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2005-2006

WPI, President Berkey Engaged in Talks with UK Institutions on Economic Development

Worcester Delegation Forging Ties in Ipswich; Berkey to Speak at UK's National Competitiveness Summit

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE/October 7, 2005
Contact: WPI Media Relations, +1-508-831-5609

From left to right: Dr. Berkey, chief executive of the Ipswich (UK) Borough Council James Hehir, and Worcester City Manager Michael O'Brien

WORCESTER, Mass. — October 7, 2005 — Worcester Polytechnic Institute is leading a transatlantic collaboration involving the Worcester (U.S.) and Ipswich (UK) regions to increase economic competitiveness in a knowledge-based economy.

WPI President Dennis D. Berkey recently led the second leg of a leadership exchange sponsored by the Cambridge-MIT Institute (CMI). The U.S. delegation included Worcester City Manager Michael O'Brien, University of Massachusetts President Jack Wilson, several entrepreneurs, and other business and civic leaders. The exchange, which brings together nearly 30 senior leaders from business, government and academia, aims to establish ways in which regional civic leaders can help foster corridors of innovation, such as the technology corridors between Boston/Cambridge and Worcester in Massachusetts, and between Cambridge and Ipswich in the East of England.

As part of this developing relationship, WPI is announcing an in principle agreement with the new University Campus Suffolk to develop areas of mutual interest. These areas are expected to include faculty and student exchanges, a project center, distance learning, and research, with a special interest in entrepreneurial programs.

Berkey will make a return trip to the UK to speak on the university's role in regional economic development at the National Competitiveness Summit in Manchester, UK, on October 25. Also speaking on behalf of the CMI collaboration will be James Hehir, chief executive of the Ipswich Borough Council.

"It is an honor for WPI and for me to be able to participate in these important discussions which are of great value to WPI and to the Worcester region," said WPI President Berkey. "The UK is recognizing both the importance of developing a better educated labor force and the many reasons to foster the economic development of its smaller cities. We can help in many ways, and in the process learn how better to promote the development of our own region."

Berkey adds, "We expect to remain in continuing dialogue with our UK counterparts. I know that all of the participants look forward to the developing relationships between the two cities and the two universities."

Integral to the exchange is WPI's expertise in regional development, entrepreneurship and innovation, as well as science, technology, and engineering education and research. WPI and Worcester are building strong momentum with new projects such as Gateway Park for research in life sciences and WPI's Bioengineering Institute, which is conducting leading-edge biomedical research and creating innovative technologies for commercialization. Additionally, entrepreneurship is a strong emphasis at WPI, as evidenced by the work of the WPI Venture Forum, and the Collaborative for Entrepreneurship and Innovation.

An initiative of the Cambridge-MIT Institute, the transatlantic leadership exchange first met last April in Worcester on the campus of WPI, and the delegates gathered in Ipswich this week for a two-day workshop on creating and sustaining enterprising places.

Massachusetts and the East of England have both emerged as strong competitors in the world economy, buoyed up by the clusters of innovative businesses around Cambridge University and MIT.

"There are many more similarities between the East of England and Massachusetts than the fact that each has a town called Cambridge," says Richard Nicol, director of CMI@Adastral Park. "Ipswich and Worcester, each about an hour's drive from their respective Cambridges, are both former manufacturing towns now establishing new identities for themselves in the emerging, knowledge-based global economy."

During the 1980s, civic leaders in the former metalworking town of Worcester helped establish a growing biotech cluster which now forms one end of the high-tech corridor in eastern Massachusetts. In the UK during the 1990s, government organizations, industry and intermediaries helped foster the development of the Cambridge-to-Ipswich High Technology Corridor and its information and communication technology "IP-City" initiatives, including Ipswich's Adastral Park.

About the Cambridge-MIT Institute

CMI (www.cambridge-mit.org) is a pioneering partnership between two world-class institutions: the University of Cambridge in the UK and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Established in July 2000, it receives funding from the UK government and industry partners to carry out education and research to enhance the competitiveness, productivity and entrepreneurship of the UK economy.