Push for closer business ties welcomed

January 31, 2003

The regional development agencies have welcomed the government's plans for closer links with universities.

The East of England Development Agency takes the lead on skills issues on behalf of all RDAs. Sal Brinton, deputy chair of the EEDA and former bursar of Selwyn College, Cambridge, said: "This white paper encourages us all to rethink how higher education best meets the needs of students, businesses and countries as a whole. The RDAs are pleased that it recognises the importance of improving the quality and availability of foundation degrees and its recommendations for closer collaboration with businesses."

Nine RDAs for England coordinate regional regeneration and development. A key element is developing skills relevant to local employers and this is where involvement with universities is likely to grow.

Budgets are calculated by size of region and regeneration needs. The EEDA has the smallest budget (£88 million) while the Northwest Development Agency has the biggest (£314 million).

Agencies have helped businesses access university resources, and universities have provided research capacity to the agencies.

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