SEAHA was designed to respond to a real need for training of interdisciplinary scientists and engineers. The training programme has been co-developed with a number of Partner institutions coming from the industrial, heritage, scientific, engineering and higher education sectors. Many Partner representatives are involved in SEAHA bodies such as the Steering Committee and the Advisory Board, which is to ensure that the CDT delivers the science and engineering that will make a real contribution to heritage organisations and industry.
However, the three core SEAHA universities are University College London, University of Oxford and University of Brighton.
University College London (UCL), the original University of London, first opened its doors to students in 1826. It was the third university to be founded in England after Oxford and Cambridge and was the first to admit students of any race, class or religion, and the first to welcome women on equal terms with men. In the Higher Education Funding Council of England (HEFCE) research rating exercises, and in international league tables, UCL as a whole is frequently ranked among the top UK and global universities. UCL has the best academic to student ratio in the UK (1:10), enabling small class sizes and outstanding individual support. It is one of the top UK universities for number of professors, which means that our students are taught by the most highly qualified experts in their field. Its central compact campus is a short walk from London’s West End with its unrivalled choice of social, cultural, academic and professional resources, including the British Museum, British Library, and many other heritage institutions.
As the oldest university in the English-speaking world, Oxford is a unique and historic institution. During the 20th and early 21st centuries, Oxford added to its humanistic core a major new research capacity in the natural and applied sciences, including medicine. In so doing, it has enhanced and strengthened its traditional role as an international focus for learning and a forum for intellectual debate. Oxford has more world-leading academics (rated 4* in the 2008 national Research Assessment Exercise) than any other UK university. Oxford consistently has the highest research income from external sponsors of any UK university. The teaching and research facilities offered by the University of Oxford are world class, and include the Bodleian Libraries (which form the largest university library system in the UK), and the Ashmolean Museum, established in 1683 (which is the oldest museum in the UK and one of the oldest in the world). The collegiate system is at the heart of the University’s success, giving students and academics the benefits of belonging to both a large, internationally renowned institution and to a small, interdisciplinary academic community. Colleges bring together leading academics and students across subjects and year groups, and from different cultures and countries.
The University of Brighton traces its roots back 150 years to the foundation of the Brighton College of Art in 1858, which began in rooms within the Brighton Royal Pavilion. Since University status was granted it has grown to over 21000 students and 2500 staff and established a growing reputation in research. Described as one of the “rising stars” in the UK in the last Research Assessment Exercise, the university’s research continues to impact on people’s lives, economically, socially and environmentally. The University now operates over 5 campuses in Brighton, Eastbourne and Hastings, with SEAHA students expected to be concentrated on Brighton campuses. The Cultural Informatics Research Group has a 10-year history of leading large funded projects and has collaborated with cultural institutions from the Temples of Abu Simbel to the Victoria and Albert Museum. SEAHA complements research in two recently approved AHRC Doctoral Training Partnerships. Sussex is home to a wide range of museums and archaeological sites. The City of Brighton and Hove was ranked the ‘UK’s happiest place to live’ in a recent survey, with the 2nd best public transport system in the UK. Brighton has a truly diverse cultural scene. From pre-West End theatre premieres to experimental fringe productions, and classical concerts to comedy festivals and peaking every May with the Brighton Festival, England’s biggest arts festival, and the Brighton Fringe, an eclectic mix of comedians, speakers, dancers and street theatre. Commercially, Brighton is a melting pot connecting the arts, humanities and design with digital technologies. The “Wired Sussex” industry association numbers over 2000 member companies and several of these are SEAHA collaborators. The University of Brighton has been a leading partner in recent research into the dynamics of the local economy and the conditions that lead to its substantially above average economic success.