Dame Tessa Jowell opens new ‘Researcher Hub’

Fri, 14 Sep 2012 13:41:00 BST

“Universities the heartbeat of innovation” – Tessa Jowell

Dame Tessa Jowell and Professor Bob Cryan

Dame Tessa Jowell is pictured with the University's Vice-Chancellor, Professor Bob Cryan.

THE University’s 2012 Research Festival culminated with a talk by guest speaker, The Rt Hon Dame Tessa Jowell DBE MP.

Dame Tessa has held ministerial positions in the Blair Government including Employment Secretary, Minister for Women, Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport, culminating in her appointment as Minister for the Olympics and London.  Since the General Election, Ms Jowell has been Shadow Minister for the Olympics.

At the Research Festival, Dame Tessa spoke about the contribution of the arts, humanities and media to the success of the London Olympics.  She also considered the importance of the creative industries to the UK economy.

Following her talk the former cabinet minister toured and opened the University’s new ‘Researcher Hub’. 

The brand new facility provides a dedicated space for the University’s postgraduate community and includes a quiet study space to settings for socialising and for activities such as seminars and conferences.

“The creation of the Researcher Hub is a product of our determination to create a true research community here at the University of Huddersfield,” said the University’s Vice-Chancellor, Professor Bob Cryan at the opening.  “It is designed to cut across disciplines and offer an environment in which researchers can discuss, debate, explore and collaborate.”

Stake a claim to the Olympics legacy

REGIONS of England – including Yorkshire – should make sure that they share in the legacy of the Olympics and universities had a key role to play, said Dame Tessa Jowell, when she spoke at the University’s Research Festival.

She was Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport in Tony Blair’s Labour Government and played a key role in securing the Games for Britain.  When she visited the University and spoke before opening its new Researchers Hub, she described the struggle she faced in 2002, persuading civil servants and fellow ministers that Britain should bid for the Games.  Initially, not a single Cabinet colleague backed her until she managed to win the support of the Prime Minister.

After the bid was successful, she was Olympics Minister in the Blair Government and continued as Shadow Olympics Minister after the May 2010 election – stepping down from the role shortly before her University of Huddersfield visit, on the grounds that the job was done.

After being introduced to the audience by the University’s Vice-Chancellor, Professor Bob Cryan, Dame Tessa spoke about the background to the Olympics bid and her experiences during the Games themselves, when she lived in the Olympic Village.

The Games, she said, were “a huge challenge – but a challenge met”.  A new kind of “progressive patriotism” had emerged, typified by Danny Boyle’s opening ceremony.  “We are not longer just a nation of Beefeaters and red buses but a diverse nation, proud of our past and confident about our future.”

But it was important that London should not be seen as the major beneficiary of the Olympics legacy, said Dame Tessa.

“Yorkshire must be very assertive in its entitlement to be part of this post-Olympics identity,” she said, adding that new alliances should be built between existing business, new businesses and the public sector.

“We should increase the leverage of the public pound,” argued Dame Tessa, adding that academic institutions such as the University of Huddersfield could be the “heartbeat of innovation”.

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