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Part 3 : Resolution : Research

This project will attempt to reconcile the findings of the previous analysis stage with the possibilities of the site whilst acknowledging the implications of the ongoing Knowledge Capital debate.
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The previous stage of the project highlighted two main themes:
  • The reality of the Salford University campus as a strongly differentiated enclave within the surrounding urban fabric

  • The crucial role which careful branding and use of the University corporate logo play in heightening this experience on site
This third stage of the project will therefore attempt to explore ways in which the University might seek to blur the boundaries of the campus whilst exploring the consequences of the Knowledge Capital Project.

The Knowledge Capital

The enigmatic aims of the Knowledge Capital Project can be summed up by the desire to exploit the size of the higher education sector in Manchester by rebranding itself as 'The Knowledge Capital'. It is hoped that this marketing ploy will enable the cities 4 universities to attract higher levels of funding.

The higher education sector in the UK is currently experiencing unsustainable levels of underfunding. The government continues to aim to get 50% of school leavers into universities, whilst withholding the appropriate increases in funding. The universities are clearly concerned by this situation and have for some time now been investigating alternative sources of income. Some cite the American model and talk of imposing huge top-up fees of 10,000 per year. Others are slightly more creative.

Academic Enterprise

With it's roots in the mid-19th century, Salford University has always been more closely linked to the world outside academia than other similar institutions. Salford Technical College, a forerunner of the University, was set up to research and teach industrial techniques required by local industry. The more recent realisation that Universities can make money by marketing their services to industry was preempted by Salford who set up their business branch 'Academic Enterprise' several years ago.

Every department in the University makes it's services known to the outside world via the Academic Enterprise project and inquiries from industry are solicited when specialised information, research or services are required. Their website has a vast list of training, development, facilities, equipment, products and services that outside bodies can purchase from the University.

This interface provides an increasingly important part of the University structure. Links with industry no only provide much needed cash, but also provide the opportunity of vocational placements for students. As vocational skills have more and more sway in the graduate job market, these opportunities are invaluable to students and staff alike.

University/Business Interface

There are various mechanisms through which the University fosters links with industry. The primarily web-based Academic Enterprise service mentioned above is one that includes every part of the institution. A second, more tangible, link is made through Technology House, based in the Salford University Science Park. It serves three major functions:
  • First, it is the University of Salford's centre for incubating new enterprises, particularly "spin-outs" from the University itself.

  • Secondly, it provides workspace for established companies who wish to work in an innovative networking environment in close proximity to a University dedicated to working with business.

  • Thirdly, it provides a base for an increasing number of the University's business support initiatives such as The Revans Centre, TCS, and GEMISIS
I am intrigued by this relatively new phenomena of Universities creating economic growth by fostering small businesses. What are the key features of these spaces, and what opportunities might they present for urban areas surrounding the University Campus?

Knowledge Capital Logo?

Knowledge Capital Figure ground

Academic Enterprise logo

Academic Enterprise website

Technology House Logo

Technology House website