When it comes to innovation, Oxford is the land of opportunity
Oxfordshire is home to, amongst others, the Harwell Space Cluster, the world’s largest nuclear fusion research facility at Culham, John Radcliffe Hospital, and Oxford Brookes University.
It is also home to countless high-tech, knowledge intensive companies that are at the forefront of areas such as vaccines, regenerative medicine, robotics, autonomous vehicles, treatment of mental health through virtual reality and tackling poverty around the world. These are the corporate leaders of the future.
The region has a rare blend of ideas, talent and expertise which you would be hard-pressed to find nearly anywhere else on the planet. The reason it is concentrated in this part of the country is simple: Oxford University.
Oxford has been generating world-changing research for hundreds of years. Our job at Oxford University Innovation is to support the University community to maximise global, societal and economic impact from that research. This is what gets OUI’s people out of bed in the morning. We are architects of creative solutions, finding the best way for an Oxford idea to create impact that benefits as many people as possible.
In the past few years, we have been able to get more out of Oxford’s ideas than ever before. The University’s partnership with Oxford Sciences Innovation has been the catalyst for the Oxford Boom. As a result, our ecosystem is generating spinouts at a rate that puts us on par with any institution in the world. The spinouts we have already created continue to grow at an incredible rate, fuelled by an ever more diverse spread of investors welcomed into the region, all bidding to back the next Oxford unicorn.
Our support for the humanities and social sciences is expanding with OUI’s social enterprise option, giving our academics the opportunity to build businesses with a social conscience that focus on positively impacting people’s lives. Separately, we’ve made our incubator offer more attractive, and have since been inundated with staff and students looking to accelerate their ideas into fully fledged startups.
We are committed to finding ways for our activities to complement other universities and corporates. We are working with our partners across university innovation – running and planning joint events with Cambridge, MIT and SETsquared – to network and engage with business. We have recently worked with household names such as IBM, Barclays and Vodafone, collaborating with them and others alike to enhance the innovation stemming from the University.
We have all the ingredients to match any innovation ecosystem in the world. By mixing them together, we can create a cluster that maximises the convening power of the city and University, stacked with forward thinking startups and spinouts, with the relevance to attract the full support of government, and which works collaboratively for the benefit of everyone in it.
The potential of doing so not only benefits Oxfordshire, but the entire country. We currently live in a period of uncertainty, yet creating an ecosystem as solid and reliable as the University itself will help the UK keep its competitive and innovative edge, no matter what may lie ahead. Looking ahead further still, OUI is ready to contribute to even bigger ideas. One such ambitious plan aims to marry the Cambridge tech cluster with our own with Milton Keynes in the middle. This would create an innovation arc, combining the innovative output of two of the world’s leading tech clusters with a city ripe for expansion. We believe this has the potential to create societal and economic impact beyond anything we’ve seen to date.
The opportunity is there, and OUI intends to play its part in realising it. Over the next few pages, you will see both how
OUI plans to stimulate further innovation across Oxford, and how it is doing it already.
We look forward to working with you all in the months and years ahead to turn opportunity into reality.