Students will improve your health, firms told

January 18, 2002

Sun Microsystems, a leading provider of systems to power the internet, has urged industry to forge stronger partnerships with higher education, writes Olga Wojtas.

Hugh Aitken, vice-president of Sun Microsystems Scotland, speaking at a workshop to showcase Scottish university research in electronics, said:

"Working in tandem with key research teams will give your business the competitive edge."

A company's long-term health depended on upskilling its workforce, Mr Aitken said. Sun has set up pilot projects to identify and develop student talent. It assessed what skills it needed and organised placements for students. Such students are more likely to join the company after graduating.

David Wann, acting chief executive of the Scottish Higher Education Funding Council, said pump priming through Shefc's research development grant had boosted the excellence and relevance of academic research.

"The RDG has done its job. The postgraduate student population is rising. We look now to industry, working with universities, to seize the opportunities created," he said.

The RDG awarded £500,000 over three years to a collaboration between Edinburgh, Glasgow, Heriot-Watt and Strathclyde universities in technology underpinning system-on-chip products.

The researchers unveiled 18 projects that have emerged from the collaboration. The projects include sensors for measuring acidity in patients' stomachs and intestines.

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