Universities play a significant role in everyone’s day-to-day life. That is a fact, even if it is not immediately apparent. Have you looked at a mobile phone today or turned on the television? Universities made this possible. When was the last time you went to the doctors or even just ate a chocolate bar? These are more accessible and better protected because of our world-leading institutions.
There are countless examples of universities making breakthroughs in technology, medicine, culture, the environment and other fields and we, at Universities UK, think that is worth celebrating.
Recent research carried out for us by Britain Thinks, shows the public are overwhelmingly proud of the UK’s universities, but they tend to think that all they do is teach students. However, the same study made it clear that many people remain unaware of the work and projects that are undertaken on our shores and further afield that are improving our everyday lives and enriching our world – but they want to know more.
This week (6 December) we’ll be launching our MadeAtUni campaign by publishing the UK’s Best Breakthroughs List – including contributions from London’s diverse and vibrant university and college community.
Among the 100+ stories we’ll be highlighting, let me give you a preview of three from the capital’s universities. First is the ‘smart baby buggy’, developed by Imperial College London students which allows mums and dads with visual impairments to safely navigate our streets. Next, Middlesex University is helping develop the world’s first culturally-aware robots for use in care homes. And finally, the University of East London is making the world more environmentally friendly and is helping save millions of pounds on energy bills in London and across Europe. I could go on.
Much of this work couldn’t happen without the support and partnership of businesses and funders, large and small, many of whom are London First members. So I would ask you to stop and think about the things which are MadeAtUni which have a positive impact on individuals, communities, society – and on you and your organisation – and to join universities in London and across the whole of the UK in sharing the message.
At a time of economic and political uncertainty for us all, universities are offering solutions to global challenges and working to make life that bit better for us all. Surely that’s worth celebrating.
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Our members include over 200 of the capital’s leading employers across a wide range of sectors, with a common commitment to our capital.