Last week the University of Warwick and the U.K. National Grid have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to extend the strategic alliance they have operated for last two years. To date that alliance has engaged in over £1.5 million worth of research and student scholarships in areas such as electricity transmission asset management, gas transmission, micro-tunneling, and cyber security.
National Grid has also worked with Warwick engineers to enhance the ability of the national transmission network to use more sources of renewable energy.
UWarwicks says that the new Memorandum of Understanding will see the two organizations collaborate further in these areas and also explore new themes such as “big data” and energy storage.
The alliance has also delivered a great deal of partnership community work, particularly with young people including:
- Training for young people who are not in education, employment or training (NEETs) to help them into work — Warwick provides the training space whilst National Grid provides the training
- The National Grid Get Skilled initiative helps 14 and 15 year olds who might be in danger of missing out on employment. The first cohort to carry out work placements with University departments and graduated in November 2013, with a ceremony held at the university’s Scarman House.
- National Grid made a greatly valued contribution to the formation of the WMG Academy (a school closely associated with WMG at the University of Warwick that focuses on delivering an engineering-centered curriculum to pupils), and they continue to add significant value including through provision of equipment and staff time to the school.
- National Grid has made a significant contribution to the curriculum of Warwick’s International Gateway for Gifted Youth.
The new Memorandum of Understanding will also seek to expand on this work and the first example of this is that National Grid has agreed £10,000 sponsorship for the Discovery Zone at the University of Warwick’s Festival of the Imagination on 16 and 17 October being held as part of the University of Warwick’s foftieth anniversary.
The University of Warwick’s Vice-Chancellor Professor Sir Nigel Thrift said: “I and many of my colleagues work from a building that used be National Grid’s headquarters, but that is not what makes them a natural partner for the University. Warwick’s research strengths in a range of technologies that are crucial to energy supply, and our shared desire to support the development of young people’s skills and training have been central to our partnership to date and will drive even greater collaboration through this new memorandum of understanding”
David Wright, director of electricity transmission asset management said: “National Grid is always looking to innovate, to find new ways of doing things that benefit our customers. We know that Warwick is at the forefront in terms of innovative research and an investment that seeks to encourage advancement in engineering and technology is an investment that will pay dividends for everyone in the future. We are keen to continue our positive relationship with the University.”