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Warwick and King's in £544,000 Teaching Research Partnership

The University of Warwick and King’s College London  have together secured funding of £544,000 from HEFCE (Higher Education Funding Council for England) to create a blueprint for curriculum development in research-led universities.

The two institutions have impressive track records of concern for student learning and employer engagement and will, by sharing and developing their expertise further in the King’s-Warwick Project, provide solutions to some of the dilemmas in the strategic development of teaching in research-led institutions. 

The King’s College London-University of Warwick partnership aims to nurture a passion for learning and research amongst students, through a more active and outward-looking curriculum that will ensure that all students are able to:

•    experience the thrill of working in a research culture
•    engage in academic discourse at a high level
•    experience interdisciplinarity
•    gain a global perspective on study and research
•    engage with communities beyond the university

The King’s-Warwick Project will undertake a fundamental review of undergraduate provision in partnership with employers, community representatives and students that will emphasise the research mission of HE institutions to develop capabilities that are essential for students in employment and as members of society.

A review of strategic teaching initiatives in research-led institutions across the world will ensure that the project is right at the forefront of curriculum renewal. An internal review of the institutions’ already excellent teaching will identify their greatest existing strengths and seek to share them more widely. The initiative will be enhanced by a panel of community representatives and employers who will advise on aspects of the project.

King’s and Warwick aim to help the UK to weather the vagaries of future economic cycles by providing capable and productive graduates for the future. The project’s outcomes and outputs will be of major benefit to other higher education institutions, particularly those with similar or related missions. 

Complementary strengths

King’s College London will work closely with the University of Warwick on the project, to which the two institutions will bring complementary strengths. Warwick will provide expertise in the provision of flexible learning spaces and in linking research and teaching, exemplified by its Reinvention Centre for Undergraduate Research; Warwick’s Undergraduate Research Scholarship Scheme and its initiatives in promoting student research through community engagement are also relevant successes. King’s College London’s strengths include pioneering e-learning initiatives in War Studies and in Dentistry, a highly successful Access to Medicine programme, and a well-established centre for higher education research, the King’s Learning Institute, which will be strongly involved in facilitating development and in evaluation. 

Professor Paul Blackmore, Deputy Vice-Principal for Students at King’s, is leading the project.  He commented: ‘Over the next four years we aim to offer a pledge that graduates will experience a truly distinctive education. We will be looking internationally – particularly to the US and Australia – to gather the best ideas from around the globe.’

Professor Michael Whitby, Pro-Vice Chancellor for learning and teaching at Warwick, said: ‘This exciting initiative will build on Warwick’s existing strengths. We will offer a service to colleagues in other institutions by sharing the outcomes of the project.’

Professor Rick Trainor, Principal of King’s College London, said: ‘We must offer our students a truly distinctive experience that draws on the major research strengths of our  institutions, their outward-looking approach and international status and their role in preparing learners for advanced professional as well as personal lives. We need more than ever before to harness the imagination and creativity of our academic communities to meet these challenges and this project will go a long way to achieving this.’

The University of Warwick’s Vice-chancellor Professor Nigel Thrift said: ‘One of the reasons many of our students choose to study at a Russell Group such as Warwick or King’s is our international reputation built on excellence in scholarship and research. We must ensure that in their time with us they have every opportunity to share in excitement of that research and to be able to access the academic and professional skill building possibilities that can come from being  part of a research led community.’

For further information please contact: 

Peter Dunn, Press and Media Relations Manager
University of Warwick 02476 523708  or  mobile 07767 655860
twitter @peterjdunn

May 2009