Blenheim and the University of Oxford have officially signed a formal agreement to work together on a series of new initiatives during a ceremony at Blenheim Palace.
Blenheim Palace Chief Operating Officer Roger File joined Professor Patrick Grant, Pro-Vice-Chancellor for Research at Oxford University in signing the joint Memorandum of Understanding.
The aim of the new agreement is for both organisations to work together for their mutual benefit in the field of increasing their knowledge and understanding of the world through the Blenheim Estate.
As well as an exchange of staff, students and materials between the two organisations they will also explore joint opportunities for collaboration on research programmes.
The University and Blenheim are already working together on several projects on the Estate including an archaeological dig for the potential site of a villa near to the famous Roman Road and the use of robots from the Oxford Robotics Institute.
‘This formalised agreement will allow us to further strengthen our long relationship with the University for the benefit of students and researchers,’ said Blenheim’s Roger File.
‘We share complementary interests in a range of fields relating to the Blenheim estate, including heritage, forestry and the environment, sustainability, and the Local Agenda and this will enable us to work more closely with each other,’ he added.
As part of the official Memorandum of Understanding between Blenheim and the University they will also explore opportunities to secure joint funding for research and development.
Professor Patrick Grant, Pro-Vice-Chancellor for Research at Oxford University, said: ‘This agreement opens up a whole host of potential areas of collaboration between Oxford University and Blenheim, building on our existing and longstanding relationship.
‘In recent years we’ve seen scientists from the Oxford Robotics Institute run trials of autonomous vehicles on the Blenheim estate, and a team of Oxford archaeologists digging for potential Roman-era remains.
‘I’m looking forward to seeing more of these exciting collaborations develop in the future,’ he added.
Home to the Dukes of Marlborough since 1704 and the birthplace of Winston Churchill, Blenheim is also a UNESCO World Heritage Site with a rich history dating back to prehistoric times.
The 2,000-acre Estate has been occupied for nearly 5,000 years and is covered with Bronze Age barrows, Iron Age settlements, hillforts, Roman buildings and the old Akeman Street Roman road.
It is also the site of Woodstock Palace, a royal residence which was the birthplace of the Black Prince and a prison for Queen Elizabeth I.
It was visited by 16 British monarchs over its 700 year history with everyone from Ethelred the Unready to Henry VIII having spent time there prior to its demolition in the 18th century.