Dr Celia Caulcott to step down as Vice-Provost (Enterprise)
22 October 2020
After five years as Vice-Provost (Enterprise) at UCL, Dr Celia Caulcott has decided to retire in order to devote time to Surrey county politics and environmental interventions in the Lake District, as well as to her family and friends.
The university’s natural predisposition to ‘disruptive thinking’, coupled with Celia’s vision to support the full breadth of UCL’s academic disciplines with a comprehensive approach to innovation - ranging through partnership building, commercialisation, consultancy, social enterprise and development of the entrepreneurial mindset – has shifted innovation at UCL from a commercialisation-dominated agenda to a broader, more holistic approach, and has delivered some exceptional results.
Under Celia’s leadership, many more staff and students have been inspired to engage in innovation and enterprise, helping UCL become one of the top three universities in the UK at translating its knowledge and ideas externally.
Celia and her team have developed UCL’s ability to build institutional level relationships with innovative external partners. Significant collaborations are as varied as Camden Council, the English National Ballet, Heathrow, Inner Temple, Innovate UK and the East London Innovation Zone (ELIEZ), the National Physical Laboratory and Servier.
The student experience has also mattered, and student entrepreneurship is flourishing. At BaseKX, and now of course remotely, our students are able to boost their entrepreneurial mindset and employability skills, create new enterprises and forge business links. Last year UCL’s student startup companies attracted more external investment than ever before (£60m in 2018/19), and together UCL’s spinout and startup companies collectively employed almost 3,000 people.
In commercialisation, UCL has had four gene therapy spinout companies that have IPOed (listed via an initial public offering) in under four years, and last year, for the very first time, UCL spinouts attracted more external investment than those of any other UK university (£579m in 2018/19). This is a real validation of the quality of UCL technologies and research, as well as our expertise in creating and growing companies.
The relationship with UCLB, UCL’s commercialisation company, has evolved and become more strategic, seeing the broadening of its offer to include non-patent commercialisation support (Portico Ventures) and social enterprise.
And it is through UCL Consultants’ capacity to build bespoke short courses that UCL is now seen as a key provider of expert consultancy for UK government and other organisations.
Celia believes that every area at UCL has the potential to make a difference for good through entrepreneurial endeavours. By embedding innovation and enterprise across UCL and bringing together the key pathways of innovation under UCL Innovation & Enterprise, she has made it easier for staff and students from across UCL to engage.
Dr Kathryn Walsh will take on the role of Executive Director, Office of the Vice-Provost (Innovation & Enterprise) with effect from 1 February 2021, when Celia leaves at the end of January. In this role she will be reporting to the Provost, and a full member of SMT and the leadership of UCL. Dr Michael Spence has approved the proposal for Kathryn’s appointment on an interim basis, pending a permanent recruitment process to be instituted in due course.
UCL President and Provost, Michael Arthur, said:
"I am very grateful to Celia for her significant contribution to UCL. Her leadership of UCL Innovation & Enterprise, and the culture change she has driven across the university, has been transformative for UCL in this critical area. I thank her for this, and wish her a very happy and productive future.
Kathryn’s current role as Director of Knowledge Exchange Policy and Practice at UCL Innovation & Enterprise, which she has held since November 2018, and her previous experience as Director of the Enterprise Office at Loughborough University, will be invaluable in leading forward this important area of UCL activity.