At Oxford, it feels like we have Big Innovation.
Brendan Ludden, Head of Physical Sciences Licensing and Ventures

Brendan Ludden, Head of Physical Sciences Licensing and Ventures, reflects on his first year at OUI after joining us from industry.


Big Data – which formed the bulk of my old role – is often characterised by the three Vs: volume, velocity and variety. I have no hesitation in saying that at Oxford it feels like we have Big Innovation. The amount, rate, variety and indeed quality of new ideas is quite astonishing, and I had simply not appreciated the breadth and depth of excellence here until I started at OUI.

For innovation to flourish at large corporates, there needs to be support from the top down and a framework
in place to help nurture the culture of innovation and to provide opportunity to those who wish to become involved.

I saw this immediately at Oxford. There is senior level support across the University community, the opportunities for academics with licence deals, spinouts and consultancy is diverse and well supported by OUI, and the presence of Oxford Sciences Innovation has brought the essential funding required to make things happen. I truly believe Oxford is getting it right and we are witnessing something very special here.

I have come to realise that two of the real strengths of Oxford University are academic freedom and the presence of so many word class experts across such a diverse range of subjects.

Consider one of the key issues of our time: artificial intelligence (AI). Not only is our community on the leading edge of research into the technology behind AI, we have a rich understanding of its use in a range of applications from healthcare to autonomous vehicles and we have the ability to understand and address the challenges it raises with morality and ethics.

There are few places in the world where this is possible.

On a final note, I’ve come to appreciate and understand the importance of impact. It’s a very exciting time when the universities are expected to be the driving wheels of the nation both in terms of economic growth and social development. At OUI, we are putting in place support for social enterprise to ensure that research outcomes can be targeted at social good.

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