Arc Universities

In November, Director of Arc Universities Group (AUG), Alistair Lomax, spoke at the Westminster Higher Education forum conference.

The event examined the future for university-led regional innovation across the UK, with Alistair sharing his experiences of helping to deliver the economic vision for the Oxford Cambridge-Arc.

The theme of the day was University Enterprise Zones – geographic areas where universities and businesses are working together to increase local growth and innovation. Across the UK, there are 20 University Enterprise Zones being set up. It’s a £20 million project, designed to give businesses access to academic expertise and help them grow. With three self-organising UEZs situated in the Arc region – Cambridge, Cranfield and Oxford – the zones are encouraging universities to strengthen their roles as strategic partners in local growth, by engaging with LEPs, building on existing capabilities and forging long term partnerships. 

In this context, Alistair explained the vision of the Arc Universities Group; ten universities across the region, working together to make the most of the Arc opportunity. They are bringing together four pillars  – productivity, placemaking, connectivity and environment – and using these themes to foster a new way of working together. With guiding principles including a shared purpose, inclusivity and being mission orientated, it is an approach that is signalling new ways of collaborating, sharing intel and knowledge across the area.

As testified by Alistair,

“Stimulating the development of incubator
space for small businesses in key locations
like Cranfield – that encourage businesses to
innovate and interact with universities – means
that together we are addressing real world