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Brunel inspires industry to spread its wings


Industry chiefs will have a window on expansion opportunities through a Brunel-driven study to map business potential fuelled by nearby Heathrow airport.

Brunel University London's Sustainable Airports study is among a fresh wave of Science and Innovation Audits announced yesterday by Universities and Science Minister Jo Johnson.

It will scope out West London’s strengths in research, innovation and transport and infrastructure and how to use them to propel economic growth.

Urging universities to widen ties with local business and economy, Johnson named Sustainable Airports among 12 new Science and Innovation Audits. Precision medicine, nuclear power and the northern powerhouse are among the others audits and are part of the Government’s industrial strategy.

“Universities have a vital role to play in their local communities and in the national economy,” he told university leaders at the Higher Education Funding Council for England’s annual conference.

“Given record levels of public investment in R&D, it is essential universities engage with businesses and communities to make the most of their knowledge and research.”

Sustainable Airports comes after the government last winter cleared Heathrow to build a third runway. The work to expand the world’s second busiest international airport behind Dubai is set to start next summer.

“It is great opportunity for us at Brunel to contribute to making the West London economy and also the UK’s economy more successful,” said Professor Geoff Rodgers who will lead the study.

West London is home to more than 200 of the UK’s 300 business HQs, all in a 12 mile radius of Heathrow. And by 2050, the airport’s expansion will have sparked some 179,800 jobs and bring £211bn to the region, The Airports Commission forecasts.

Helping put together the study are Royal Holloway University of London; Heathrow Airport Holdings Ltd; Morgan Sindall Construction & Infrastructure Ltd; TRL; the Heathrow Strategic Planning Group;  Thames Valley Berkshire,  Enterprise M3 and Buckinghamshire Thames Valley Local Enterprise Partnerships; The Smart Specialisation Hub, West London Business and BRE (Building Research Establishment Ltd). There will also be links with Manchester Airport.

“We will help signpost industry and manufacturers to the vast potential stemming from air transport in the UK,” said Professor Geoff Rodgers. “This will be in areas such as big data, cybersecurity, renewable energy generation, waste-water treatment and food distribution. ”

Reported by:

Hayley Jarvis, Media Relations
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