Keele University's new Business School and facilities for university-business collaboration

Smart Innovation Hub

Value: £17.8 million (gross) | Project completion: end of July 2019 ready for 2019/2020 term

We are delighted to announce the completion of two major investments on our campus. The University invested in a new multi-million pound state-of-the-art facility that houses both Keele Business School and incubated companies in a sector leading Smart Innovation Hub. The new Business School has been funded by the University and the Denise Coates Foundation, after which the iconic building at the entrance to the University has been named. The Smart Innovation Hub was 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 have been used to create teaching and learning facilities for staff and students. Via co-location alongside the Smart Innovation Hub, students and staff 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 stimulates a new more collaborative approach to business and management research which benefits businesses locally and globally.

Keele Business 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 Business School, the three-story landmark iconic development is known as the Denise Coates Foundation Building.

This new investment in the Business School underpins a planned substantial growth in student numbers over the next five years. This investment plays 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 Business School provides accommodation to support the creation and growth of innovation-led businesses, alongside major new facilities enabling 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.

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, resulting in a BREEAM ‘Excellent’ rating. Construction was commenced February 2018, with completion in Summer 2019.