The university's new ‘design-led innovation centre’ will be teaming up with Unilever with the aim of helping the consumer goods multinational keep on top of the latest design innovations.
The two organisations have stated that the partnership will focus particularly on establishing new ways of meeting Unilever’s packaging, water-use and energy sustainability targets.
Tapping into talent
Unilever, which owns such brands as Dove, Simple and Axe (Lynx in the UK), sees the move as hugely beneficial, allowing the company to tap into some of the latest academic research and developments in the arena of innovation.
Paul Howells, Unilever’s Vice President R&D for Packaging, said: “For a business like Unilever, tapping into the latest academic thinking and research is clearly invaluable.”
The two bodies have been working together in a less formal collaboration for last 10 years, with the official partnership tying in with the opening of the university’s new INNOVATE research centre.
“The university already has extremely strong design, technology and business capabilities – bringing this together under one roof, as INNOVATE has done, makes for a very attractive proposition,” Howells concluded.
“Our ambition is to double the size of our business, whilst reducing our overall environmental footprint (including sourcing, consumer use and disposal) and increasing our positive social impact,” Unilever has stated of its 2020 targets, and the new partnership will focus on working towards this.
“It is an incredibly exciting opportunity to help Unilever hit its sustainability targets and make a genuine difference on a global scale, for our pioneering research to have positive impact,” Lucy Winskell OBE, Pro Vice-Chancellor (Business & Engagement) at Northumbria University confirmed.
Winskell said: “We have a strong track record of collaboration with Unilever and we are delighted to be strengthening the relationship.”