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The Innovative University - 1990s and on

A growing University

The University of Warwick entered the 1990s with an enthusiastic stride. The total number of students at the University numbered over 9,000, with 656 students from overseas. Despite the financial hardships of the previous decades the University had grown into a fully developed and well-respected institution of international standing. New courses were instituted and research areas expanded using private funding.

The entrepreneurial spirit of Warwick did not go unnoticed and in 1990 the University was awarded the prestigious ‘Carl Bertelsmann Prize’ for its ‘Outstanding innovatory ideas and initiatives’. The then Vice-Chancellor, Clark Brundin, received the award for the subject category ‘Evolution within higher education’.

It was not just the insitution that receieved recognition. A number of University members were formerly recognised for their work. In 1993 the Vice-Chancellor Sir Brian Follett was awarded the Frink Medal by the Council of the Zoological Society of London in recognition of his contribution to the understanding of photoperiodism. Also during this year the Wolfson Prize for History (UK’s most prestigious history prize) was awarded to Professor Lord Robert Skidelsky. In 1997 Professor Kumar Bhattacharyya was awarded the CBE for services to industry and technology.

The University's 4 Vice-Chancellors
The University's 4 Vice-Chancellors

In 1991 the University celebrated it 25th Anniversary and to mark the event the University held a special Open Day. Long-serving staff were invited to take part in the celebrations, which included campus-wide entertainment. The Modern Records Centre (MRC) celebrated its 25th Anniversary in the academic year 1998-9. One of the significant achievements of the MRC was the establishment of an international resource for the study of British industrial relations. The University of Warwick Music Centre also celebrated its 25th Anniversary in 1994, building upon a remarkable record of high quality music-making in the West Midlands, UK and abroad. In 1997 the Warwick Graduate Association celebrated its 10th Anniversary.

A new Vice-Chancellor

In 1992 Sir Brian Follett succeeded Clark Brundin as the University’s Vice-Chancellor. During Dr Clark Brundin’s reign as Vice-Chancellor the population of both undergraduate and postgraduate students had greatly increased and Warwick had firmly established itself in the top tier of UK research universities. Sir Brian Follett helped forge the continued success of the University. His period as Vice-Chancellor saw repeated success in for the University in the Research Assessment Exercises of 1996 and 2001. Sir Brian also presided over an ambitious building programme that resulted in over £100m of new capital projects during his leadership. In 1999 Sir Brian Follett, announced the creation of the Leicester-Warwick Medical School. The idea of having a medical school was first discussed in the 1960s and planning permission had initially been sought in the early 1970s, though the Government of the day had denied the need for additional medical training centres.

Sir Brian was succeeded by Professor David VandeLinde in 2000.

In 1996 the University improved its Research Assessment Exercise (RAE) position on the previous 1992 assessment. The departments of History, Computer Science and Mathematics were awarded the highest rating of 5*. The 2001 RAE once again confirmed the University’s standing as one of the country's leading research universities when the University achieved six top-rated 5* departments, Applied Mathematics, Statistics, Economics, Business Studies, English, Theatre Studies and nineteen 5 rated departments and one rated at 4.

A Presidential visit

The visit of President Clinton and Prime Minister Blair
The visit of President Clinton and
Prime Minister Blair

December 2000 saw the University hosting a visit from the US President Bill Clinton, First Lady Senator Elect Hilary Clinton and their daughter Chelsea Clinton. The Prime Minister Tony Blair, along with his wife Cherie Blair, was also in attendance. Warwick was chosen as the venue for Bill Clinton to make his last policy statement of his presidency. During 2000 Tony Blair stated that “Warwick is a beacon among British universities for its dynamism, quality and entrepreneurial zeal.” Blair already had forged links with the University and had previously visited Warwick to see the University’s Warwick Manufacturing Group when he was leader of the opposition back in 1997.

In 2002 the National Academy for Gifted and Talented Youth (NAGTY) was launched at the University. Established by the Government to improve education for gifted and talented children and young people up to the age of 19 years, NAGTY aims to ensure that regardless of background, all gifted and talented children and young people, have the opportunity and support they need to help them realise their potential.

Innovative development

The new art installation in the Maths and Stats Building
Art on Campus

Throughout the 1990s the built campus continued to develop. In 1991 the University had its official opening of the £1 million Sovereign Court Science Park development. Between 1993 and 2000 over £100m of new buildings were erected notably the construction of the Arthur Vick, Claycroft and Lakeside Residences. The new Modern Records Centre was formally opened in 1993 and the International Manufacturing Centre (1994 and extended in 2002), the Ramphal Building (1996). The new Medical School Building and associated Biomedical Research facilities generously funded by the Wolfson Trust and through a successful appeal (2001).

Other developments include the first two phases of a new building for the Warwick Business School (1999 and 2001), new buildings for Computer Science (2000) and Maths and Statistics (2003), a biomedical research building (2003). In 2004 Heronbank, a new 700 student residence, was completed which brings the number of on-campus accommodation up to 6,000.

In August 2003 the University acquired a new building, formerly owned by National Grid, known as University House. Central administration and student support services were relocated into University House and students benefited with the opening of The Learning Grid during August 2004. The Learning Grid is a unique open learning space for all students to use at any time, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Students have access to a range of multi-media to help enhance and support the way they study.

In terms of the future, the University has a planned £20m building programme which focuses on the refurbishment of existing facilities with extensive work earmarked for Social Studies, Engineering and Biological Sciences.