'Disappointment' as major bid for technology hub in East Anglia is rejected
PUBLISHED: 08:06 11 April 2019 | UPDATED: 08:45 11 April 2019
West Suffolk College
A major bid to create a pioneering Institute of Technology in East Anglia was one of just three to be rejected after the government announced the recipients of a £170million funding pot.
The New Anglia Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) and West Suffolk College in Bury St Edmunds, who were leading the project to open one of the country’s first Institute of Technology (IoTs) centres, said they were “very disappointed” to miss out.
The proposal to establish the Eastern Institute of Technology (EIoT) was launched in 2017, and the project was one of just 16 to be shortlisted for the second stage of bidding last summer.
The government then received 15 applications in August last year, and 12 projects, including four in London and two in the west Midlands, have now been selected.
MORE: Major bid for multi-million pound technology hub in Suffolk and Norfolk edges step closer
It was proposed that the EIoT would run from the sites of the five supporting colleges – West Suffolk College, Suffolk New College, Easton and Otley College, the College of West Anglia and East Coast College.
Dr Nikos Savvas, West Suffolk College principal and Suffolk Academy Trust chief executive, said: “We were very surprised and disappointed to learn that we didn’t make it through as we believed we’d submitted a very strong bid.
“However our resolve and commitment to offer local high level, industry partnered STEM and technology training that will reenergise and meet the skills needs of the region, is as strong as ever.
“We are opening our campus for stem innovation for the eastern region in September 2019, funded by the LEP and business investment. This dedicated campus will educate the next generation of entrepreneurs, innovators, engineers, scientists and digital professions.”
A spokesman for the New Anglia LEP said: “We’re very disappointed of course. Our technology expertise is world leading in areas such as ICT, agri-food and clean energy, and we want to stay ahead of the curve.
“Only a couple of weeks ago, we announced multi-million investments in skills and innovation including £1.6m for a Digital and Technology Skills Hub at Suffolk New College.
“Driving skills and high quality jobs are fundamental to our goals to create a more inclusive economy.
“So we will continue to work closely with colleges, universities, businesses and other groups ensuring we meet the area’s ambitions as set out in the Norfolk and Suffolk Economic Strategy.”
The government’s idea of introducing IoTs is to create a high-quality route to gain skills and technical qualifications, comparable to going to university.
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The successful applicants will now work with the Department of Education (DfE), and the first IoTs are expected to open in September this year.
The DfE has been approached for further comment.
The lead applicants for the 12 successful IoTs are:
• Barking & Dagenham College
• Dudley College of Technology
• Harrow College and Uxbridge College (HCUC)
• Milton Keynes College
• New College Durham
• Queen Mary University of London
• Solihull College & University Centre
• Swindon College
• University of Exeter
• University of Lincoln
• Weston College of Further and Higher Education
• York College