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Aston University in Birmingham joining forces with Queen's University Belfast

Aston University has signed a 'strategic partnership' with Queen’s University Belfast.

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Left to right, Deborah L. Wince-Smith President, Global Federation of Competitiveness Councils; Professor Aleks Subic, Vice-Chancellor and Chief Executive of Aston University; Professor Sir Ian Greer Vice-Chancellor and Chief Executive, Queen’s University Belfast; Charles O. Holliday, Jr. Chairman Global Federation of Competitiveness Councils

The two universities collaborate intend to work together "on ideas, projects, funding and investment propositions, fostering cross-regional collaboration based on their complementary strengths".

A memorandum of understanding was signed by Aston University vice chancellor Professor Aleks Subic and Professor Ian Greer of Queen's University at a Global Innovation Summit.

Aston University, which is based in Birmingham city centre, says it already generates more than £1.4 billion to the national economy and this partnership will support its 2030 strategic aim to increase this contribution to over £2 billion annually, particularly in relation to the ongoing development of the Birmingham Innovation Quarter.

The universities will develop joint work that will support their roles in improving their cities and communities.

Professor Subic said “Aston University is establishing, with partners, a world-class innovation district – the new Birmingham Innovation Quarter (B-IQ), to evolve as an innovation ecosystem focused on science, technology and enterprise.

“I am delighted to be partnering with an exceptional university, Queen’s University Belfast, to multiply the impact of our excellent work in both cities and innovation districts and drive socio-economic transformation and inclusive growth.”

The fields of interest for the partnership include net zero and clean forms of energy such as biofuels, as well as life and health sciences in terms of disease prevention, early diagnosis and impact mitigation - including through the use of AI and digital tech which will drive the future of many industries such as advanced manufacturing and professional services.

Queen's vice-chancellor Professor Greer, said: “This partnership brings together two universities central to innovation in the cities of Belfast and Birmingham and their surrounding regions, that share a strong sense of civic duty and both work to maximise the positive socioeconomic impact that they can contribute by fostering inclusive innovation.

“At Queen’s, we are clear that collective ambition and deep collaboration are vital if we are to fully harvest the economic potential of the Good Friday Agreement after 25 years of relative peace, while recognising collaboration needs to extend to partners outside of Northern Ireland.

“Our partnership with Aston University not only will contribute to building the investment brand and value proposition of Northern Ireland but will help both university’s innovation partners collaborate with one another to solve complex problems in society while generating economic value in both cities.”

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