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CENTRE FOR RURAL INNOVATION LAUNCH: SEPTEMBER DATE SET

Posted 1 August 2003

THE CENTRE FOR RURAL INNOVATION, a flagship project designed to bring together several different areas of knowledge and expertise at Harper Adams University College, Shropshire, is to be launched this September.

The launch event will take place during the morning of Friday, September 19, 2003 prior to the University College’s Graduation Day ceremony, which will take place later that afternoon.

Harper Adams is to set up the Centre for Rural Innovation in a bid to address some of the emerging issues identified by the Lambert Review of Business – University Collaboration.

Richard Lambert has been asked by the UK Government to examine how long-term links between British business and universities could be strengthened to the benefit of the economy. Evidence from the United States indicates that universities have a vital role to play in driving growth in a modern economy.

Amongst his preliminary findings, Mr Lambert notes that: ”Some businesses highlighted the difficulties that they face in trying to access the right people within an institution or to find out what research, consultancy or other business support work was available to them.”

The Centre for Rural Innovation will address these difficulties, in effect, providing a one-stop shop allowing access to, and providing an obvious initial contact point for, Harper Adams entire range of knowledge and expertise.

Initially, the Centre for Rural Innovation will encompass as many as 50 current and forthcoming projects for rural business, sustainable farming and food. A Project Manager will be appointed and announced shortly with a dedicated web site to follow prior to the launch.

A spokesman for Harper Adams said the Centre for Rural Innovation was a way of bringing together the many aspects of its reach-out work with rural businesses and communities to better focus those activities towards supporting rural economic development.

“The College has a considerable amount of expertise and proven capability in addressing the post-Curry agenda for sustainable development in farming, food and the support of other rural businesses.

“The College is an acknowledged national specialist centre for Higher Education and a number of its flagship reach-out projects operate on a national scale as well as having a regional component.

“The Centre for Rural Innovation will provide a critical boost to the development of the role of Higher Education in supporting the rural economy at an important time.”

(Ends)

Notes to Editors: Further developments in the establishment of the Centre for Rural innovation will be communicated in subsequent press releases. In the interim, information on the Centre for Rural Innovation, or on any of the projects it will encompass, is available from Harper Adams’ Press & Publications Officer Nick Barnes on +44 (0) 1952 815 371 or E-mail: nbarnes@harper-adams.ac.uk

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