> The University of Bristol

Is one of Bristol’s largest employers: with more than 7,400 staff and 5,000 postgraduate researchers supporting around 28,000 undergraduate and postgraduate students.

The University of Bristol contributes c.a. £1Bn a year to the city-region economy. In its Vision and Strategy, it committed to ‘work with regional industry, universities and local government to develop research and innovation themes…to drive world-leading innovation, economic growth and job creation’. In 2019, the University formally pledged to align its priorities with those of regional and city partners as part of a national Civic University initiative aimed at strengthening the impact on the places made by universities across the UK.

At the heart of Bristol’s innovation and entrepreneurship ecosystem

The University is at the core of the key activities, developing an integrated entrepreneurship ecosystem, driving new programmes in student innovation, spinning out new technology-based companies, developing a ‘landmark’ new enterprise campus, and supporting incubation services.

A new initiative, Bristol Catalyst, is being driven by the University to integrate and coordinate existing University entrepreneurship activities and to bring them into a single, easy-to-navigate pathway for students and staff, providing timely and appropriate advice and support at all points on their entrepreneurial journey. This will be coordinated with external service providers, supported by alumni, and will put Bristol on the map for realising the value of the ideas of our staff and students.

Undergraduate students can undertake an integrated four-year master’s degree studying a core discipline, such as anthropology or physics, plus innovation in our Centre for Innovation and Entrepreneurship. During the programme, they work on a variety of practical problems presented by local organisations, as well as their own business ideas.

Students can also enter the New Enterprise Competition and apply for support from our Student Enterprise Team. They are able to attend events to develop their enterprise skills and turn their business ideas into valuable business models. Postgraduate students and early career researchers can explore potential markets for their products with support from the renowned ICURe (Innovation to Commercialisation of University Research) programme, and new businesses can apply to enter our world-leading incubator, SETsquared Bristol. The University is also a shareholder in Unit DX and Unit DY, incubators providing critical laboratory space and support for science companies in the city.

For intellectual property developed from staff research, the Research and Enterprise Division Research Commercialisation team finds appropriate commercialisation pathways such as licensing to existing or spin-out companies. The team also supports spin-out companies as they build their capabilities and find investment, encouraging them to apply for funding from the University of Bristol Enterprise Fund (managed by Parkwalk Advisors) which co-invests with angel and institutional investors. The University has also recently invested in the new Science Creates Ventures Fund which is focussing on Bristol’s deep tech companies.
The University is developing a new state-of-the-art campus in the heart of the city. Temple Quarter Enterprise Campus – anticipated to open in 2025 – will be at the forefront of digital and business research, education, skills and innovation, building on Bristol’s reputation as a leading digital tech cluster. The Campus – located close to Temple Meads train station – will bring together world-leading researchers, educators and innovators from science, engineering, social sciences and enterprise to explore the benefits and challenges of digital technologies on humans, communities and the wider society. Students, academics, researchers, businesses and local communities will work together to tackle global challenges – from driverless cars to AI and big data, our ageing population to the future of industry.

The campus will also be home to the Bristol Digital Futures Institute, which will transform the way we understand, create and use digital technology, as well as the world’s first open-access Quantum Technologies Innovation Centre, building on our world-leading research in disruptive quantum technologies, providing specialist facilities and expertise for businesses.

Enriching the region’s innovation culture
The University has a close partnership with Bristol City Council (BCC), West of England Combined Authority (WECA) and other local stakeholders. It has helped to identify high-value opportunities and the supporting infrastructure needed to underpin strong local innovation-led growth. This collaboration has benefited not just the city of Bristol, but also the emerging Western Gateway Powerhouse and the wider South West of the UK.

The University is part of the GW4 Alliance which brings together the research capabilities and infrastructure of the four most research-intensive and innovative universities in the UK: Bristol, Bath, Cardiff and Exeter. The Alliance identifies areas of complementary expertise across our universities to develop research communities at scale which address major global and industrial challenges. It is also part of the SETsquared Partnership of universities – Bristol, Bath, Exeter, Southampton and Surrey – which aims to turn innovation into thriving businesses and drive economic growth within our regions and across the UK.

Looking ahead: powering Bristol’s post-COVID recovery
Over the coming weeks and months, the University will have a central role to play in supporting the city’s recovery post-COVID.qa

As a stakeholder in Bristol’s One City Plan, this means working closely with other regional organisations and local stakeholders to help support diverse, inclusive and more equitable communities.

It also means redoubling efforts to promote innovation, jobs and enterprise and building on the track record of initiatives, which have helped bring researchers, scientists, engineers, creatives, entrepreneurs and investors together, harnessing the city’s diversity, stimulating more enterprise activity and supporting new business creation, incubation and scale-up.

With the University’s excellence in research, commitment to impact, and active and growing innovation programmes, the Bristol innovation ecosystem will continue to flourish, putting our city on the innovation map for the generations to come.

University of Bristol

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