Our Civic Commitment

The University of Derby is committed to supporting the city, county and communities within in. In this feature, we highlight some examples of the civic work that has been taking place this year. 

University's £5m business growth project with city partners

In July, the University and Derby City Council launched Ascend, a £5 million business growth programme aimed at helping local businesses to innovate and expand.

Ascend provides support for three key areas - growth readiness, investment readiness, and growth projects - and is expected to support up to 40 local businesses over the next two years, as well as create over 500 jobs.

Businesses who participate in the programme are able to access bespoke support and advice to help develop business growth and strategies, as well as loans for capital investment if traditional finance is not available.

Luxury doughnut maker Project D was chosen to pilot the project. Jacob Watts, co-owner and Strategy Director at Project D, gave an update on how Ascend had helped their business: “The advice we’ve had is invaluable. We obviously had an idea of where we wanted to go, and how we wanted to grow Project D, but to have experts there to push you in the right direction, support you, and connect you has really been invaluable.”

Professor Kathryn Mitchell, Vice-Chancellor

I am very pleased that the University is part of this exciting collaboration to propel the potential of businesses in our city and create the opportunities which our students will identify as integral to their decision to study in Derby.

Professor Kathryn Mitchell
Vice-Chancellor of the University of Derby

Professor Kathryn Mitchell DL, Vice-Chancellor of the University, added: “To create those opportunities here, it is vital that businesses in Derby have the support they need to innovate, attract investment and grow. That growth will generate the need for the skills and knowledge that our students acquire through high quality teaching delivered by the University, and which they can develop further through excellent work experience placements in industry."

Further information on Ascend

Student research to help police tackle crime from new enforcement hub

Academic research by University students has led to the creation of a new enforcement hub to help tackle crime and antisocial behaviour in Derby city centre.

The enforcement hub was designed to discuss problems including street begging, homelessness and drug use on the streets of Derby.

The Office of the Derbyshire Police and Crime Commissioner provided £25,000 worth of funding for the multi-agency hub - which will see Derbyshire Constabulary officers working with Derby City Council and University staff to provide a joint base in the former Full Street police station over the next three years.

The hub accommodates 25 officers including the City Safer Neighbourhood Team, Special Constables and Police Cadets, as well as enforcement staff and safety officers from Derby City Council.

It also provides a base for those embarking on the Police Constable Degree Apprenticeship to encourage collaborative work across the city.

Professor Kamil Omoteso

This hub has been something our academics have been advocating for some time to support Derbyshire Police and its partners with an innovative approach designed to solve a range of problems which exist within our community.

Professor Kamil Omoteso
Pro Vice-Chancellor Dean of the College of Business, Law and Social Sciences

Professor Kamil Omoteso, Pro Vice-Chancellor Dean of the College of Business, Law and Social Sciences at the University, said: “Our staff and students will work within this hub to assess data and apply our academic research methodology and practice, to make recommendations for the way issues of crime and antisocial behaviour can be addressed in the future.

“It will also provide a superb opportunity for our students to obtain unrivalled experience, supporting policing and community safety professionals to tackle real-world problems and make a positive difference to our city.”

The new facility also delivers an opportunity for degree students to test their skills in a real police and partnership environment, with access to criminal justice processes, case studies, problem-solving and briefing experience.

Chief Superintendent Dave Cox, who is in charge of policing for the south of the county, adds: “Having a city centre located base for our officers again is a huge step which is allowing us to respond to city-based crimes far quicker than previously.

“In the short space of time that the team have been based there they have already responded to a number of incidents nearby which before would have taken them longer to attend. The team have been able to continue to build links with the business community which is key in the city as they are the main community.

“The hub is a huge first step in improving partnership working and having officers based in the centre of Derby is key to tackling ASB as well as a host of other crimes that effect city centres.”

The University of Derby's Kedleston Road campus in the sunshine

University receives Gold Ministry of Defence Award for supporting the armed forces community

The University received a Gold award in the 2021 Ministry of Defence Employer Recognition Scheme for its commitment to supporting the Armed Forces community. 

The Defence Employer Recognition Scheme (ERS) encompasses bronze, silver and gold awards and encourages employers to support defence and inspire others to do the same. 

As part of its commitment to the ERS, Derby has been working to embed and demonstrate support to the Armed Forces across all levels and departments of the organisation. In 2017, the University signed the Armed Forces Covenant and reaffirmed its commitment in 2020. 

The University has revised its recruitment process to ensure members of the Armed Forces are recognised when they apply for roles at the University and it supports the ‘Step into Health’ initiative with the University Hospitals of Derby & Burton NHS Foundation Trust, Derbyshire Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust and Derbyshire Community Health Services NHS Foundation Trust, to encourage veterans to consider careers in the NHS. 

On receiving the award, Professor Kathryn Mitchell DL, commented: “I am delighted that the University of Derby has been awarded the Ministry of Defence’s highest badge of honour in recognition of our commitment to the Armed Forces community. 

“At Derby, we are keen to attract service leavers as employees, and to encourage them to start new careers, education and training with us, recognising the outstanding transferable skills that veterans bring that can be built on in a second career.”

Written by Ellie Masena