Patricia Hewitt launches InfoLab21
Trade and Industry Secretary Patricia Hewitt described Lancaster as “a truly entrepreneurial university” at the official launch of InfoLab21.
She praised the fact that Lancaster University was working to blend the traditional university focus on teaching, research and scholarship with business, enterprise and innovation.
Speaking at the official opening of the new ICT (Information and Communication Technology) Centre on February 2 Miss Hewitt said she had been impressed when she had visited Lancaster’s Computing Department many years ago when she was Britain’s first minister for E –commerce.
Congratulating the University on its progress she said: “This is a very exciting building and a very exciting partnership making Lancaster a leader in the world’s knowledge driven economy.”
Lancaster University Vice Chancellor Paul Wellings thanked the “magnificent support” of the North West Regional Development Agency and the European Regional Development Fund adding: “We now need to deliver to the expectations of these bodies and the many stakeholders in our research and training.”
He said: “InfoLab21’s mission is to become the premier location for ICT research and development in the region, building on the already-established international reputation of the University in these high-technology subjects, and to be the focal point for the development of ICT business in the north west.”
Also speaking at the opening, NWDA chairman Bryan Gray said innovative people, ideas and investment in infrastructure - particularly ICT - had a key part to play in the future economy of the North West.
He welcomed the fact that universities such as Lancaster were finding ways of opening their doors to business and urged small businesses to get to know their local university.
He said: “InfoLab21 is an excellent example of innovation through people, ideas and ICT.”
InfoLab21 is a Lancaster University initiative to establish a world class Centre of Excellence for research, development and commercialisation of ICT, and was made possible with financial support from the Northwest Regional Development Agency (NWDA), who have contributed £10 million to the project, and the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF).
A key aim of the Centre is to promote and accelerate technology transfer between the ICT research in the University and the local and regional industry, especially small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs).
InfoLab21 co-locates more than 250 ICT experts in the academic wing with around 20 specialised ICT SMEs in the Knowledge Business Centre, as well as systems and networking experts delivering advanced ICT training to local and regional industry. The new building forms the physical hub of a virtual network of more than a hundred companies in the region.
The University is internationally respected for its work in ICT ranging from signal processing and coding, through wired and wireless computer networking including Internet, Web and multimedia technologies and ubiquitous and mobile computing, to software systems engineering and human-computer interfacing.
The University works with international ICT companies including major telecommunications network operators, equipment manufacturers and software providers.
The distinctive green and orange landmark building is based at the South of the University campus overlooking the M6 motorway.
For more information on InfoLab21 please go to http://www.infolab21.lancs.ac.uk/