David Willetts, the U.K Minister of State for Universities and Science is planning to announce the introduction of a new privately-funded university this morning.
The minister is expected to call for the science and technology-only university today in a London conference. The planned university will be funded by business corporations and established through international partnerships.
The aim of the facility is to promote cutting-edge technology and research.
Willetts is an advocate for London cities to offer technology-based academic and research institutes. Since Britain is in danger of falling behind in scientific investment and education, the private London university could boost the economy as well as bridge a widening skills gap shortage.
The speech is expected to set out plans for an advanced scientific research centre. Due to increased globalisation and international competition among university places, a new education facility has the potential to ease postgraduate student battles over places within the science and technology fields, as well as further promote international study.
In an interview with BBC Radio 4, the university minister stated: “I want us to look up to the horizon and see this is the future - high-tech, high-quality science and research which will drive economic growth as we go into the next decade.”
The proposed site is expected to generate $15 billion (£9.6 billion) in economic activity in the next 30 years. As the U.K government will not be providing any funding for the project, advocates of the university are expected to look towards private funds and sponsorship. Invitations for institutions to assist in the build will be released today.
In order to try and push British scientific research in to the limelight, the university is expected to rival specialist establishments in New York, Boston and Silicon Valley, and become Britain’s version of these “knowledge hubs”.
This British initiative follows a similar, recent scheme in New York. In partnership with the Technion-Israel Institute of Technology, Cornell University is set to build a technology-based campus on Roosevelt Island.
Willetts is expected to announce:
“The next round of new institutions may well link existing British universities with international partners. The surge in international investment in science and technology would make this a key part of the mission of a new foundation.”
As well as promoting international partnerships, the scheme is also aimed at creating closer bonds in the local economy. If the economy is going to recover, investments need to be made in the right areas. In an increasingly digital economy, heavily reliant on technology development, if governments don’t become investment advocates then they are in danger of preventing job creation and limiting global prestige in these fields.
There are also proposed future plans for a “catapult centre”. Focusing on satellite technology, the facility will provide businesses access to in-orbit test facilities in order to extend and develop innovative advances in this kind of technology.