Lords Committee visit the University of East London

03 February 2012

Members of the Committee visited the University of East London’s (UEL) Docklands Campus, as part of their inquiry into how the European Union can contribute to the modernisation of higher education across Europe.

Baroness Young of HornseyViscount Bridgeman and Lord Whitty were met by Professor Patrick McGhee, the Vice Chancellor, alongside other senior staff and students from the University.

The Committee heard about how the regeneration and development of the Docklands Campus was supported by both European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) revenue, alongside capital funding, and has also benefited from European Social Fund (ESF) revenue.

The University also works with small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), which has helped the university to secure accreditation as an EU Business Innovation Centre (BIC); currently the only one in London. Furthermore, the UEL has developed programmes with the support of the EU Lifelong Learning and Youth in Action programmes, including projects that support the greater inclusion of people with learning difficulties, as well as participating in the EU’s Seventh Framework Programme for Research and Technological Development (FP7).

During the visit the Committee toured the Knowledge Dock Business Centre, witnessing students working in the FabPad fabric print and design centre and how the Petchey Enterprise Centre supports student and graduate entrepreneurs and local SMEs working on new enterprises.

Committee Chair, Baroness Young of Hornsey, said:

"This visit has given the Committee a fascinating insight into the rewards and challenges that come with having a willingness to exchange students, experiences and ideas with other European institutions and I'm extremely impressed with the way that UEL has done just that.

"They are excellent at engaging with local students and businesses and have boosted the local East London economy directly, through EU funding.  In fact their Knowledge Dock, which was built in part with Structural Funds, is not just a centre for education but also a source of private sector employment which has so far supported more than 3,000 local businesses and helped approximately 2,500 students to progress towards self-employment.

"UEL also has a strong record of attracting students not only from the EU but globally, as well as offering their students reciprocal educational experiences.

"Speaking to staff, students and local businesses has shown us what tangible examples exist to illustrate just how EU funding can help boost local economies, increase participation in higher education and encourage the movement of both students and teaching professionals throughout the EU and beyond."

Image: iStockphoto

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