Internal KE Initiative of the Year Finalist: Developing meaningful strategic relationships - The Computer Science Industry Club
Aston’s mission is to be the UK’s leading university for business and the professions. The Business Development team within our Research and Knowledge Exchange (RKE) supports academic staff to establish research partnerships and to coordinate our large and growing portfolio of KTP projects. In carrying out these activities, John Richards (Director of Industrial Research Partnerships) identified an opportunity to harness these relationships and subsequently worked with academic colleague, Dr Maria Chli, to achieve the formation of the Computer Science Industry Club.
The Club harnesses the world-class expertise of the companies by enriching our curriculum, enhancing the employability of our students and strengthening long-term research relationships with our academic staff. The progressive culture of the member companies has facilitated high-quality engagement through the delivery of guest lectures, Insight Days (in which students visit partner companies), student projects, curriculum development and new research projects.
The Club has delivered significant benefits over and above existing activities and it has also strengthened joint working between departments. The Club has also provided a platform for Aston’s academic staff to build and sustain ever greater relationships with company partners and has acted as a 'glue' to maximise engagement across teaching and research.
The programme was recognised externally in 2018 by TATA (best university-engagement project) and a Princess Royal Training Award in collaboration with Majestic.com.
The Club’s current company members are: Cap Gemini, Majestic.com, Blackpepper, Keynetix, Tata Consultancy Services, Rimilia, Pinewood, Geospatial Insight, Phoebus Software, Lanner, Dignity and Arcadis.
Steve Pitchford, Development Director, Majestic:
‘‘The industry club gives Majestic an inside track on engagement with the student base, which is impossible to gain elsewhere and invaluable for recruitment. Aston has an enviable research base, which we have been able to access for collaborative R&D projects.”