It has been a great privilege to be Vice-Provost (Enterprise) at UCL and inevitably as I pack my bags to make the long trip from Gordon Street to the Wellcome Trust on Euston Road, I have been reflecting on the last five years. So much has changed and so much has been achieved by UCL.
Tech City and UCL
15 November 2011
Tech City is an extraordinary phenomenon. Hundreds of new digital start-ups emerging in East London creating a dynamic spirit of entrepreneurialism and optimism. It's simply great stuff.
At UCL we have been delighted to be involved - why wouldn't we be? - we are close by. Our Institute of Ophthalmology is next door to Moorfields - right in the heart of this part of town. Our main campus in Gower Street is a ten-minute white knuckle ride on a BorisBike!
But aside from proximity, why should the Tech City community be interested in UCL?
We educate and train hundreds of scientists and engineers every year - people who can and do create new start-ups. We attract the very best people from around the world, which can help provide the talent needed for Tech City to thrive and grow.
We carry out ground breaking research in many relevant areas including engineering, physics, mathematics, computer science, etc. This so-called frontier research, is likely to be vital for the long term sustainability of Tech City.
As part of building those strong links, we have recently announced an unprecedented new Research and Innovation Centre in Future Cities with Imperial College and Cisco, to be based in Tech City. This collaborative research hub will serve as a magnet for high quality research talent and will create new ideas, new technologies and business models - in a market predicted to be worth trillions of dollars. We are going to work together to make sure Tech City grabs a large slice for the UK!
We have made a commitment to support the development of 500 new businesses from the UCL community over the next five years. Many will be tech businesses and I'm sure many will be based in Tech City.
Much is made of comparisons between Tech City and other clusters. We know there are things to be learnt from great places like Silicon Valley, but the Tech City phenomenon is different. So rather than worry too much about comparisons, I'd rather focus attention on helping people in Tech City to get on with it - it's tough enough for spirited first time entrepreneurs who need encouragement and practical help.
So how can we improve the chances for growth and sustainability for Tech City? We can all help - government, universities, large corporations, investors and serial entrepreneurs - working together to remove barriers and provide support. We at UCL provide significant levels of training and support for London's entrepreneurs - see the links below for details. We are also committed to developing new partnerships in order to stimulate jobs, growth and prosperity for the UK.
Training and support for entrepreneurs
Future cities research and innovation centre
UCL Departments and Centres
- Computer Science
- Centre for Spatial Analysis (CASA)
- Slade Centre for Electronic Media in Fine Art
- UCL Centre for Human Computer Interactions
- UCL Centre for Digital Humanities