Loughborough aims to gain global fame

June 30, 2006

Loughborough University has embarked on a recruitment and development drive designed to launch the institution on to the international stage.

New posts will boost the four research schools set up this year in sustainability, materials, health and life sciences, and systems engineering - areas of strength in which the university wants to make a mark over the next ten years.

Shirley Pearce, who took over from Sir David Wallace as vice-chancellor in January, said: "We are investing part of our strategic funds from fee income, £2m, on recruiting younger researchers and replacing some retiring professors. Whatever way you choose to assess (research), we hope to be up there."

Professor Pearce said that she would build on the university's recent national successes and the foundations laid by Sir David. Loughborough came sixth in the latest Times league tables and did well in the first National Student Satisfaction Survey. It was also recently admitted to the 1994 Group of research-led universities.

"It's a great position to be in, and my job is to keep people proud of the institution. I don't want to change things that aren't broke," Professor Pearce said.

"There is an air of confidence around the university about its performance, but we cannot be complacent. Loughborough has changed dramatically over the past ten years. Now we want to expand on that success internationally right across the university.

"We have to think about the research, teaching and enterprise partnerships we need so that we will be recognised internationally in ten years' time."

The university also plans to develop international business partnerships and to give the curriculum more of an international flavour.

"Loughborough students see the learning experience as second to none and are passionate about it, but how do we broaden that so it is truly international?" Professor Pearce said.

"We have a responsibility to provide all our students with an international experience and not to just let it happen by chance."

Sport will also continue to play a large role at Loughborough.

"I want to use sports to spread success right across the institution, so every part of the university can benefit from sporting ethos and success,"

she said.

The London Olympics in 2012 is a target. "A significant number of medal-winners are in higher education, and we have a role to play in the nation's success in the next Games," Professor Pearce said.

Loughborough is working with governing bodies to establish likely medal-winners and to find out how to support them locally and nationally.

A new arts and cultural centre to be based at the university but offering services to the general population is also under discussion.

anthea.lipsett@thes.co.uk

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