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Students tackle city deal challenges

The students and stakeholders at Abertay's Innovation for Global Growth event on the Tay Cities Deal.
The students and stakeholders at Abertay's Innovation for Global Growth event on the Tay Cities Deal.

Business management and marketing students put their heads together in Dundee at a special event to work out how the Tay Cities Deal can be delivered to maximum effect.

The gathering at Abertay University was special because the fourth year undergraduates were working with key stakeholders in the ambitious project aimed at transforming the economy of the Tay valley.

Representatives from the UK Government, the Scottish Government, the Tay Valley Partnership and professional services group Ernst and Young gave the occasion extra significance by outlining the actual challenges presented  by the project and tasking the students to come up with solutions.

The plan sees Dundee, Perth and Kinross, Angus and Fife councils working together to bid for £400 million from the UK Government to improve infrastructure.

More funds could come from the Scottish Government, for a venture that, in the words of Dundee city development director Mike Galloway, could produce benefits ten times greater than those from the £1 billion waterfront regeneration.

The event was the latest in Abertay Business School’s Innovation for Global Growth (IGG) programme where students work with industry leaders to formulate solutions to real industry problems.

The undergraduates participating in the Tay Cities event were from Abertay and Fife College.

Charlie Malone, IGG programme project leader, said: “This is the biggest session we have held so far in this programme which is unique in higher education in the United Kingdom.

“In previous events in the series the students produced solutions to challenges which are being implemented by the companies. This has happened with BT, so it will be interesting to see what transpires from this event.”

Stephen Frew of Scottish Enterprise, said: “It is a good opportunity to engage with the brightest young minds in the area and hopefully come up with solutions to the challenges that the Cities Deal presents.”

David McIntosh of Ernst and Young said: “I hope this occasion will raise awareness of the scope and potential of the Tay Cities Deal project which can be transformational for a region.”

Cabinet Secretary for Economy Keith Brown said: “Cities and their regions play a crucial role driving economic growth which is why the Scottish Government is working individually and collectively with Scotland’s cities, regions and people to boost this growth.

“This includes working in partnership to develop thriving, resilient and innovative cities and regions which are great places to live, work, grow and invest.

We have a diverse range of young people with different life experiences – including those from urban and rural settings, that’s why it’s important that we hear views from young people at events like this, as we need their help to unleash Scotland’s economic potential.“

Neil MacLennan, head of Home Affairs at the Scotland Office said: “On his regular visits to Dundee, Lord Dunlop, the Scotland Office Minister, has been talking with a range of people across all sectors about the potential for a Tay Cities Deal and the sort of things that such a Deal might include.

“This was an opportunity for me to talk with the students at Abertay, to hear their ideas about the sort of things that are important to them and that could support economic growth in the area.”

The Tay City Deals bid is due to be lodged by April 2017.

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