£70m university project aims to create 700 new jobs and support hundreds of SMEs

SEVEN hundred jobs are set to be created and more than 1,000 businesses supported as a result of a £70m research-led collaboration in Staffordshire.
Keele University will work in partnership with Staffordshire County Council, Stoke-on-Trent City Council, Newcastle-under-Lyme Borough Council, the Stoke-on-Trent and Staffordshire Local Enterprise Partnership and University Hospitals of North Midlands NHS Trust to deliver a unique deal designed to stimulate growth of the knowledge-based economy in the Stoke-on-Trent and Staffordshire region.

The New Keele Deal will support businesses by helping them access Keele University’s research and facilities, providing training in innovation leadership and facilitating supply chain development across a range of sectors.
Collectively, the New Keele Deal is intended to help businesses become more competitive, producing better products and improving customer services.
Through a range of innovative business support programmes, the New Keele Deal will enable the university to extend its already considerable impact on the local economy by contributing an extra £210m into the local area.
In addition to enhancing local business innovation, the deal aims to improve health care in Staffordshire through the development of new health innovations and research designed to improve the diagnosis and treatment of health conditions.
The New Keele Deal will also position Staffordshire at the heart of the country’s transition towards a lower carbon economy through establishment of the Smart Energy Network Demonstrator – Europe’s only at-scale living laboratory that will be used to trial and test new energy technologies. The project is targeted to produce savings of up to 4,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide annually.
Among the priorities highlighted in the New Keele Deal are plans to build Innovation Centre 6 at Keele University Science and Innovation Park, which will be located adjacent to the new Mercia Centre for Innovation Leadership, a unique hub which will support businesses to better create a competitive advantage.
InfographicTargets over the next two decades include supporting over 600 SMEs to innovate, 250 businesses to save energy or create green energy products and 140 medical technology and healthcare businesses to collaborate with academics and the NHS.
Professor Trevor McMillan, Vice Chancellor at Keele University, said: “The New Keele Deal is a commitment from the university and its long-standing partners to invest in the growth of the local economy by supporting and helping to advance our local businesses.
“By utilising the university’s world-leading research, and drawing on the expertise offered by its skilled professionals and academics, the Deal will help create a competitive advantage for local organisations by improving their products, services and businesses processes, ultimately leading to increased prosperity for the area.”
Stoke-on-Trent and Staffordshire Local Enterprise Partnership chairman David Frost said: “Stimulating investment and innovation is crucial for the future prosperity of our economy.  Stoke-on-Trent and Staffordshire has a strong track record of excellence in innovation and the New Keele Deal will play a major role in building on our region’s recognised strengths in key areas of new technologies and advanced manufacturing.
“This emphasis on innovation 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.”