Students share ideas on Nottingham’s future development following European visits

Students have been sharing their recommendations on how Nottingham city and its universities can work together to support creativity and innovation after travelling to Europe to explore the theme.

Camera icon
Winners of the prize for Best Poster

As part of a European Creative and SMART Cities Challenge, more than 100 Nottingham Trent University (NTU) students and 14 academics visited Karlsruhe in Germany and Timisoara in Romania, supported by NTU Global.   

The students, many of whom were from widening participation backgrounds, spent time learning about Nottingham’s SMART and creative assets before they travelled to Europe. They then visited at least one SMART/Creative City on the way to Karlsruhe or Timisoara to look at specific initiatives to support creativity and innovation. 

The question they sought to answer - How can cities and universities work together to support creativity and innovation? - was inspired by the central roles of creativity and innovation in Nottingham’s regeneration plans, Building a Better Nottingham and Future City Strategy, Smart Nottingham

The students learnt from schemes currently in place in the European cities to suggest innovations for Nottingham, such as a clean air app, green corridors around the city, technology-enabled SMART parks and co-working spaces. 

A showcase event then saw the students present their findings and recommendations to senior members of NTU, Nottingham City Council, the Lord Mayor and representatives from Karlsruhe and Timisoara. The students worked in cross-subject teams of eight or nine members and each team presented a poster and a two-minute pitch.

Nottingham City Council have since offered four internships for selected students to work in its Economic Development Team during the 2019/20 academic year and the summer vacation 2020. 

In addition to the internships, the NTU students have been invited by Nottingham City Council’s director of Planning and Regeneration to present their recommendations to the recently elected Planning Committee, giving them another opportunity to engage with city leaders and provide feedback on the developments they would like to see which would encourage them to stay in the city after graduation.


Ian Curryer, Nottingham City Council chief executive, also travelled to Karlsruhe and spent time listening to the students’ ideas, as well as meeting with the universities and civic authorities. He said: “This project forms part of the emerging City Centre Strategy which is being developed with key partners and they are focusing on how we can build resilience for the city centre into the 2020s. The event was an opportunity for the students to present their innovative ideas on how to improve the city and was an example of how NTU and indeed the University of Nottingham are important partners in driving forward the ingenuity agenda in the City.”

For NTU, the project was designed to enter into a dialogue with citizens of Nottingham and two of its twin cities on how European “future” cities might work with their universities to support creativity and innovation in solving local and global challenges. 

It also sought to demonstrate the University’s long-term commitment to European mobility and engagement post-Brexit and develop European networks for its staff and life-long friendships for its students. 

Professor Edward Peck, NTU Vice-Chancellor, said: “At times of uncertainty about our relationship with Europe, it is more important than ever to celebrate the benefits that the University - and especially our students - gain from our connections with the rest of the continent.”

Following a meeting with the Mayor of Timisoara, Nicolae Robu, Nottingham and Timisoara also agreed to draft a five-year plan to relaunch and provide strategic direction to the twin city partnership in its 10th anniversary year. NTU U and its partner, West University of Timisoara, will be co-signatories.

  • Notes for editors

    Press enquiries please contact Helen Breese, Media Relations Manager, on telephone +44 (0)115 848 8751, or via email.

    About Nottingham Trent University

    Nottingham Trent University (NTU) was named University of the Year 2019 in the Guardian University Awards. The award was based on performance and improvement in the Guardian University Guide, retention of students from low-participation areas and attainment of BME students. NTU was also the Times Higher Education University of the Year 2017, and The Times and Sunday Times Modern University of the Year 2018. These awards recognise NTU for its high levels of student satisfaction, its quality of teaching, its engagement with employers, and its overall student experience.

    The university has been rated Gold in the Government’s Teaching Excellence Framework – the highest ranking available.

    It is one of the largest UK universities. With nearly 32,000 students and more than 4,000 staff located across four campuses, the University contributes £900m to the UK economy every year. With an international student population of more than 3,000 from around 100 countries, the University prides itself on its global outlook

    The university is passionate about creating opportunities and its extensive outreach programme is designed to enable NTU to be a vehicle for social mobility. NTU is among the UK’s top five recruiters of students from disadvantaged backgrounds. A total of 82% of its graduates go on to graduate entry employment or graduate entry education or training within six months of leaving. Student satisfaction is high: NTU achieved an 88% satisfaction score in the 2018 National Student Survey.

    NTU is also one of the UK’s most environmentally friendly universities, containing some of the sector’s most inspiring and efficient award-winning buildings.

    NTU is home to world-class research, and won The Queen’s Anniversary Prize in 2015 – the highest national honour for a UK university. It recognised the University’s pioneering projects to improve weapons and explosives detection in luggage; enable safer production of powdered infant formula; and combat food fraud.

Students share ideas on Nottingham’s future development following European visits

Published on 19 June 2019
  • Category: Press office

Still need help?

+44 (0)115 941 8418