Universities and businesses agree further collaboration

Wed 15 June, 2016
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Cybercrime, Smart Cities, driverless vehicles and lean management – all were topics of hot discussion at an exclusive event for local universities and businesses (1 June).

Over 200 businesses from across the South East Midlands attended the Universities Mean Business event organised by the South East Midlands Local Enterprise Partnership (SEMLEP) to bring the region’s six universities, including the University of Bedfordshire, together with local business owners and managers.

The event, held at Cranfield University included a peek inside the driverless LUTZ Pathfinder pod, transported to the event by Milton Keynes-based Transport Catapult Centre, and a joint talk on Smart Cites by the University of Bedfordshire and The Open University.

The two universities also joined forces to deliver a keynote on cybersecurity, with Dr Gregory Epiphaniou from Bedfordshire telling guests: “There are 150,000 new visitors to the Net each day and technology has failed to keep up with the threats to cyber security.” Cyber criminals, guests were told, are highly organised.

Dr Yijun Yu, from The Open University, advised delegates: “Think like a hacker, think systematically, identify any possible vulnerabilities to your software and rank your data by importance. This will ensure you can see which risk is most important to mitigate.”

Other topics under discussion during the day included lean management from the University of Buckingham and business growth from The University of Northampton.

Dr Nicholas Lancaster, Director of Innovation and Enterprise Service, University of Bedfordshire, said: “This Universities Mean Business event is a great opportunity for us to showcase our capabilities in working with business to support innovation, jobs and growth. Today we have had academics from the University speaking on a range of topics showcasing how research at the University can have real world application for businesses.”

SEMLEP Chief Executive, Stephen Catchpole, said: “We are delighted to have hosted Universities Mean Business, the UK’s first big event since Lord Adonis launched his review of the Oxford-Cambridge corridor in the March spending review. The review has the potential to unlock significant growth, jobs and housing across the whole area and enhance our position globally. Our event has enabled us to listen to views, share ideas and build upon the already excellent collaboration that exists between our world class universities and businesses. We are now primed to feed this back to National Infrastructure Commission chair Lord Adonis.”

Sir Peter Gregson, Vice Chancellor, Cranfield University: “We are attracting investment and employment to the region through our world-class education and research and welcome the opportunity to work closely with businesses to support further growth in this area. For example, our new Aerospace Integration Research Centre, in partnership with Airbus and Rolls Royce, will benefit the region and support local economic growth.”

  • Many of the presentations from Universities Mean Business are now online to view: www.semlep.com


Picture caption:

Speakers at front of auditorium: Dr Paul Sant, University of Bedfordshire, Sir Peter Gregson, VC of Cranfield University, Stephen Catchpole, SEMLEP CEO and Neil Fulton from Transport Catapult (L-R)


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