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New engineering university will open in 2017

Government supports new Hereford university on mission to boost engineering graduates

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A new engineering and technology university will be built in Hereford, supported by leading universities, engineers, and government, and will open its doors to students in September 2017.

Starting with an initial intake of 300, the New Model in Technology and Engineering University (NMITE) is expected to have 5,000 students within its first decade on a sustainable city centre campus with “hubs” in several locations that have yet to be determined. More than 500 jobs will also be created, developers said.

Karen Usher, co-leader of the development team, said: “Britain will now get a new university to help address the country’s chronic shortage of suitable technology and engineering graduates.”

The New Model in Technology and Engineering University (NMITE) will specialise in advanced manufacturing, defence engineering, green and renewable technologies and agri-technology.

The university plans to “radically change the way engineering and related technologies are taught in the UK”. Courses will combine such traditional degree curriculums with a broad range of additional applied analytical thinking, innovation, interpersonal and leadership skills that ensure graduates are prerpared for the modern work environment. This teaching approach is adopted from the America's Olin College of Engineering – one of NMITE’s advisors.

The university plans to seek its own Royal Charter in the future and “is being conceived as a not-for-profit institution, with mixed funding, and operating with input from The John Lewis Partnership model”. Its website also states that former Oxford vice-chancellor Sir John Hood, is “senior advisor” and among its directors.

The project's philanthropy company is looking to raise at least £25 million identified as needed to see the university through its first years.

Last month George Osborne tweeted that the government “will support development of major new uni in Hereford”. The universities and science minister Greg Clark has since been working closely with the NMITE project team and the University of Bristol to plan what form the support would take.

Jesse Norman, MP for Hereford and South Herefordshire, said: “I first made the argument for a University of Herefordshire in 2009 – and I am thrilled that this challenge has been taken up with such enthusiasm and so well by Karen Usher and her team.

“The project has the potential to serve as a model and a testing ground for innovation in UK Higher Education, while also transforming Herefordshire's economy, and the opportunities available to our young people.

“The Chancellor of the Exchequer expressed his support for the project in his speech in the Midlands last month, and I am working closely with Treasury officials and the Universities Minister to help take the project to the next stage."

NMITE is backed by the universities of Bristol and Warwick, as well as Harvard and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, who have been advising on structure, governance and administration.

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