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Northumbria University – top 10 in Europe for Innovation & Entrepreneurship

30th September 2015

Northumbria University, Newcastle, has been recognised as one of Europe’s best providers of innovation and entrepreneurship teaching.

The accolade came earlier this month when the University was named a finalist at ‘The Innovation & Entrepreneurship Teaching Excellence Awards’, after seeing its Multidisciplinary Innovation (MDI) course among the Top 10 Courses on Innovation. Taught from Gateshead’s Northern Design Centre, the postgraduate Masters programme draws students from a broad range of disciplines and backgrounds. Alongside academics, they work on a mix of commercial and social innovation projects, aimed primarily at developing and delivering solutions to problems faced by external organisations. Recently, for example, the MDI team worked with Northumbrian Water on a public awareness project to reduce the risk of blocked drains and flooding.

The Excellence Awards were part of the 10th European Conference on Innovation and Entrepreneurship, in Genoa, Italy, which took place on the 16-17th September 2015. In total 70 applications from around the world and host of both educational and research institutions were submitted for peer review. MDI was initially selected as the top 40, and through rigorous selection process was then among the 10 invited to present its full case history at the conference.

Mersha Aftab - OriginalMersha Aftab, lecturer in Design Innovation at Northumbria University, represented and led this project for MDI. She said, “Entering these awards has been a perfect opportunity to showcase the value of design-led innovation for business, and Northumbria University’s value in the global innovation learning and teaching market. Being shortlisted as a top 10 finalist was also a huge achievement, particularly as our MDI submission was the only design-led course chosen among a more business-orientated field.”

The award recognised the MDI course’s unique structure, which provides the opportunity to gain experience in innovation practice, and also its capability to bring about positive impact for its students the organisations it collaborates with.

“Being a finalist and rubbing shoulders with the likes of the University of Delft, the University of Twente and the University of Sheffield put a strong message across about the work Northumbria is undertaking with the regional and global partners for Innovation,” added Mersha.

For more information about Northumbria School of Design, visit

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