By Zoe Fripp
Milton Keynes Council has confirmed that the plans for a new ‘21st century’ university will go ahead, after selecting Cranfield University as the lead partner.
Currently known as MK:U, the University will hold 5,000 students, with the first being welcomed in 2023.
Cranfield University will supply a curriculum focused on science, mathematics, engineering and technology, including robotics and artificial intelligence.
Professor Sir Peter Gregson, the Chief Executive and Vice-Chancellor of Cranfield University, told ITV News: “We look forward to working closely with Milton Keynes Council to create a smart university for a smart city.
“Cranfield is one of the UK’s most business-engaged universities and we already have strong links with Milton Keynes.
I am delighted that, together with our partners, we will be helping to deliver the exciting vision of a new university for the city.”
The University forms part of Milton Keynes’ desire to expand and hold 500,000 residents by 2050.
Councillor Peter Marland, the leader of Milton Keynes Council said: “For a long time, we’ve held aspirations for a bricks and mortar university in MK to attract talented young people and for local students to attend, and this is a significant step towards the creation of MK:U.
“Through the MK Futures 2050 process, we identified how a university focused on technology could benefit our economy, especially coming alongside the development of the Cambridge-MK-Oxford corridor which also holds great promise.
“This will be the first university anywhere designed as a response to the challenges facing cities today and in the future. We’re delighted to be entering this next chapter with Cranfield University.”
Businesses such as Microsoft will pair with the University to help with its creation and to get students ready for the world of work. Others so far include Grant Thornton, MK College, and Tech Mahindra.
A spokeswoman for Cranfield University told the BBC that although there isn’t a definitive figure, a ‘substantial amount of money’ is necessary in order to get MK:U started, and so the University is also looking for other business partners and investors to pair with to help with funding the project.
Over the next 18-months, a study will take place to assess the planning, design and funding for the university and how feasible it will be to create.