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Reach in and reach out : the story of the MSc in pipeline engineering at Newcastle University

Whitehurst, Fiona and Siedlok, Frank and Race, Julia (2008) Reach in and reach out : the story of the MSc in pipeline engineering at Newcastle University. International Small Business Journal, 26 (6). pp. 709-733. ISSN 0266-2426

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Abstract

This paper presents an unusual case of university-industry interaction whereby a group of small businesses came together to persuade a university to establish an MSc in Pipeline Engineering. We identify that the course contributed to regional development in four ways. Firstly, it provided graduates for local industry. Secondly, it linked local firms with pipeline engineers world wide and raised the region's profile within that network. Thirdly, it strengthened the research base of the university through the recruitment of pipeline engineers from industry and fourthly, it facilitated the possibility of joint research between the university and local firms. We question whether this model is transferable to other industry sectors/universities. We conclude that this outreach activity has been shaped by the 'reach-in' to the university of the local business community and propose a revised model of university interaction with regional industry. Traditionally universities have been seen as 'reaching out' to regional industry and the collaborations have been viewed as being instigated by the university and often research-based. Our revised model proposes an alternative mechanism whereby collaborations can be instigated by industry and through a teaching-route.