Oxford University showcases world-class labs and facilities

Image from Oxford University showcases world-class labs and facilities News Article

23rd May 2023

OUI, Bioescalator and the Oxford Trust team up to showcase the University's facilities to the Oxford ecosystem.

Access to university facilities can be a big win-win for both an academic institution and its surrounding ecosystem. The facilities and laboratories can offer highly specialised equipment to local startups who often need help accessing facilities to further their research and development, while university departments benefit from increased collaboration, innovation, and the potential for economic impact through successful startups.

Looking to showcase the potential of partnerships between facilities and startups, Oxford University Innovation partnered with the BioEscalator, Oxford University’s biotech incubator, to showcase  the world-class specialist facilities and technical experts housed at the University of Oxford at their first joint event. The University of Oxford Laboratory Services Showcase aimed to highlight the exceptional resources available at the University for a wide range of projects in life sciences, including analysis, testing, precision fabrication, and the utilisation of high-end scientific equipment.

During the event, attendees had the opportunity to explore a wide range of attending facilities through short, rapid-fire talks from the facilities, each offering specialised expertise and cutting-edge technology. Attendees then networked with Oxford experts to gain further insight into the diverse range of services and equipment, and potentially begin a partnership. Oxford University Innovation (OUI) played a key role during the event by identifying the most suitable facilities and equipment to profile, while also facilitating connections for external companies.

“We hope this will be the first of many Facilities Showcases,” said Jaci Barnett, Head of Consulting Services at OUI. “Despite the world-class nature of our labs and facilities the University’s organisation means our many facilities are scattered and hard to access. What we’re doing here is a matter of pulling it together and showcasing what we can offer as a University, particularly to industry partners.”

The BioEscalator, Oxford University’s biotech incubator, served as the perfect venue for the showcase. Set in the University’s medical sciences hub at the Old Road Campus and with many of its tenants spinouts of Oxford University themselves, the BioEscalator is situated right at the heart of Oxford’s life sciences activity.

“Our tenants at the BioEscalator have a need for the high-tech equipment and expertise that the University can provide but don’t necessarily realise its available on the doorstep,” said Claire Shingler, Business Manager at the BioEscalator. “I spoke to one of our tenants after the event who said, ‘we now know there’s about six different people that we need to speak to’ – the amount of expertise in the University came as a big surprise. These events are a great way to showcase what’s on offer and create value for everyone.”

The laboratory services showcase was generously sponsored by The Oxford Trust, demonstrating their commitment to supporting scientific advancements and facilitating connections between academia and industry.

“At the Oxford Trust, we’re quite often asked ‘where do I get X facility or Y facility’ and we’ve really sort of been sort of stabbing in the dark half the time,” said Steve Burgess, CEO at the Oxford Trust. “So we’re getting everybody together to understand what facilities the University has, and that they are a fantastic opportunity that will only benefit the companies that are in our innovation centres and around Oxford.”

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