Innovation at Northampton

Prof Nick Petford (Centre) with Rachel Garwood and Paul Evans in the University tannery
Prof Nick Petford (Centre) with Rachel Garwood and Paul Evans in the University tannery

The industry group of the UK Leather Federation had an unusual hour yesterday as for the first time they met face to face with all the various areas of the University whose skills have a bearing on the way leather is made or consumed. The obvious areas of waste management and fashion presented but others such as nVidia (the 3D visualization tool), psychiatry and podiatry got to meet the tanners for the first time.

This is a new step for the University in which the Vice Chancellor, Nick Petford, is keen that schools and institutes with industrial links should start to focus more on research, continuous professional development and consultancy as we move into a new era of University financing.

The afternoon coincided with an announcement about the new ways in which leather will be taught at Northampton with a greater emphasis on the University getting out into the marketplace to teach courses in situ in factories or in nearby institutions with shorter visits to Northampton to use the tannery. M.Sc. courses will remain residential in Northampton offering a great career path to science graduates with no clear idea of where to seek work. Here is the full press release:

New ways of studying Leather Technology at Northampton

From September 2012 The University of Northampton will offer its undergraduate programmes in Leather Technology internationally by flexible modes of learning. This will be achieved through the new Institute for Creative Leather Technologies.

Northampton courses will be delivered in collaboration with key strategic partners around the world allowing students to gain a quality assured University of Northampton qualification in their home country. Agreements are already in place with the University of Veterinary and Animal Sciences in Lahore and the Associazione Culturale Olga Fiorini in Milan. Negotiations are underway with institutions in India, China and Brazil.

This new flexibility will support modular, accredited CPD, making Northampton courses and qualifications much more accessible to those already working in the leather and leather-using industries.

As these exciting new programmes are being rolled out, the University’s portfolio of traditional, full-time courses in Leather Technology will be slimmed down, allowing the Institute for Creative Leather Technologies to focus its physical resources on accredited CPD for industry, leading to formal qualifications, and multi-disciplinary research and development.

To support this, following the £800k upgrading of the tannery and public areas of the Leathersellers’ Centre (co-funded by the University and the Leathersellers’ Company), a new research laboratory will be created in the Centre during summer 2011.

Dr Mark Wilkinson
Director: Institute for Creative Leather Technologies

So this is a big change and a moment for new initiatives the first of which we saw yesterday.

Michael Redwood
27th January 2011

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