Businesses have been talked through expansion plans at the University of Warwick – in a building named after one of its pioneers for growth.
The Coventry and Warwickshire Chamber of Commerce held a breakfast meeting for its corporate members and strategic partners in the Prof. Lord Bhattacharrya Building on the University’s campus.
Lord Bhattacharrya, who passed away earlier this year, was the driving force, founder and Chairman of WMG and created close ties between academia and industry.
The new building – and its state-of-the-art facilities – are just part of the University of Warwick’s ambitious growth plans which could see it grow student numbers by more than 40 per cent by 2030 and add a further 2,000 staff to the 7,000 it currently employs.
Vice Chancellor Stuart Croft told the business audience that the University had a strategy for growth after being largely led by the market over the past decade.
He said: “Universities had previously been under obligation to meet a certain number of students – no more, no less. If you took in more, you were fined. If you took in less, you were fined for that too.
“Then deregulation came along and suddenly we were in a marketplace and that has driven substantial growth here at Warwick.”
In the past decade, not only have student numbers risen, capital spend has more than tripled from £46.6m to £142.8m. Research income has almost doubled in that time from £92.3m to £162.8m.
Stuart said that the outcome of Brexit would have an impact on the sector but that the University of Warwick was still planning for growth and was looking at how it could increase the number of students who stay in the region after they graduate.
He also revealed how it was planning to develop its site at Wellesbourne and that it wouldn’t be sold off for housing.
Stuart was followed by Dr Mark Swift, the head of the SME programme at WMG, who gave an insight into how it supported businesses and how bringing companies together in collaboration was a way of winning new business and growing the economy.
Louise Wall, commercial director at the Coventry and Warwickshire Chamber of Commerce, said: “We are grateful to Stuart Croft and to Dr Mark Swift for keeping us up-to-date on developments at the University of Warwick and WMG.
“The University is a key partner to the Chamber and is a massive force for good both socially and economically in our region.
“The feedback we had from those who attended was that it was a very interesting and informative event.”