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Department of Physics

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Chancellor of the Exchequer’s visit highlights Durham’s strengths in research and industrial partnerships

(9 May 2017)

L-R: Prof Carlos Frenk, ICC, Durham University and Philip Hammond, Chancellor of the Exchequer

Durham University’s contribution to the UK economy and links with industry have been highlighted by a visit from the Chancellor of the Exchequer.

Philip Hammond met with staff and students at the University which each year contributes more than £1billion to the UK’s economy, including £650m in the North East of England, and which supports more than 10,000 jobs.

Among the topics discussed during his visit was Durham’s work in connecting research with industry which has seen the University launch many spin-out companies since 1997 including Kromek, P2i and Ikon Science, creating over 1,000 jobs.

The Chancellor also learned more about the University’s outreach work with local schools to encourage pupils to study Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) subjects, working with over 10,000 North-East schoolchildren every year.

The visit was rounded-off by a tour of the University’s new £11.5m Ogden Centre for Fundamental Physics, designed by the internationally renowned Studio Libeskind, which opened earlier this year, demonstrating Durham’s position as a world-leading research centre in astronomy and cosmology.

Bringing maths, science and engineering to life

During his visit the Chancellor discussed the important role universities like Durham can play in developing the regional economy, a key part of the government’s Industrial Strategy.

He added that Durham University's Ogden Centre for Fundamental Physics was “a wonderful example” of how exciting disciplines, such as maths, science and engineering, “are brought to life, taught to the next generation of talented professionals, and shared with all those keen to engage with such important subjects”.

Durham University is ranked 74th in the world according to the QS World University Rankings 2016-17 and is consistently ranked as one of the UK’s leading institutions.

Collaborative research with major companies

The University is embarking on a new ten-year strategy (2017-2027) with the goal of delivering world-leading and world-changing research across all academic departments and institutes; education that is challenging, difficult, enabling, research-led and transformative; and a wider student experience to rival the best in the world.

Durham has a number of strategic partnerships with multi-national organisations including collaborative research with major companies such as Procter & Gamble.

Super-repellent nanocoatings developed at Durham, and commercialised by P2i, are now applied to millions of mobile phones as well as providing waterproofing for the kit worn by armed service personnel.

Durham University's key economic role

Professor Antony Long, Deputy Vice-Chancellor and Provost, Durham University, said: “Durham University plays a key role in both the economy of the North East and the UK as a whole.

“Our new strategy will see us invest heavily in new teaching and research facilities with a continued focus on world-leading research excellence, solidifying our position as an anchor institution in the North East of England from which further economic growth can develop.

“As part of this vision we see a key role for Durham University in delivering innovation and technology transfer, as well as encouraging students to develop skills in key STEM subjects, that will be vital to the future prosperity of the region and the country. We were delighted to share this vision with the Chancellor of the Exchequer.”