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 sourced via the Stoke-on-Trent & Staffordshire Local Enterprise Partnership.
University and Denise Coates Foundation funds will be used to 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. The unique environment also aims to stimulate a new more collaborative approach to business and management research which will benefit businesses locally and globally.
“This new investment will ensure that we continue to provide a sector-leading student experience.’
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 iconic 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.
‘Students and staff will have the opportunity to work collaboratively with entrepreneurs and business owners in the new Smart Innovation Hub.’
Speaking about the new investment, Professor Trevor McMillan, Keele University Vice-Chancellor, said: “This new investment will ensure that we 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.
“The University was founded nearly 70 years ago and this latest announcement highlights the continuing role the University has and must play in strengthening the social, civic, cultural and economic renaissance of the area.”
The facility has been planned with a focus on sustainability, resulting in a BREEAM ‘Excellent’ rating. Construction is expected to commence in February 2018, with completion set for Spring 2019.