Keele University is delighted to announce two major new investments on its campus this year.  The University today announced plans to invest in a new multi-million pound state-of-the-art facility that houses both Keele Management School and incubated companies in a sector leading Smart Innovation Hub.  The new Management School has been funded by the University and the Denise Coates Foundation, after which the new iconic building at the entrance to the University will be named.  The Smart Innovation Hub has been funded by the University, Staffordshire County Council, UK Government Growth Deal Funding and the European Regional Development Fund, the latter two sourced via the Stoke-on-Trent & Staffordshire Local Enterprise Partnership.

University and Denise Coates Foundation funds will be used to create teaching and learning facilities for staff and students. Via co-location alongside the Smart Innovation Hub, students and staff will also have the opportunity to work collaboratively with entrepreneurs and business owners in the new Smart Innovation Hub, designed to support the creation and growth of new businesses and encourage more innovation-led business growth.  The unique environment also aims to stimulate a new more collaborative approach to business and management research which will benefit businesses locally and globally.

Keele Management School is renowned for providing an excellent student experience and is contributing to the University’s recognised position nationally and internationally for teaching quality, student satisfaction, and graduate employability.  For several years, local students studying at the University have benefitted from scholarships provided by the Denise Coates Foundation. In recognition of this support and the provision of a major gift towards the cost of new facilities for the Management School, the three-story landmark iconic development will be known as the Denise Coates Foundation Building.

This new investment in the Management School will underpin a planned substantial growth in student numbers over the next five years.  This investment will play a key role enabling the University to continue its commitment to widening participation in higher education for people locally, a key priority of the funding from the Denise Coates Foundation.

The Smart Innovation Hub alongside the Management School will provide accommodation to support the creation and growth of innovation-led businesses, alongside major new facilities to enable the University to grow its established programme of collaborative research, development and innovation support to local firms.   

By 2021 and as a result of the new Smart Innovation Hub facilities, the University will grow its established programme of business support accessed via its dedicated Business Gateway, by an additional 300 business collaborations, leading to the creation of at least 80 new high value jobs. An independent appraisal signals that investment in facilities and programme of business-collaboration will contribute an additional £50 million to the local economy by 2033.

The investment in the Smart Innovation Hub forms a cornerstone of the ‘New Keele Deal’, a partnership between Keele University, Staffordshire County Council, Stoke-on-Trent City Council, Stoke-on-Trent & Staffordshire Local Enterprise Partnership, Newcastle-under-Lyme Borough Council and University Hospitals of North Midlands NHS Trust to underpin innovation-led growth in productivity in local businesses, improve healthcare, reduce greenhouse gas emissions and provide more, higher paid jobs for local people. As part of this deal, the University has established a Business Gateway, programmes of collaborative research and innovation support to businesses and made major investment in capital infrastructure and a novel collaborative programme with the NHS, to underpin the growth and productivity of the medical healthcare and smart energy sectors across and beyond Stoke-on-Trent and Staffordshire. 

Speaking about the new investment, Professor Trevor McMillan, Keele University Vice-Chancellor, said: “This new investment will ensure that we continue to provide a sector-leading student experience, via the provision of state-of-the-art facilities for learning and teaching, made possible by our own investment in the new building and that which we are delighted to have received from the Denise Coates Foundation.

“We have also been working hard over the last three years to realise this collaborative opportunity with our local civic partners, including Staffordshire County Council and the Local Enterprise Partnership and I’m delighted we are now in a position to begin construction.

“The University was founded nearly 70 years ago and this latest announcement highlights the continuing role the University has and must play in strengthening the social, civic, cultural and economic renaissance of the area.”

Denise Coates CBE, Denise Coates Foundation Trustee, commented: “The Foundation’s Trustees are excited by the prospect of the University having a state-of-the-art Management School and are delighted that the Foundation could be a part of this prestigious project that will ultimately deliver a world-class learning environment.

“For several years the Denise Coates Foundation has funded a bursary scheme at the University. Targeting disadvantaged undergraduates from the Stoke-on-Trent area the programme has so far provided funding to support hundreds of the University’s students.  This commitment to the Management School will take the existing relationship between the Foundation, the University and the students to a new level.”

Stoke-on-Trent and Staffordshire Local Enterprise Partnership chairman, David Frost CBE, said: “Supporting business growth and stimulating investment and innovation are crucial for the future prosperity of our economy, and we are delighted to back this new initiative. Stoke-on-Trent and Staffordshire has a strong track record of excellence in innovation and Keele University’s Smart Innovation Hub will play a major role in building on our region’s recognised strengths in key areas such as new technologies and advanced manufacturing. This emphasis on innovation, business growth and competitiveness will help us build our reputation around the globe, bringing more highly skilled and better paid jobs to our area and ensuring a thriving future.”

Staffordshire County Council leader, Philip Atkins, said: “Keele University Science and Innovation Park is Staffordshire’s leading site for research and enterprise in the medical, technology and engineering sectors. It is a county council priority to increase the number of skilled, higher paid jobs available for local residents and vitally important to improve learning and training programmes open to people to meet the needs of business both here and elsewhere. We have established a strong and effective partnership with Keele University through the New Keele Deal which will bring long-term benefits to people and businesses locally. Together we have overseen the delivery of the now fully-occupied Innovation Centre 5 following our £7million investment and now look forward to work on the Smart Innovation Hub beginning. This will complement the new management school in further boosting prosperity, productivity and economic growth in Staffordshire.”  

The new building has been designed by RIBA award-winning and Sterling Prize-nominated architects BDP. In keeping with Keele University’s green ethos, the facility has been planned with a focus on sustainability, resulting in a BREEAM ‘Excellent’ rating.  Construction is expected to commence in February 2018, with completion set for Spring 2019.

Submitted on 22/02/2018