A leading university in the Kent and Medway region and the county’s largest science and innovation park have announced they are taking their collaboration to a whole new level. 

Canterbury Christ Church University and Discovery Park in Sandwich have signed a ‘partnership agreement’ to help attract and retain much-needed regional talent and develop student enterprise and commercial services for tenants. It will also help create innovation zones and attract companies and jobs to Kent and Medway.

Discovery Park and Canterbury Christ Church already enjoy a successful partnership through the University’s Life Sciences Industry Liaison Lab, where students and staff link up with companies working at the cutting edge of research, helping them to find solutions that lead to new treatments and ground-breaking discoveries. The partnership also provides outreach activities through Community Lab, an initiative with Pfizer and the charity STEM Learning where access to educational opportunities for local schoolchildren are supported with the labs giving them the chance to discover and develop an interest in the important STEM subjects and encourage them to pursue STEM careers.

The move follows the recent opening of the University’s £65m Verena Holmes Building, the state-of-the-art facility to support Science, Technology, Health, Engineering and Medicine, and a key part of its £150m campus investment.

Discovery Park will provide specialist facilities and business support for new ideas and opportunities coming out of the knowledge exchange partnership thanks to the new wet lab incubator facility and the upcoming Barclays Eagle Lab, which will both open later this year, 

The new alliance will further accelerate student enterprise and commercialisation activities for Discovery Park-based companies by:

  • Providing a Business School in residence at Discovery Park
  • Setting up a business clinic to provide a wide range of commercial support
  • Setting up a law mediation clinic to provide mediation support to the park’s business community 
  • Tapping into International and UK academic partnership expertise
  • Creating innovation zones and clusters
  • Establishing a Data Lab to support the park’s business community adopt a Data-Led decision-making approach

Mayer Schreiber, Chief Executive Officer at Discovery Park said: “This new face of business and university collaboration will drive far bigger benefits and support not only Canterbury Christ Church students and our tenant companies, but also the region’s business communities. We are investing in the future by sharing resources and knowledge to stimulate new skills, foster talent and attract inward. 

“This will supercharge STEM talent and enterprise of tomorrow which will significantly boost the region’s economy and improve people’s lives.”

Professor Mohamed Abdel-Maguid, Pro Vice-Chancellor (STEM) for Canterbury Christ Church University added: We are delighted to continue and expand our partnership with Discovery Park. This collaboration aims to enrich the regional knowledge exchange landscape bringing together educational and industry partners to address the STEM and Digital skills gap by upskilling the existing workforce and inspiring future generations. It will foster the creation of an environment where undergraduate and postgraduate students work collaboratively with businesses to solve pressing industry challenges as an integral part of their education.

“This will support the delivery of our shared vision to position Kent and Medway as a globally recognised hub for STEM and knowledge-based economy.”

Discovery Park is one of Europe’s largest centres for life sciences and one of just seven Life Science Opportunity Zones established across the UK. The new partnership will also see the delivery of training programmes, including the development of a co-branded PhD or MSc qualification.   A full programme of joint events, conferences and roundtable forums will be hosted at Discovery Park and Canterbury Christ Church University to stimulate cross industry/academic partnerships, bringing together different skill sets to foster opportunities for convergence