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£1.3m funding for on-campus digital innovation centre

University Campus Aylesbury Vale has been awarded the funding by Buckinghamshire Thames Valley Local Enterprise Partnership

Posted by Hannah Vickers | April 07, 2017 | Higher education

Buckinghamshire Thames Valley Local Enterprise Partnership (BTVLEP) has awarded £1.3m in capital funds to University Campus Aylesbury Vale to create a Digital Innovation Hub to support business innovation and growth. 

The Digital Innovation Hub is aimed at making University Campus Aylesbury Vale, in Walton Street, Aylesbury, a centre for start-up businesses in the digital sector, with facilities including a cyber-security suite and virtual reality engineering design studio.

The Campus, a partnership between Buckinghamshire New University and Aylesbury College, will enable small and early-stage high-growth businesses to access advice, support and incubation spaces and enjoy use of the wider facilities and opportunities offered at both institutions’ sites.

University Campus Aylesbury Vale is a purpose-built campus for the delivery of degree and professional development courses in Aylesbury, providing degree level courses and professional development programmes through Bucks New University and Aylesbury College. It has more than 300 students studying courses including foundation degrees in Computing and Business Management. 

Andrew M. Smith, Chairman of Buckinghamshire Thames Valley Local Enterprise Partnership, said: “We are delighted to be funding this key project to create an exciting hub where business and education can interact and which meet BTVLEP and regional skills priorities in design and technology. 

The new facility will be a hub for business-to-business interaction and access to apprenticeship and higher skills development, all of which will help to retain expertise in Bucks and attract talent from other areas - Andrew M. Smith, Chairman of Buckinghamshire Thames Valley Local Enterprise Partnership

Andrew added: “University Campus Aylesbury Vale’s Digital Innovation Hub will be the area’s leading destination and ideal environment for businesses and entrepreneurs in design and digital technology sectors seeking support for start-up, innovation and growth. The new facility will be a hub for business-to-business interaction and access to apprenticeship and higher skills development, all of which will help to retain expertise in Bucks and attract talent from other areas.” 

Ian Harper, Chief Executive of University Campus Aylesbury Vale, said: “We are grateful to the LEP for their support of the project and delighted that they are excited by our plans to support new businesses, apprentices and undergraduates in our Aylesbury campus. We look forward to working with the LEP to address the current and future skills needs of the region.”

The development will incorporate a business service to meet graduate level skills gaps and a technical design facility to support the development of technical businesses and inspire the region’s young people to consider careers in STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) subjects.

Professor Tim Middleton, Pro-Vice Chancellor Research, Enterprise & International, said: “Bucks New University is excited to be working with the support of the LEP to build on its work with business in further developing our University Campus Aylesbury Vale site as a place to work with start-up businesses and provide enhanced support for continuing professional development in cyber security and digital design.” 

A mobile facility will use simulation to showcase work and courses offered at University Campus Aylesbury Vale, particularly where the College and University seek to widen participation in further and higher education among traditionally under-represented groups.

Buckinghamshire is the Entrepreneurial Heart of Britain where, for well over a decade, more businesses have started here than anywhere else in the UK. This is borne of the heartbeat of enterprise, which is manifest in a propensity to act; and a propensity to successfully exploit new ideas. It is no accident that we are the birthplace of the Paralympics at Stoke Mandeville, the creative film engine for James Bond and Star Wars at Pinewood Studios, and the joint home of the Silverstone Grand Prix Circuit.  

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