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The Innovating University

23 February 2016

Geoff Mulgan2

An age of experiment in higher education

Experts from across the world are gathering in Cardiff to look at the future shape and scope of universities and how they work with students and society.

An international one-day symposium - ‘The Innovating University: a new age of experiment in higher education’ - will bring together leading thinkers to thrash out ways in which universities might meet 21st Century challenges.

The event, to be held at Cardiff University on Thursday (3 March 2016), has attracted an array of high-profile international delegates and features a keynote address by Geoff Mulgan, Chief Executive of innovation charity Nesta.

The event will also hear about future plans for Cardiff University’s Social Science Research Park. SPARK, to be located on the University’s £300m Innovation Campus, will turn outstanding social science research into ‘real world’ solutions.

Professor Rick Delbridge, Dean of Research, Innovation & Enterprise at Cardiff University, said: “These are challenging times for universities but there are also opportunities for us to consider how we do things. How can universities themselves become more innovative?  What might be the form and practices of an innovating university in the future?

“This international symposium is designed to highlight some leading examples of innovation within higher education institutions ranging geographically from the UK, the USA, to the Basque Country and in scope, from teaching through research and wider impact on the economy and society, to help us imagine the university of tomorrow.”

Speaking ahead of the event, Professor Mulgan said: “Universities are often full of creative and innovative people, and they are often very good at applying research to other fields.   But universities oddly lack the systematic R&D and innovation that happens in other sectors - trials, experiments, adapting ideas from other fields, and then discovering what works.  That's one explanation for the relative conservatism of fixed formats for courses, research and roles and for why universities have been relatively slow to make the most of digital tools for sharing knowledge.  I'll be talking about what more radical innovation could mean for universities - and in particular how they could become better at answering the questions and solving the problems that matter most.'

Cardiff University is currently planning a ‘Summer of Innovation,’ featuring a range of lectures, seminars, and events for the public, students and the University’s partners between June and September 2016.