Vice-Chancellor appointed to taskforce to aid economic recovery

Keele University’s Vice-Chancellor, Professor Trevor McMillan, has been appointed to a leading business and universities taskforce to advise on the future of UK research and development.

The taskforce has been formed by the National Centre of Universities and Business (NCUB), at the request of UK Research and Innovation (UKRI), and will focus on how partnerships between universities and businesses can be strengthened and maximised to drive growth and prosperity.

Collaboration between universities and business is at the centre of the UKRI system and will play a fundamental part in driving economic recovery and rejuvenation. The taskforce will provide recommendations to government as it shapes its research and development plan.

Professor McMillan said: “I’m delighted to be appointed to this new taskforce joining leaders from universities and industry. Keele has always pioneered partnerships between universities and businesses to help the local and national economy. I look forward to furthering our commitment to work together to strengthen the research and development and drive innovation in the UK.”

Sam Laidlaw, Chair of the NCUB, said: “The pandemic has shone a spotlight on the importance and value of collaborative working. Against an unprecedented threat no singular organisation or institution can operate in isolation. Building partnerships not only improves resilience but is a key enabler for new ideas and innovations to be developed. We welcome this exciting opportunity to provide advice and recommendations to UKRI as the country rebuilds post-Covid. 

“The members of this taskforce will be carefully chosen as experts and leaders from UK industry and academia and are passionate that collaboration is critical to driving recovery. Their strategic insight and commitment to UK PLC will be invaluable to UKRI and the Government.”

Keele University has a long history of active and fruitful business partnerships.  These have been developed through the University’s breadth of research collaborations including with national and international companies such as Siemens, Engie and Cadent.  Business partnerships with national and local SMEs are also nurtured through tenancy at the University’s Science and Innovation Park and through delivery of a plethora of business support initiatives. 

In 2017, The New Keele Deal, led by Professor McMillan, was launched in Staffordshire.  The aim was for £70million of investment by Keele University, local councils, NHS and Local Enterprise Partnership to exploit the potential of Keele University’s world-leading research and facilities.   

Through the New Keele Deal, the investment tackles low productivity and helps to grow a positive culture of innovation and research within the region, delivering a significant number of higher value jobs for the next 20 years, improve local health and healthcare, and inject innovation into the heart of the local business community to allow them to be more globally competitive.