IT and consulting services company IBM are working in a strategic partnership with the University of Exeter to help solve the world’s greatest challenges.

The partnership began when Jeremy Budd, IBM Vice President for the UK and Ireland and an Exeter alumnus, was contacted by a student working to raise money for the University.

One of the first initiatives IBM supported was the Centre for Business and Climate Solutions (CBCS), which supports South West businesses in working more sustainably. IBM provides skills, software and expertise and Jeremy sits on the steering board. The CBCS sits in IBM’s Smarter Cities, Smarter Planet focus and provides IBM with access to the University’s expertise.

In addition to CBCS, the University is partnering with IBM on a number of research projects.

The development of the next generation of data storage models is being investigated by the €3.9million CareRAMM project, which IBM and the University are partners in. The project offers exciting technical capabilities for data storage and compelling environmental benefits over current storage models.

Improving water efficiency through novel IT is the aim of the iWIDGET project. Prof Dragan Savic of the Centre for Water Systems is leading on coordinating and developing a strategy for the project, while IBM will be working on a decision support system for daily operational purposes.

The Research Showcase, held in February 2013, enabled leading researchers from both Exeter and IBM to share their expertise to identify areas where closer collaboration would benefit their research activities.  From this event, the teams have selected smart grids, water systems and climate change and management as the priorities for closer collaboration and joint research.

Jeremy also provided a key note speech at the Association of Graduate Careers Advisory Service (AGCAS) biennial conference held at The Forum which highlighted the increasing number of internships and summer placements that Exeter students were successfully completing at IBM.

The above collaborations and more have led to a strong working relationship and the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding in July 2013. IBM and the University have now identified mutually beneficial areas of interest in recruitment and research and are working to achieve new goals.

IBM get the benefit of tapping into the cutting edge research of a Russell Group University and a chance to help us develop their future employees and IBM can help to introduce our academics to a constantly changing organisation with one of the best brands in the world.