BLENHEIM Palace and Oxford University have signed a formal agreement to work together on a series of new initiatives.

The Woodstock stately home’s Chief Operating Officer Roger File joined Professor Patrick Grant, Pro-Vice-Chancellor for Research at Oxford University in signing the joint Memorandum of Understanding on Friday.

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.

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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, and the use of robots from the Oxford Robotics Institute.

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Mr File said: “We share complementary interests in a range of fields relating to the Blenheim estate, including heritage, forestry and the environment.”

Prof Grant said: “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.”