24 October 2013 13:48

Lancaster University is to work closer with one of the world’s leading computing companies in an arrangement that could lead to new technology innovations.

Lancaster, which is one of the leading research universities in the UK, has signed a memorandum of understanding with IT and business services giant IBM.

The agreement outlines how the two organisations could work together in the future in areas such as collaborative research, knowledge exchange, jointly organising events, curriculum developments and staff secondments.

IBM could help with the development of courses at Lancaster University in areas such as Smarter Planet, Smarter Cities and Architecture & Enterprise Systems. There could also be opportunities for student placements within IBM, as well as coaching to prepare students for applying for jobs at companies like IBM.

Professor Mark E Smith, Vice Chancellor of Lancaster University, said: “Lancaster University’s focus on employability is a key aspect of our work together with a commitment to research at the highest level, and the creation of a stimulating and innovative learning and working environment.

“IBM shares many of our goals and both organisations are deeply focused on developing cultures of innovation. We believe that the common cultural values within our organisations give us a platform that we hope will lead to further closer working and potentially the development of exciting technology solutions.”

The agreement, which was signed on Monday, October 21 by Professor Smith and Professor Bill Payne, Vice President of IBM Global Process Services, is not a legal document but established a framework for future collaborations.

Professor Payne said: “We live in an ever more integrated world where competition for talent skills and innovation is global.

“IBM and Lancaster University already have a track record of collaboration and this agreement sets the scene for us to expand into exciting new areas. Joining the best people in IBM with those at Lancaster University is a great opportunity for us to lead the way in the cooperation between business and academia.”

The organisations have previously worked together in areas such as cyber-security, Smart Streets, and smart healthcare.

Potential areas of future collaborations include research in areas such as smart cities, big data, smarter commerce and business analytics.

Both organisations will also look to capitalise on each other’s significant international links, contacts and business networks.