With the annual Academic Venue Show just around the corner, now is
a good time to reflect on the role of universities in the broader
As work gets underway on the Witty Report, a follow-up to 2012’s Wilson Review
exploring how universities and local businesses can work more closely, I
can’t help but think that academic venues are in a prime position to
facilitate this working relationship.
Sir Andrew Witty, who is
authoring the report, has stated that it is ‘vitally important’ for our
universities to be at the ‘heart of local growth strategies’. Surely
this is the exact arena that academic venues are operating in already? A
middle-ground where ideas can be nurtured and thrive.
forget that we are one of the first points of contact for external
businesses coming in to the university, while at the same time operating
as a supplier for academics and staff within our institution.
a growing number of our university colleagues – who are forging
relationships with local businesses through internship schemes and
programmes such as Knowledge Transfer Partnerships, academic venues have
always been a linchpin between universities and businesses.
are in a unique position where we can add value by encouraging
collaborative innovation and business growth. Spotting opportunities for
our clients, we can encourage companies to tap into academic knowledge
and expertise, as well as identifying commercial opportunities for our
This is why at Keele University we’ve
recently rebranded, to align our conference and events facilities more
clearly with the university. The University connection is a huge
resource and attraction for our clients and we see it as our
responsibility to maximise these opportunities through our conferencing
and events programme.
As the Witty Report examines the
diverse contribution that universities bring to the local economy and
directly addresses how universities are helping to enable innovative
working with businesses, I hope that academic venues will not be
overlooked and that our role as facilitator will be recognised more
Keele University Conferences and Events will be at
the Academic Venue Show on 22 May at London’s ILEC Conference Centre.
Any comments? Email firstname.lastname@example.org