TechCity is the name that has been given to the region around Old Street and Shoreditch in East London that has seen the rapid development of a cluster of technology, digital and media start ups over recent years. UCL's main campus is less than two miles from Old Street and is well connected via a direct tube link from Euston and regular bus services. In addition, UCL's Institute of Ophthalmology is located at Old Street roundabout and Moorfields Hospital is part of UCL Partners.
UCL has a number of activities that relate to the area and the start up activities that become common there. These include support for start up businesses and high-growth potential small businesses through UCL Advances as well as research into areas ranging from the evolution of the local urban environment, through CASA to many of the technologies used by the companies based there, and many other activities. In addition, a number of UCL alumni have founded companies now based in TechCity that we have supported though our student ventures programme and our MSc Technology Entrepreneurship course.
A number of new activities are being planned under the banner of UCL@TechCity that will develop several of these areas further, bringing new research, teaching, training and business support schemes together to support the ongoing growth of TechCity and our understanding of what is taking place there. These plans include UCL's responses to announcements about UCL's support for TechCity made by the Prime Minister and the Chancellor if the Exchequer in 2011.
UCL has developed strong relationships with a number of companies and other organisations that have interests in the area, including Digital Shoreditch, Cisco, Intel, Google and the Greater London Authority.
In 2013 Prime Minister David Cameron officially opened IDEALondon – an
initiative between Cisco, DC Thomson and UCL. IDEALondon is an innovation centre based in the heart of London's Tech City which aims to nurture and grow both new and existing early-stage start-ups in the area.
IDEALondon will host the UCL DECIDE project, in collaboration with UCL, DC Thomson and the BBC in what is intended to be the world’s largest ‘living lab’ for digital and media projects. It will see the university utilise its staff and student body of 30,000 as a closed community for testing and evaluating digital products in pre-commercial development.
MP John Bercow visited IDEALondon as part of the UK government's Digital Democracy visit. The Digital Democracy Commission will explore the implications of the technological revolution for parliament and democracy.