MK:U seeks to create an environment where innovation is a given and where students can learn alongside business mentors and in business situations, while all the time feeling safe, healthy and valued.

The new University is envisioned as having an exceptionally strong relationship to Milton Keynes (MK). The city’s long-term future and its growth ambition to become a city of half a million residents by 2050 – as set out in the MK Futures 2050 programme – depends on retaining home-grown talent and attracting talented people from elsewhere.

Inclusive in its culture, through its operational design and physical integration, MK:U’s education, research and connection with businesses and the city will be visible to all. 

Using MK as a living lab’ to test out new concepts and ideas, citizens and businesses will have the opportunity to participate in the University’s research, education and social activities and contribute to its students’ learning.

The new University will also be a destination: a place to visit and a forum for events, exhibitions and performances all year round, and throughout the day and night. The project will be primarily financed by MK:U, with some additional funding support from MKC.

While the city’s expansion will generate a cohort of local students, MK:U will also need to reach out to students from elsewhere in the UK and must appeal to international students selecting from the best universities around the world.

MK:U’s distinctive provision will include accelerated two-year courses, intensive three-year degrees with project placements, part-time/apprenticeship pathways and short courses/​continued professional development. 

The approach will be a practical, business-focused education with an emphasis on experiential learning that offers a flexible and accessible education to undergraduates, mature learners and returners. 

MK:U’s undergraduate curriculum will be organised around three focal areas, covering five academic pillars’ including:

  1. Business and Entrepreneurship: particularly focused on starting and setting up a live business.
  2. Design Thinking: design in the creative industries, including web design, apps, virtual reality, game design and product design.
    • Digital and Cyber: focused on ‘Big Data’, namely analytics, information security, data science, cyber protection and recovery, and digital science and computing.
    • Smart Cities: using MK as its living-learning lab, and including autonomous and connected vehicles, health and social well-being, transport and infrastructure systems, and a satellite hub for MK.
    • Robotics and Artificial Intelligence: intelligent robotics, automation, mechatronics, application-led artificial systems development, and computational thinking.

All general teaching accommodation will be centralised and shared between the learning pillars, accessed through a central booking system. Cross-pillar teaching will occur several times a year to ensure all students get a rounded educational experience, albeit with a specific focus on business skills. 

Staff, work and student study spaces will be available both within and across hubs, to balance the importance of having a sense of identity associated within a given pillar with the desire to encourage cross-pillar learning and interaction.

Cross-curricular activities will also include: confidence and resilience; project management; negotiation and commercial skills; team working and emotional intelligence; networking and community building; critical judgement and problem solving; peer coaching; preparation for work, including CV and interview skills; budgeting and money management; protecting intellectual property; and ethics. 

Further details can be found in the Search Statement.