One step closer for MK:U – the ‘living laboratory’ university for Milton Keynes

Posted 17th September 2017

Milton Keynes Council’s Procurement and Commissioning Committee has approved the tender process for a higher education (HE) partner to lead the implementation of MK:U, making the new multi-million pound technology university for Milton Keynes one step closer.

MK:U is designed to make the most of collaborations between business, public and higher education organisations using the city as a ‘living laboratory’.  As a result, it will offer different ways of learning to other universities, with far more integration with business to produce highly skilled and employable graduates.

The aim is for MK:U to have around 10,000 students, with smart cities, technology, engineering and intelligent mobility its main areas of specialism.  Students could work directly on smart city and intelligent mobility projects already in development in MK, such as driverless pods and urban sensors to manage the flow of traffic and utilities.

The lead HE partner, once appointed, will assume responsibility for all aspects of the project including raising the necessary investment.  The build costs of the new university, which will be in Central Milton Keynes, are estimated at £150-300 million.

Council Leader Pete Marland said: “We know the future of MK will be shaped by the young people who live here and move here.  Our existing local universities are hugely successful but the MK Futures 2050 process identified the need to create a new technology university to meet the long-term needs of our economy.  And we also want to create opportunities for local people to have a hand in developing the place they’ve grown up in.

“MK:U will be the first university anywhere designed as a response to the challenges facing cities today and in the future.  We hope ideas formed and grown in MK will help cities around the world as they tackle the challenge of congestion, pollution and designing human spaces for 21st century living.”