Key European role for aston university’s vice-chancellor

5 August 2008 – for immediate release

The Vice Chancellor of Aston University, Professor Julia King, was officially appointed to the first Governing Board for the European Institute of Innovation and Technology (EIT) last week.

The EIT, a new initiative, aims to become a flagship for excellence in European Innovation and integrate higher education, research and business across the EU. The 18 strong EIT Board comprises European experts who have widespread reputations in their various fields and dual academic-industrial backgrounds.

Professor Julia King, Vice-Chancellor, Aston University, said:

“In the UK we have developed a strong tradition of effective collaboration between industry and universities, supported by the Technology Strategy Board, the Research Councils and the Higher Education Funding Council (HEFCE), highlighted in the recent DIUS White Paper, Innovation Nation.

“I hope my membership of the EIT Governing Board will facilitate effective knowledge transfer and sharing in this area between the UK and our EU partners to make the EIT the success we all believe it can be.

“Being based in Birmingham, with its history as an innovative city, I am looking forward to being able to highlight plenty of best practice with local connections!”

The UK Department for Innovation, Universities and Skills (DIUS) welcomed Professor King’s appointment, which “reflects the UK’s strengths in research and innovation and its commitment to cooperation in Europe between research institutions and business.”

Professor King took up the top position at Aston University in December 2006. As one of the country’s leading engineers, Julia King was appointed by the then Chancellor of the Exchequer, Gordon Brown, to conduct a high-profile review of vehicle and fuel technologies. Final recommendations from the King Review, aimed at reducing carbon emissions from cars in the next 25 years, were published with the Budget in March 2008. She has recently been appointed to the Committee on Climate Change by the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Secretary Hilary Benn.

During her successful career in academia and industry, Professor King has held a number of senior positions at Rolls-Royce (including Director of Advanced Engineering for the Industrial Businesses and Managing Director of the Fan Systems Operating Business) and has been Chief Executive of the Institute of Physics and Principal of the Engineering Faculty at Imperial College. She recently stepped down as chair of the MoD’s Defence Science Advisory Council and has led a Royal Academy of Engineering Working Party looking at the education of engineers for the 21st Century. Despite her many other commitments, Prof King continues to play an active role in encouraging women and young people to go into the sciences and engineering.

The European Institute of Innovation and Technology board will hold its inaugural meeting in Budapest, location for the EIT headquarters, on 15 September 2008.


Notes to editors

• For more information on Aston University contact Laura Plotnek, University Communications Team, Aston University on 0121 204 4549 or prtemp@aston.ac.uk.

• For more information on the EIT contact Andrew Ing, Communications & Partnership Manager, West Midlands Europe on andrew.ing@westmidlandsineurope.org, +32 (0)2 740 2725 or visit http://ec.europa.eu/eit.

• The European Institute of Innovation and Technology (EIT) aims to further bridge the innovation gap between the EU and its major international competitors by boosting its capacity to transform education and research into commercial innovation opportunities.

• It will be based on partnerships known as Knowledge and Innovation Communities (KICs) – highly integrated networks of universities, research organisations and businesses in Europe. Each KIC will focus on an issue affecting the EU, such as renewable energy, climate change and new technology, and the first will be launched by the board before the end of 2009.