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Phil Ward

Director of Eastern Arc View website

Eastern Arc

Eastern Arc is the regional research consortium comprising the universities of East Anglia, Essex and Kent. All three were established in the early 1960s as alternative, interdisciplinary institutions, focussing on socially aware, radical and disruptive research and education.

The subsequent strength of both of these pillars of our work is clear when the results of the REF are mapped against those of the TEF: the three members are in the top 10% of UK universities that have achieved the highest scores in both.

As well as a shared outlook, the three universities are similar in size and location. All are on the North Sea rim, a region rooted in the land but shaped by travel, trade and migration, resulting in a mind-set that is outward looking, accepting of change and welcoming of external influences.

Going forward, we undertook a mapping exercise using quantitative and qualitative data to identify four key strengths that the three universities share. These form the heart of our new five year strategy. They are:

  • Health systems, social care and wellbeing
  • Human rights, equality and conflict
  • Sustainability, natural resources and food
  • Culture, connection and creativity

We aim to develop a strong collaborative core within our themes, to support experimental, risk-taking activity, and to engage with external policy-makers and end-users. Within our region, we are working with commercial organisations to build connectivity, exploiting the potential of the east and south east, its asset base, and facilitating improved harnessing of the combined capacity to support business growth through innovation.

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