Friday, October 3, 2014 - 17:05

Two of the UK’s leading education centres, the University of Exeter and the Eden Project, celebrated their strengthening links with a formal signing ceremony today (Friday October 3).

The signing of the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) by Professor Mark Goodwin, Deputy Vice-Chancellor for External Affairs at the University, and Eden Executive Director David Harland was followed by the planting of a tree to mark the continued strategic partnership between the two organisations.

Welcoming the partnership, Eden Executive Vice Chairman and Co-Founder Sir Tim Smit said that Eden was very excited to be collaborating with the University of Exeter.

He said: “Exeter is one of the finest universities in the country. This marriage is really important to us and will enable us to become an educational hot house.  It marks ten years of the University’s presence in Cornwall and it shows that we are both here for the long haul, creating bright futures for the people who want to study and learn with us.”

Professor Goodwin announced that the University and Eden have jointly committed to finance a Project Development Fund to pump-prime more exciting initiatives between the two organisations.

He said: “Eden is a wonderful partner for us to work with. As an iconic brand, it provides a test-bed of more than 800,000 visitors annually which means that we can truly engage the public in our newest research and discoveries.” 

The University and Eden are already working together in areas as diverse as social enterprise, student dissertations and community engagement and now wish to establish a formal partnership in order to develop new joint initiatives.

The parties will collaborate on elements of informal science learning and public engagement. The partnership could also extend to developing research programmes around science, technology, health and culture with elements of public engagement.

In addition, Eden and Exeter will also work on a range of projects designed to enhance graduate employability.

The University of Exeter will provide scientific expertise for the forthcoming Human Microbiome project at Eden, an exhibit exploring the microbes that support the normal functioning of the human body.

The programme will explore the story of the human microbiome, providing new ways of understanding and linking human health and planetary health in a rapidly-changing world.  The exhibition will be based in the Core education centre and will be launched in spring 2015.