As we kick off our month of local innovation and Smart Specialisation case studies, we’re beginning to build a stock of best practice across the country, to promote prioritisation and evidence-led innovation investment. First, we’re revisiting some of the examples cited in Sir Andrew Witty’s Review of Universities and Growth, ‘Encouraging a British Invention Revolution’. One such project that was mentioned in Witty’s report is the Lancaster Environment Centre, part of Lancaster University.
A working environment
The Lancaster Environment Centre (LEC) is a facility for the co-location of environmental technology and service-based companies alongside a community of 450+ university and Government scientists which has provided support to over 1000small and medium enterprises and housedover 50 organisations.Lancaster University’s Environment Centre sprovides a research hub, connecting global institutions for environmental studies. The Centre works across disciplines, and societal and national boundaries, to address today’s biggest environmental challenges across the following areas:
- atmospheric sciences
- water and soil sciences
- environmental chemistry
- plant and crop science
- ecology and conservation
- earth sciences, society and environment, and
- eco-innovation through our award winning Centre for Global Eco-Innovation.
Their Geography and Environmental Science courses were rated fifth in the UK in the 2017 Guardian University Guide, and top in the North West, whilst Biological Sciences and Ecology programmes were ranked fourteenth.
As one of the world’s largest centres for environmental research, LEC’s academic expertise spans the natural and social sciences, offering balanced perspectives on what are complex societal challenges. The Centre’s teaching programmes and research reflect this diversity, operating at the crucial interface between the environment and society.
Through university and strategic partnerships, researchers are working in Africa, Asia and the Americas, offering opportunities to theirstudents and researchers to be based abroad and to influence the major environmental debates of the future.
Students regularly carry out fieldwork, either within the North West of England, with its national parks and contrasting terrestrial and aquatic habitats, or in Europe, Amazonia, the Himalayas, North America, Asia and Iceland.
Recently, the Centre established a sister institution in China, with the Chinese Academy of Sciences, drawing together specialists from different disciplines and organisations to address some of Asia’s major environmental issues.
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Please note: some text from the above entry was adapted directly from the Lancaster University Environment Centre website.