smart Innovation Hub facilities, the university will grow its established programme of business support accessed via its dedicated Business Gateway, by an additional 300 business collaborations, leading to the creation of at least 80 new high value jobs. An independent appraisal signals that investment in facilities and programme of business-collaboration will contribute an additional £50 million to the local economy by 2033.
The investment in the Smart Innovation Hub forms a cornerstone of the ‘New Keele Deal’, a partnership between Keele University, Staffordshire County Council, Stoke-on-Trent City Council, Stoke-on-Trent & Staffordshire Local Enterprise Partnership, Newcastle-under-Lyme Borough Council and University Hospitals of North Midlands NHS Trust to underpin innovation-led growth in productivity in local businesses, improve healthcare, reduce greenhouse gas emissions and provide more, higher paid jobs for local people.
As part of this deal, the university has established a Business Gateway, programmes of collaborative research and innovation support to businesses and made major investment in capital infrastructure and a novel collaborative programme with the NHS, to underpin the growth and productivity of the medical healthcare and smart energy sectors across and beyond Stoke-on-Trent and Staffordshire.
Speaking at the event, Professor Trevor McMillan, Keele University Vice-Chancellor, said:
This investment creates the first innovation centre in the UK to bring together a university management school and incubation space for innovative new and developing businesses.
We are thrilled that this venture will ensure that we can continue to provide a sector-leading student experience, via the provision of state-of-the-art facilities for learning and teaching, made possible by our own investment in the new building and that which we are delighted to have received from the Denise Coates Foundation.
We have also been working hard over the last three years to realise this collaborative opportunity with our local civic partners, including Staffordshire County Council and the Local Enterprise Partnership and I’m delighted we are now in a position to begin construction.”
Staffordshire County Council leader Philip Atkins said:
The Smart Innovation Hub will provide the county with a high quality centre for business and will also support the creation of more skilled employment. Its creation has resulted from the formulation of the New Keele Deal which is a formal partnership between the county council, Keele University and a range of other partners.
The deal will help to improve productivity at a local, regional and national level, and play an important part in our continued economic growth. We are confident it will deliver significant results for Staffordshire people and businesses. The start of building work on the hub is therefore a significant milestone.”
Denise Coates CBE, Denise Coates Foundation Trustee, said:
We are so pleased to celebrate the ground-breaking of Keele University’s new state-of-the-art Management School and are delighted that the Foundation could be a part of this prestigious project that will ultimately deliver a world-class learning environment.”
Stoke-on-Trent and Staffordshire Local Enterprise Partnership chairman David Frost CBE said:
Innovation is vital in driving economic growth and making our area a great place to work, live, invest and do business. Keele University’s Smart Innovation Hub is an impressive new facility that will play a key role in creating the highly skilled and well-paid jobs we need for a thriving and prosperous region.”
The new building has been designed by RIBA award-winning and Sterling Prize-nominated architects BDP. In keeping with Keele University’s green ethos, the facility has been planned with a focus on sustainability, with an aim of obtaining a BREEAM ‘Excellent’ rating. Construction is expected to commence in February 2018, with completion set for spring 2019.