22 June 2017 12:27

A new ‘Strategic Alliance’ will tackle long-standing economic, education, health, environmental and social challenges.

A special agreement between Lancaster University, Blackburn with Darwen Council and Blackburn College will see the university’s research, expertise, facilities and networks applied to improve local employment and skills needs, promote economic growth, accelerate the innovation and reform of public services and promote improved public health.

Professor Andrew Atherton, Deputy Vice Chancellor at Lancaster University, said: “Lancaster University is proud to be based in the North West of England, and we work hard to contribute to improving our local communities. Through this partnership, we are looking to apply leading edge research and insight to build a healthier and stronger Blackburn with Darwen.”

The alliance, which aims to set a national standard for joint working to drive economic growth and promote opportunities for residents and businesses, addresses a key element of the Government’s Industrial Strategy – ‘Creating the right institutions to bring together sectors and places’.

Harry Catherall, Chief Executive of Blackburn with Darwen Council, said: “This alliance will mean we can enhance our ongoing and future project work. It’s about working even closer together to deliver innovative ways of making a real difference to people in Blackburn and Darwen.

“In Blackburn and Darwen we know one of the main strengths we have is strong partnership working and this is another positive step forward to make sure people get the prosperity they deserve.”

Dr Thomas Moore, Principal and Chief Executive of Blackburn College, said: “This unrivalled and sector leading partnership goes to the heart of what Blackburn College seeks to achieve: Meeting the needs of employers; driving social improvement and providing world-class inclusive education and training for our community, equipping them with those skills and attributes so valued by employers in a very competitive global market place.

“This is about creating an Agenda for Change and transforming Blackburn’s place in the UK and the world.”

Lancaster’s Health Innovation Campus will bring together leading experts in health, computing and communications and design who are committed to the development of discoveries, products, practices and new technologies to transform health and help people to live longer, healthier lives. For the new Alliance, a particular focus will be on issues around health and social care, work to further strengthen community and social activities and the opportunities provided by digital care solutions.

Experts from the university’s Lancaster Environment Centre will look at issues around climate change, flood defence and air quality. And Lancaster University Management School, as well as Lancaster’s Research and Enterprise Services, will support the business community and new start-ups.