By Marcus Leach

The University of Strathclyde has today (Thursday) signed a three year agreement with one of the world’s largest banks, Santander, to provide support for the University’s future students, researchers and entrepreneurs.

The agreement was signed by Professor Jim McDonald, University of Strathclyde Principal and Vice-Chancellor, and Luis Juste, Director Santander Universities UK at a ceremony held at the University.

Under the partnership, forged with Santander Universities Global Division, the University of Strathclyde will join a group of nearly 1,000 universities in Asia, America and Europe that have the support of Santander.

With an agreement focusing on international mobility of students and researchers, entrepreneurial activities and international student exchange, Santander Universities will fund a number of initiatives at Strathclyde. These will include the funding of financial awards to top students in annual ‘pitching’ events and the support of round tables to facilitate interaction between promising entrepreneurs and experts from the business community.

The University has a strong record of leading the way in entrepreneurship and recently launched the Strathclyde Academy of Distinguished Entrepreneurs. The inaugural members of this ‘hall of fame’ demonstrate the type of graduates Strathclyde has produced over the years. The members include Sir Tom Hunter, John Logie Baird, James ‘Paraffin’ Young, Professor Maurice Taylor, Ivor Tiefenbrun, Afzal Khushi, Jim McColl, Sir Brian Souter and Ian Graham.

“This agreement represents another milestone for Strathclyde and provides an opportunity for our students and staff to strengthen our leading international reputation by collaborating with a high quality, ambitious, global organisation," Professor Jim McDonald, University of Strathclyde Principal and Vice-Chancellor, said.

“Our world class research capabilities and high quality of students puts us in an excellent position to make the most of this partnership and the experience will provide our students with an opportunity to develop themselves at a personal level, and through direct experience of business and enterprise.”

Santander has committed itself to invest £500 million in higher education in the next 5 years. In the UK alone Santander has signed agreements with 52 universities since 2007 and the bank has confirmed that this number will increase in 2012.

The agreement with Santander is the latest collaboration with industry forged by the University of Strathclyde. It represents the forward-thinking approach of the University as it moves ever closer to opening the £89 million Technology and Innovation Centre (TIC).

TIC will transform the way the University, business and industry collaborate to bring competitive advantage to Scotland. It will bring together 850 academics, researchers and project managers from the University and its leading industrial partners to work side-by-side in a state-of-the-art building in the heart of Glasgow.

TIC will become the cornerstone of Scottish Enterprise’s new International Technology and Renewable Energy Zone (ITREZ) — a global economic hub to bring innovative businesses to Glasgow to sit alongside the University.

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