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The University of Warwick and the West Midlands

The University of Warwick has a history of regional engagement, going right back to its early days in the 1960

It was central to the vision of the founding Vice-Chancellor Jack Butterworth that Warwick should be enterprising and outward looking, and the University was a pioneer in seeking links with industry and business. In the early days, both the Business Studies and Engineering departments reached out to the manufacturing heartlands of the West Midlands. The Business School and Warwick Manufacturing Group have continued to work closely with regional companies - and public sector bodies - ever since, and the Science Park has played a leading role in the development of new high technology companies.

We have also played a significant role in the social and cultural life of the West Midlands. As well as providing a never ending stream of graduates to work in local organisations, the University provides full-time employment for more than 4,000 people, and many staff and students live in local towns and cities. We provide support and activities for many local schools and colleges, and our Open Studies courses attract thousands of mature students from across Coventry and Warwickshire. Since 1974, the Arts Centre has attracted large numbers of people to its events, and many local organisations make use of the world class sports facilities on campus.

So – we have a history of real regional engagement. However, in recent years the English regions have taken on a wider remit, which has seen a large amount of political power devolved from central government to regional bodies, and more decisions about local spending being made regionally. These structural changes prompted the University to review its interaction with its own region, the West Midlands.

We concluded that we could make an even greater contribution to the West Midlands, and the quality of life of people living in the West Midlands, if we increased our corporate engagement with regional bodies and involvement in regional policy making. We are therefore actively promoting the University of Warwick as a whole to leading opinion formers in the region, and offering our support and world class academic expertise to Advantage West Midlands and other Birmingham based bodies.

We are building new and far reaching partnerships with regional and sub-regional organisations, and are actively seeking collaborations with other West Midlands’ universities. We have also opened an office in Birmingham (at Millennium Point).

We hope that this further and higher level of regional engagement will enhance the University of Warwick’s reputation as the leading university in the West Midlands, as well as contribute to the economic and social well being of the region.