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Issued:02/07/18

The impact Sheffield's two universities have on the city and wider community has been heard as part of a national inquiry.

The UPP Foundation Civic University Commission is looking at the role of universities, what they contribute to their communities and how they can best serve their region in the twenty-first century.

Ahead of the evidence sessions, the commissioners visited the Olympic Legacy Park, home of Sheffield Hallam University's Health Innovation Park, and the AMRC Training Centre, part of the University of Sheffield's Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre Group. 

The public evidence sessions, led by the Commission's Chair, Lord Bob Kerslake, saw expert witnesses questioned on two central themes:

  1. The relationship between universities and wider skills and lifelong learning
  2. Impact on the health system

The Universities are key and active anchor institutions in the region, including working with Sheffield Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, local councils, businesses, non-profits and community partners to create the Sheffield City Region Prospectus in 2016 - an ambitious 25-year shared vision for the region’s economic growth, innovation, healthcare, education and environment.

Professor Sir Chris Husbands, Vice-Chancellor of Sheffield Hallam University, gave evidence at the wider skills and lifelong learning evidence session.

Sir Chris said: “Universities play a vital role in the development of their local region. We develop skills, we nurture innovation and we transform lives - but we also have an incredibly important civic responsibility.

"The visit from the Commission was an opportunity to provide demonstrable examples, alongside our partners, of the substantial contribution we make to Sheffield and the wider City Region, and the positive impact we make on our local communities.

"This is a valuable piece of work and we look forward to receiving the final thoughts from the Commission following the gathering of the evidence."

Commissioners with Professor Helen Best at the Health Innovation Park

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Professor Sir Keith Burnett, President and Vice-Chancellor of the University of Sheffield, said: "‚ÄčThe University of Sheffield was founded on penny donations from the factory workers of our city to build a university for the people which would improve their health, build industry and bring education within reach of the child of the working man. 

"As both a global and a civic institution, our mission is to undertake world-leading scholarship which brings benefits to the economy, health and lives of communities locally and globally. 

"We were delighted to tell the Commission about the positive impact this work has on local communities and specifically to show them our AMRC Training Centre, a unique research-led centre for advanced manufacturing skills, which is transforming the lives of young people in our region and attracting the inward investment which is at the core of the region's aspirations for economic growth."

Evidence sessions for the Commission have also taken place in Manchester and Nottingham. Full details are available via the UPP website.

For press information: Please contact Martin Webb in the Sheffield Hallam University press office on 0114 225 2621 or email m.webb@shu.ac.uk.