Hartpury has been named as the no.1 specialist STEM university for local growth and regeneration, in the second publication of Knowledge Exchange Framework (KEF) results released by Research England. The KEF has placed Hartpury in the highest possible band for ‘Local Growth and Regeneration’.
The institution has also improved on its 2021 performance in the ‘Working with Business’ and ‘Working with the Public and Third Sector’. The KEF celebrates the breadth of how English universities serve the economy and society, for the benefit of the public, business and communities.
Hartpury’s strong performance underlines the university’s far-reaching, real-world impact that transforms lives and impacts the local and national economy through knowledge exchange activities. The institution was also recognised for ‘world leading’ and ‘internationally excellent’ research in the latest round of Research Excellence Framework results (REF 2021).
The results follow a busy twelve-month period in which Hartpury has helped to secure £20 million from the Government’s Levelling Up Fund, having worked alongside the Forest of Dean District Council, Cinderford Town Council, Mark Harper MP, and the GFirst LEP.
The Fund is being used to introduce new health, enterprise and aspiration opportunities as well as repurposing vacant buildings, developing leisure facilities and targeting pockets of deprivation to encourage a pathway to higher education. A new University Learning Hub and the regeneration of Cinderford Town Centre are part of the package.
As the largest employer in the Forest of Dean, Hartpury is a key stakeholder in the Forest Economic Partnership. Hartpury also works closely with the Gloucestershire Federation of Small Businesses, the Cheltenham Chamber of Commerce and networking organisation Circle2Success.
Improvements in the ‘Working with Business’ category have been bolstered by the launch of the £2million Tech Box Park at Hartpury, part of a ten-year strategic vision to provide a world-class hub for agricultural facilities, education and research. The Tech Box Park is home to the Agri-Tech Centre, a hub for agri-technologies that encourages innovative tech companies to collaborate and grow through shared knowledge. A new business membership was announced in March to facilitate a growing network of agriculturalists.
Hartpury’s Sports Business Hub has also opened up placement and research project opportunities with students on the MSc Sports Management programme. Recently, an MSc Sports Management student assisted with the EDI review for Hockey Wales and another carried out an evaluation review for Active Gloucestershire. Bream RFC also welcomed a student consultant to oversee the delivery of their ‘low energy’ clubhouse.
Professor Andy Collop, Vice-Chancellor, Principal and CEO of Hartpury, said: “We’re proud to have been rated number one specialist STEM university by Research England in the Local Growth and Regeneration category of the new Knowledge Exchange Framework.
“We take our commitment to the local economy, community and environment very seriously, and realise the role we can play through our extensive research and specialist knowledge exchange across the industries we serve.
“Through partnering with businesses and other organisations, Hartpury staff and students can use their expertise within our modern and commercially relevant facilities, to solve complex challenges and deliver economic and social benefits. We look forward to working with our partners and making sure our region is a great place to live, study, work and play.”