The Prince’s Foundation and UDSU: collaborative agreement for a mutually invested future of education

The Prince’s Foundation has announced a Collaborative Agreement with the University of Strathclyde focusing on education and research in architecture and urban design. Collaboration between the two organisations will officially begin in September 2012.

 The collaboration with Strathclyde will contribute to The Prince’s Foundation’s building skill portfolio and become a key plank to its developing graduate education programme. The charity already runs successful academic programmes and partnerships with Oxford University, The University of Wales and Simon Frazer University in Vancouver, Canada.

The Prince’s Foundation believes there is a global skills shortage in urban design and green architecture and that it is crucial to train experts who can help fill this knowledge gap in the future, drawing on time tested approaches to sustainability challenges.

The collaboration with Strathclyde will initially provide course options to fourth year students, alongside a partnered studio unit for fifth year students. Additionally, Prince’s Foundation staff will become key contributors to the Strathclyde Department of Architecture guest lecture series. The partnership will aim to run a joint degree programme being offered at graduate level in 2014.

Students undertaking the joint course will be encouraged to undertake research that focuses on sustainable community-building, drawing on the expertise of the Prince’s Foundation and its community capital framework in urban design, traditional building and place-making.

Chief Executive of The Prince’s Foundation, Hank Dittmar said: “We are really pleased to be entering into this new working relationship with the University of Strathclyde’s School of Architecture, as their solid work in Scottish urbanism and typology align well with our own focus and will become an exciting new addition to our Building Skill portfolio.

“A collaboration with the University of Strathclyde also reflects The Prince’s Foundation’s growing emphasis in Southwest Scotland, where we are working with Dumfries House and East Ayrshire Council on heritage led regeneration and skills training.”

Professor of Urban Design and Head of Department at the University of Strathclyde, Dr Sergio Porta, said: “I am incredibly proud to be the signatory of the agreement on behalf of the University of Strathclyde’s Department of Architecture, Faculty of Engineering and the Institution. I’m sure this agreement will expand our excellence further in areas like sustainable design, community engagement and live projects.

“Our department, as part of a leading technological University which has record of excellence in academic research and innovation, has identified these areas as crucial for our educational model and for shaping a next generation of architects who are useful for our communities and for society.”

Professor Scott MacGregor, Dean of the Faculty of Engineering at the University of Strathclyde, added: “I am delighted that the University has been able to establish this formal collaboration with the Prince’s Foundation and I am sure it will provide a considerable boost to our students and enhance their learning experience.

“As an institution we are committed to producing high quality graduates who can make in impact in their chosen field and this partnership ensures that our Architecture students will be able to work with experts to help fill the skills shortage in urban design.”

The Master’s Class in Urban Design is currently working on a study area in Cumnock, Scotland, UK, an area of mutual interest for the Prince’s Foundation and the MSc. The students have recently completed the first of four stages of work, and their work can be found here: Mapping Cumnock, History & Stories of Cumnock, Planning Framework for Cumnock and East Ayrshire, Experiencing Cumnock, and Multiple Centrality Assessment of Cumnock.

The work this year is especially detailed and sensitive to the true nature of Cumnock, in a large part because of the investment of the Prince’s Foundation. The collaborative agreement has given Strathclyde students insurmountable opportunities for interaction in the community and with local professionals, as well as granting them access to a wealth of information essential to their studies.

Although the course is only about 20% complete, the current progress and collaboration with the Prince’s Foundation surely suggests some amazing results, for Strathclyde, for UDSU, for the Foundation and most importantly, for Cumnock.

In addition to the support and involvement with the MSc students, the Prince’s Foundation is also involved with the research of a new PhD student. The Foundation has invested in this student not only to see him carry out research that will prove to be beneficial to both Strathclyde and the Prince’s Foundation, but also to set the foundation for involvement and collaboration at all levels of the educational programmes offered by UDSU. The six week update of this student’s work and research can be found here.

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