University of Southampton - Industrial Advisory Board
The School of Electronics and Computer Science (ECS) within the University of Southampton is working closely with industry, to ensure that education activities are aligned with the needs of industry.
A key part of this strategy is the Industrial Advisory Board (IAB), which consists of 15 external partners from a range of small and large businesses (including, e.g., IBM, Roke, JP Morgan and Leonardo).
These meet with ECS education and research staff on a regular basis to provide advice on the School’s strategies for education, research and industrial engagement, by:
- ensuring that ECS’s education programmes deliver the future skills requirements of UK industry.
- advising on industry engagement structures established to support translation of knowledge into innovation, commercial success and societal changes.
- identifying and supporting opportunities for ECS industrially-funded research activities.
- sharing best practice on equality, diversity and inclusion.
- informing student recruitment and student industrial engagement activities.
- supporting quality assessment exercises (e.g., REF, KEF).
As an example of this collaboration, discussions at the IAB have led to the introduction of a new module, COMP3219 (Engineering Management and Law), which specifically covers professional aspects that the IAB raised as key skills for engineering graduates and which is now core on all MEng programmes offered by ECS. The IAB also recommended ECS to invest in the teaching of artificial intelligence. This resulted in several new specialist modules being established, which are now among our most popular modules. Members of the IAB frequently give guest lectures, and many of the companies involved in the IAB offer graduate and internship positions to ECS students.
In addition to the IAB, there are several other related and highly successful industrial engagement activities within ECS. The School has a dedicated Senior Fellow for Partnerships and Business Development, who is looking after relationships with around 300 companies and who runs the ECS Career Hub, a careers and employability initiative that connects ECS students with employers. At the heart of this initiative is an annual careers fair that is attended by around 75 companies and 2,000 students. Students from ECS also have access to Future Worlds, a startup accelerator that helps students set up their own businesses via mentoring support, investment opportunities and a dedicated working space on campus.