Liberal Democrat candidate for Mayor of Liverpool, Cllr Richard Kemp, has today written to the Vice Chancellors of Liverpool’s 3 Universities asking them to establish a ‘Think and Do’ tank in Liverpool.
Cllr Kemp says, “Liverpool benefits greatly from having three high quality universities in our city but together with the universities we could be doing much more to exploit their intellectual fighting power. I am suggesting three areas in which we could work together:
1. Future-proofing our City to gain the maximum benefit and minimum disbenefits from technological, communications and other changes which will happen in the next 20 years.
2. To work with the city and private sector to develop spin off industries with high paying jobs from the research of the Universities’ academics.
3. To look at developing a long-term relationship with the students from abroad who come here to study and then return home to their own countries.
I believe that working with the universities in these ways can create a lot of jobs, improve our reputation and make our City understand and prepare for changes that are happening.”
The full text of Cllr Kemp’s letter to the 3 Vice-Chancellors is below.
To the Vice Chancellor,
Liverpool John Moores University
Liverpool Hope University
19th January 2016
Dear Vice Chancellor,
Will you help establish a “Think and Do Tank” for Liverpool?
Over the past few months I have been spending some time both in this Country and outside it looking at what makes a city a great city.
There can be no doubt that having a good University is a major part of this. Having three with excellent reputations in different fields is even better!
We all know the benefits that you bring to the city in turns of our GDP. The students that come and live here and the staff that come and work here are a huge part of our financial turnover and a huge part of our reputational output. BUT I have to ask whether that is enough.
All the Universities here are involved in research and some of that research puts things back into our decision making processes and to our industrial and commercial activity. I believe however that a partnership between the Council, the Chamber of Commerce and the Voluntary Sector could do much, much more.
So this is what I would like to see:
Firstly, that the Universities and partners help future proof our City. The Council and its partners needs to be thinking 20 years ahead. What technologies, what communications systems, what transport systems what products will we need in that time. How will society change as a result of these and other changes? How does the Council plan its services and activities to take advantage of those changes and not be submerged by them?
Secondly, that the Universities should improve the relationship between their research and commerce and industry to spawn off leading edge companies as Manchester University is doing with graphene.
Thirdly, every year there are at least 10,000 foreign students in Liverpool from all over the World. How will we continue to create a relationship with them so that as they become more successful on their return to their home countries and rise up the hierarchies of the public and private sector they will not only remember with affection their time in the city but also seek to use the businesses in our City for commercial and industrial opportunities.
I am not suggesting that our Universities have done nothing in this regard but in other cities I see so much more activity in at least two of these areas than I see here.
So this is a challenge to you to which I hope you will respond. Although I am happy to help with this I do not believe that this is a body that should be dominated by politicians. We need a pure place of research, thought and innovation which will challenge policy makers in the public, private and voluntary sectors.
So what do you think of the idea?
I look forward to hearing from you.
Cllr Richard Kemp CBE,
Leader, Liverpool Liberal Democrats