Last week our colleagues Margaret Mulligan and Raffaele Buompane had the pleasure to spend two days in the UK visiting long-time EBN member Coventry University network.
This visit was extremely productive for discussing potential future joint activities in the sectors of industry 4.0, social innovation, entrepreneurship education, smart cities and many others, irrespective of possible Brexit modifications in the EU ecosystem of incubation, in view of which, Coventry has also recently opened a representation office in Brussels, hosted in the EBN premises.
Founded in 1843 as the Coventry College of Design, it has been consistently classified as one of the top teaching universities in the UK (presently at 12th place in The Guardian University Guide 2018 ranking) and also present into the top 50 for research.
The University is considered as an “anchor organisation” in the West Midlands, being very well connected to the local innovation ecosystem and working closely with the City Council, local industries, schools and other universities in the region.
The University supported Coventry’s successful bid for the UK 2021 City of Culture. This nomination will focus national and international attention on the area and it will create best conditions for an even more marked improvement of its positioning in the local environment in supporting policymakers, industry, schools and the general public.
Over the two days Margaret and Raffaele visited the main teaching and research facilities of Coventry University, all of them designed so that the learning experience is an immersive one, as close to real-life as possible, involving industry and end-users in the research:
- The National Transport Design Centre , a truly interdisciplinary research & design centre with state-of-the-art facilities where designers, planners, engineers, material scientists, gamers, etc. work together to design and prototype mobility solutions (urban, rural, public, private…). This opened in May 2017, just 2 years after the deal for funding was signed and for a budget of €7 million. From January, it will be part of The Institute for Future Transport and Cities .
- The Science and Health Building, which, in line with the immersive teaching philosophy, is designed for decreasing the on real site learning and preparing students to be fully operative on the market from day one. The teaching labs, fully connected, are organised to be accessible also from students on-line.
- The School of Engineering, Environment and Computer Science hosting real industrial artefacts (like a Sea Harrier plane or a supercar model) and where students and professors work together on projecting real industrial applications. As a consequence of it, some patents and other IP rights have been registered in the course of these last years.
- The Institute for Advanced Manufacturing Engineering which represents a real “Faculty on the Factory Floor” run in partnership with and hosted by local industry partner Unipart. As a result of this partnership, Unipart has abolished its costly graduate training programme, recruiting instead industry-ready graduates from this programme. They have just received planning permission to double the space for it, one of the conditions of which is opening up the facilities to local SMEs so the next cohorts of students will have the opportunity to work with both small and medium sized enterprises.
Stay tuned for information on Coventry’s University Brussels Office.
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