Bloc Newsroom

University of Derby partnership will level up skills and innovation

Vital investment in developing new opportunities for innovation and skills for the employees of the future is being demonstrated by a new partnership between the University of Derby and digital technology studio Bloc Digital.

Welcomed by the University’s Vice-Chancellor as a valuable showcase of education-enterprise collaboration, the Strategic Partnership Agreement (SPA) will spearhead knowledge transfer between the two Derby-based organisations. It will provide a framework for identifying joint research and development (R&D) opportunities and support the University’s vocational learning agenda, helping to mould the next generation of innovators and put the East Midlands at the forefront of the digital revolution.
Bloc Digital is an award-winning leader in the use of digital visualisation and immersive technology in industry. As part of the partnership, it will harness its digital twin knowledge to drive engagement in connected technologies, such as Smart Cities, within the region.

It will also utilise its expertise in pioneering innovative and immersive (Augmented and Virtual Reality) solutions to help inspire and upskill students. By bringing business insights, delivering student live briefings and masterclasses, and providing guidance on evolving technologies, it will ensure University of Derby students are equipped with the skills and knowledge required to lead the digital revolution.

The partnership is part of an ongoing drive to deliver industry-relevant and R&D-informed teaching, and support the development of more research-focused educational institutions. The University of Derby has a strong background in working collaboratively with local businesses, such as Bloc Digital, to deliver applied research and knowledge exchange and recently achieved recognition for being ‘world-leading’ in numerous research areas.

Professor Kathryn Mitchell CBE DL, Vice-Chancellor at the University of Derby, said: “We are delighted to have signed a Strategic Partnership Agreement with Bloc Digital.

“The University has worked closely with the company for a number of years, supporting its ambitions to scale up, providing a pipeline of student and graduate talent, as well as through research and Knowledge Transfer Partnerships.

“It is fantastic to see the success of Bloc Digital and to cement our relationship further through this partnership, which will provide even more opportunities for us to align innovation and teaching at Derby with industry needs to make a real impact.”

Co-Founder and Director at Bloc Digital, Keith Cox, added: “This partnership underscores two of our core values – investing in future talent and conducting state-of-the-art research. By harnessing our industry-leading knowledge and capabilities in future-forward technologies, including IoT and immersive realities, we are proud to be supporting the progression of the digital and technology sector as well as consolidating our rich history with the University of Derby.”

Together, the Derby-based organisations have already supported the successful East Midlands Institute of Technology bid, and led numerous events to help the local business community understand and implement digital technologies. Bloc Digital has also been an established route to employment, with 15 of the University’s graduates starting their careers within the company. The formal agreement will further ensure emerging talent is trained and retained within the region.