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Government invites investment in science and technology universities

Vital for putting Britain on high-tech map, it says

The government is inviting the setting up of a new type of graduate university to focus on science and technology to help boost Britain's technical standing in the world, although it doesn't intend to plough any money into it.

Universities and science Minister David Willetts has outlined plans for the universities - at a location yet to be chosen - in a speech this week at the right wing Policy Exchange think tank.

Willetts said Britain's universities, science facilities and researchers "are the best single hope for making our way in the high-tech world of the future, creating jobs and opportunities and boosting high tech economic growth".

Willetts made an invitation for proposals for "a new type of university" with a focus on science and technology and on postgraduates. There will be no additional government funding, he stressed.

The government also plans the creation of a new "catapult centre" for the development of satellite applications, providing businesses with access to orbit test facilities to develop and demonstrate new technologies.

It will also set up "leadership councils" in e-infrastructure and synthetic biology, bringing together key players to "drive forward private investment and innovation".

On the proposed new universities, Willetts said the government would be looking for private finance and sponsorship to fund it, with those behind it having access to the graduates for possible recruitment. He said a "major city" may want to offer a site to house the university.


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