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  1. ITV Report

Massive funding boost for new technology university

Site of the proposed university Photo: MK:U

Plans for a new university in Milton Keynes have been given a £30 million funding boost.

Banking giant Santander has announced it is backing MK:U, the UK's first university focused on digital skills.

The bank is giving £10 million towards building costs, and will contribute 20 million towards running costs for the first three years.

The new college - which is expected to open in 2023 - is being developed by Cranfield University.

Professor Sir Peter Gregson, Chief Executive and Vice-Chancellor of Cranfield University said: “

"Santander’s support is a major sign of confidence in MK:U by a huge international and local employer. It shows that world-class businesses like Santander are crying out for career-ready, highly-skilled graduates for the digital age- providing jobs and growth in the next century.”

– Professor Sir Peter Gregson

Santander UK CEO Nathan Bostock said:

An early design for the new university Credit: MK:U

"MK:U will cement Milton Keynes’ growing reputation as a key national and international hub for technology and innovation. It will also provide a pipeline of talent and fantastic development opportunities for our staff in important areas including data science, artificial intelligence and cyber security. Like every industry, banking is being revolutionised by digital technology and we want to be at the forefront of this change for our customers.”

– Nathan Bostock

The new university aims to work in partnership with business to develop the talent and skills needed by nearby businesses like Santander – which employs over 5,000 people in Milton Keynes, out of a total UK workforce of around 24,000.

MK:U will have a strong focus on digital technologies. It will offer two-year degrees, higher apprenticeship-level qualifications, and work placements designed alongside employers. It will also provide a new cultural and civic heart for Milton Keynes, which has seen an annual population growth this century of over 17% and is forecast to be home to over 300,000 citizens by the middle of the next decade.

The curriculum will include content which is delivered and designed by industry partners – in fields like artificial intelligence, machine learning and robotics.