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      An Arc Forged from Our Diversity of Thought

      I have spent my whole career pushing for greater diversity, first in industry and later in academia.

      18 Feb 2022 Prof Karen Holford CBE, CEO and Vice-Chancellor, Cranfield University

      There have been great strides in growing the participation of previously underrepresented groups in higher education. This has opened places of learning to a vibrancy of thought and access to a wider pool of people that has tangibly improved in academia, education and training in the UK. Furthermore, as a BCG study of a few years ago has shown, increasing the diversity of organisations leads to more and better innovation and improved financial performance – producing up to 19% higher revenue. We can continue to make great headway by improving diversity, including the diversity of thought, of culture, and experience in the region.

      The Oxford-Cambridge Arc, as a region of exceptional potential, is home to a range of progressive educational institutions. Oxford and Cambridge are the best known. Alongside them, Anglia Ruskin, Oxford Brookes, Cranfield and MK:U, the Open University, the University of Northampton, Buckinghamshire New University, and the University of Bedfordshire, have all carved out superb legacies in STEM fields among others. Just as recognising the importance of diversity of background can help organisations to grow and to succeed, recognising the many providers of pioneering education in the Arc underlines the depth of this unique knowledge ecosystem. 

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      Through MK:U, the new technology institution in Milton Keynes, we are supporting the development of a suite of Level 6 degree apprenticeships in management and in digital and data subjects that are delivering new opportunities for school leavers and employees in the region.


      Greater diversity isn’t a ‘nice to have’. It’s absolutely necessary to the Arc’s prosperity, as the origin of some of the most globally important innovation solving some of the great questions of our age around the environment, automation and the future of work. When we work to maintain, grow and develop the Arc’s status as a science and technology research, development and innovation hub, we must do so in a way that champions every institution working to educate and innovate within it. 


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