WPI President Speaks in UK at National Competitiveness Conference

Contact: WPI Media Relations, +1-508-831-5609

WORCESTER, Mass., November 7, 2005 -- Dennis D. Berkey, president and CEO of Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI), spoke recently at the National Competitiveness Summit in Manchester, England, about Worcester and the role of universities in regional economic development as part of a focus on "Enterprising and Creative Places."

The annual summit, presented by the Cambridge-MIT Institute, is a gathering of key leaders from business, academia, and government to discuss issues that impact economic competitiveness. Other speakers at this year's one-day summit included bestselling author Richard Florida ("The Rise of the Creative Class"), Richard K. Lester, director of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology Industrial Performance Center, and Amber Nystrom, founding and executive director of the incubator Social Fusion.

During his summit presentation, "How to Sustain Enterprising Places," Berkey described Worcester as an enterprising, entrepreneurial city currently benefiting from strong, visionary leadership from its city administration, and elected officials, as well as its business, higher education, and health care communities. He cited the collaboration between WPI and the Worcester Business Development Corporation on the mixed-use, science-based development at Gateway Park, and the City Square Project, advanced by Berkeley Investments and the city administration, as examples of the creative, extensive partnering among various sectors that is moving the city forward. He also reported on the recent formation of Grow Worcester, the public/private entity focused on marketing Worcester to prospective employers.

Berkey further cited the type of education offered at WPI, with students coming out of their disciplines and comfort zones to work on multidisciplinary projects, many in international settings around the world, as ideal preparation for the creativity, innovation, and entrepreneurship that will be required of successful professionals, leaders, and citizens in the future.

This was Berkey's second trip to the UK in recent weeks, both under sponsorship of the Cambridge-MIT Institute, which is studying, among its many projects, the similarities between the Cambridge/Ipswich corridor in the UK, and the Boston/Worcester corridor in the U.S. The earlier trip, on which his remarks in Manchester were based, was a transatlantic leadership exchange workshop in Ipswich on comparative economic development. Attendees at this workshop included Worcester City Manager Michael V. O'Brien and Massachusetts Biomedical Initiatives President and CEO Kevin O'Sullivan.