The role universities play in the social, cultural and economic well-being of the UK is celebrated this week in “What’s the Big Idea?”, a national campaign to highlight the contributions and activities of universities in a number of different fields, from business and the economy, to work in the community.
Imperial College London and Warwick University, among others, are contributing to the event, which comes at a time when universities are facing huge cuts in government funding. Universities Week is the first time that the achievements and contributions of all the country’s higher education institutions have been brought together under a single banner, to show what they offer on a local and national level.
“Coming up with big ideas is the basis of what Imperial does,” said the Rector Keith O’Nions. “This is a lively community of people who want to break records, discover new things and think the thoughts that no one has had before.”
“One of the things that make this place so dynamic, though, is that people are not content just to sit and think; they have an enormous appetite to send their ideas and discoveries out into the world to make a difference. A cornerstone of Imperial’s success is the assumption that big ideas aren’t enough: we need real actions as well.”
As well as highlighting so of the big ideas coming out of universities, the event provides the public with the chance to take part in debates and blogs.
Richard Lambert, Chancellor of Warwick and Director-General of the business lobby group the CBI, also supported the initiative. “Our universities are a valuable asset, for the economy and for society as a whole. They generate and distribute knowledge of all kinds, and they nurture talent for the workforce of tomorrow.”
“They drive innovation and new ways of working to create future progress and prosperity. What’s clear in the current economic climate is that businesses and universities will be stronger by working together,” Lambert added.