Accessibility navigation

Vice-Chancellor's new Reading Today column


Vice-Chancellor Robert Van de Noort has a monthly column in Reading Today, where he shares University news and updates with the local community. This column was published on Tuesday 5 October.

How the University of Reading is helping to bring one of the world’s fastest-growing industries to the Thames Valley

I feel very fortunate to be Vice-Chancellor of the University of Reading. The reasons for this are many, but the key one is our students. Their optimism and exuberance is palpable and keeps us all feeling young. This week, we have welcomed thousands of new and returning students back to our campuses in Reading and Wokingham boroughs.

After a difficult year for everyone, including the students and my colleagues, we’re hopeful that things will go more smoothly in the new academic year. While we have solid plans in place if the pandemic throws us any more surprises, we all hope it does not.

Here’s another reason – we are helping to bring one of the world’s fastest-growing and most exciting industries to the Thames Valley. This month, we launched Cine Valley, a project that should bring new jobs, opportunities and plenty of glamour to Reading and Wokingham.

The project is, in part, the next phase of planned development for our Thames Valley Science Park in Shinfield. This is already home to innovative businesses and organisations in science, technology, healthcare and heritage such as the Rutherford Cancer Centre and the British Museum.

Cine Valley will include the new Shinfield Studios, a brand-new 18-stage movie studio complex, plans for which are currently being considered by Wokingham Borough Council. Four studios and four workshops have already been granted temporary planning permission and are nearing completion. Other than Shinfield Studios, plans for another TV studio, close to existing buildings, have also been approved.

But this is about more than buildings. Our mission is to continue to change lives by helping our students and local people, and improving our environment for generations to come.

Our vision for Cine Valley is not just building film studios, but a whole new ecosystem for the film and TV industry. It will allow creativity to flourish. We want to create opportunity and jobs for many people who live and study here. And putting environmental sustainability at its heart.

Students in our Department of Film, Theatre and Television should benefit from the work experience and career opportunities of having major productions on their doorstep, but we also want to provide opportunities for people across Wokingham, Reading, and the wider region, in communities that are too often left behind. Cine Valley will provide new jobs, from carpenters to hairdressers and trainee film producers.

Of course, none of this would be possible without the support of many businesses and local organisations. I am very grateful to local people, and their council representatives, across Wokingham and Reading for their enthusiasm and support for this project, while balancing the needs of the whole community. We all look forward to seeing where the journey will take us next.

Robert Van de Noort


Page navigation

Search Form

Main navigation