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Canary Wharf meets Copenhagen

3 April 2017

Professor Hugh Brady, Vice-Chancellor and President of the University of Bristol unveils plans for a new campus in the heart of the city’s new Temple Quarter Enterprise Zone.

Twenty years ago, nobody could have imagined that over two billion people today would be carrying around a small, yet powerful computer that can connect you with almost anyone, anywhere. That life would be dominated by apps, social media and big data.

The world is well and truly in the midst of a digital revolution. With new horizons and opportunities, we’ve been given a once-in-a generation chance to re-imagine the future of our University. One where technology, policies, practices, business models, and businesses fit for our digitalised society, come together.

Bristol is at the beginning of a new era. With our partners, we’ve been working on an ambitious plan for a new campus at the heart of the city’s Temple Quarter Enterprise Zone. It will be completely porous with the city, serving the social, economic and talent needs of the region, which will position both the University and the city for continued success on the world stage.

Our plans include a major new initiative in business education, pioneering a new suite of degree programmes at the interface of disciplines such as mathematics and computer science. Positioned hand-in-glove with this initiative will be our Digital Innovation Hub – an ambitious research and innovation platform – co-created with industry. It will marry the strengths of the local economy with our own academic strengths in new and imaginative ways.

We know this approach works. Our vision is built upon our established strengths such as the Engine Shed. The enterprise hub contributed £7 million to the economy in its first year, and has supported 72 companies through the Bristol SETsquared Centre, raising £76 million and creating 410 jobs. It was a hugely successful collaboration between the University and the City. Our new Digital Innovation Hub will do this and more, providing a thriving digital economy with the pipeline of talent, ideas and technologies that it will need.

Bristol is one of the most beautiful, liveable and vibrant cities in Europe, and as a university we have a unique relationship with our city. We share dreams to secure the international recognition we deserve and, more importantly, we share the desire to serve all communities, ensuring that Bristol students are the most talented and able regardless of their background.

Our Temple Quarter Enterprise Campus (a working title) will be will be a beacon for collaboration, evolution, and opportunity. It will be the place where the most exciting, revolutionary ideas will spring from. It’s where the future will be written, with Bristol, the city and the University, at the forefront of discovery for the next one hundred years.

Marvin Rees, Mayor of Bristol

When visitors come to Bristol they will no longer be greeted with a derelict building, but by a flourishing and inclusive home for digital excellence, innovation, education and industry – the University of Bristol’s new campus. The old is making way for the new.

Over the past few years, I’ve seen Bristol racking up the awards as one of the happiest, most creative, coolest, kindest, and most inspiring places to live. This is true, but it is not the whole truth. Like all cities, we have our challenges. The city’s success does not reach everyone living here and there is a long-standing inequality that needs resolving. But, we are willing to face these challenges head-on, meaning there is hope for the city.

People recognise a culture in Bristol – a drive to ask questions and push boundaries, one that doesn’t accept the status quo. This culture, alongside Bristol’s supply of world-class talent and its globally connected population, make it the perfect place for innovation and forward thinking.

The future of UK industry relies on the ability of cities to lead in the digital and technological sectors, and we have become one of the world’s leading digital cities. In 2014 The Guardian named Bristol as the UK’s smartest city, and in part this is down to our partnership with the University. Some of the most exciting programmes are happening here; from the trialling of driverless cars, to SPHERE – the healthcare sensor platform that will bring care into the home, to Bristol is Open, which will see Bristol become the first programmable city.

The Temple Quarter Enterprise Zone will play an important part in growing Bristol by being open and inclusive so that everyone can be part of Bristol’s prosperity and vision. Diversity and education are essential for the future of Bristol and meeting our challenges. Our success will be determined by our ability to bring people together in new ways, connecting local people, businesses, academics and students both to each other and to a vast range of opportunities, now and in the future.

Fully developed, the Enterprise Zone has the potential to add a further £100 million a year to the city’s economy, and will attract even more investment as people and industry begin to set their sights on Bristol. Working side-by-side with the University, our untapped potential is being realised, and I’ve no doubt that together, as a whole, united, Bristol will be a more inclusive city benefitting all who live, work and visit in the years to come.