UK (University of Bristol) University of Bristol and Science Creates formalise unique partnership

The University of Bristol and Science Creates have signed an enablement agreement to formalise their partnership which aims to drive the deep tech community in Bristol and the South West forwards.

Deep tech refers to startup companies set up to provide technological solutions to substantial scientific or engineering challenges.

Science Creates is a Bristol-based deep tech ecosystem, supported and backed by successful entrepreneurs, that help scientists and engineers accelerate their ideas and build businesses from scientific discoveries.

In partnership with the University of Bristol, it aims to establish the city as a global centre for deep tech by combining world-leading research with specialist incubator facilities, a network of strategic partners, and a dedicated venture capital fund.

Since opening the first incubator in St Philips in 2017, and then the second in Old Market in 2021, 33 of the 82 member companies in Science Creates’ ecosystem – past and present – have been University of Bristol affiliated. The member companies are currently supporting more than 370 jobs, regionally and nationally.

The ventures arm of Science Creates has also been supporting University of Bristol spin-outs with direct investment and active mentorship, with around half of the current portfolio of companies leveraging intellectual property that was developed at the University.

As part of the enablement agreement a steering committee with representatives from the University and Science Creates has been set up to help build national recognition of Bristol’s unique strengths and to help researchers and companies access funding, investment and network support.

Science Creates and the University of Bristol have already shared many successes. The University’s involvement in the joint Research England grant was pivotal to the funding of the 30,000 square feet Science Creates Old Market incubator which opened in November 2021 and is already full, demonstrating the demand for this facility in Bristol.

Science Creates Ventures recently announced the investment into Scarlet Therapeutics, a University of Bristol spin-out company engineering red blood cells to use as therapeutics.

The Ventures team and the University of Bristol worked closely together for over 18 months to secure a complicated licensing deal from multiple funding bodies and establishing a team to allow this research to get out of the lab and to progress its ground-breaking platform into therapies for patients.

The University of Bristol excelled in the latest Research Excellence Framework [REF] 2021, coming first for chemistry and fifth for research overall. The REF is an important measurement of a university’s research strength, and in how it realises impact from that research. Collaborations like this one with Science Creates really help to drive that impact forward.

Dr Jon Hunt, Executive Director – Research and Enterprise at the University of Bristol, said: “We are delighted to have formalised our relationship with Science Creates, to further encourage our researchers and students to start new companies in deep tech, and to be able to stay local, to get access to space, support, and investment – the essential ingredients for success.”

Dr Harry Destecroix, the driving force behind Science Creates, added: “It’s fantastic to see the deep tech community in Bristol go from strength to strength. This is a fantastic step on our journey to be a globally recognised deep tech cluster.”

Professor Michele Barbour, APVC Enterprise and Innovation at the University, added: “Getting our research out into the wider world is key to realising the University’s strategic ambitions – we want our research and our researchers to fulfil their ambitions and their potential for impact.

“Science Creates does fantastic work to support nascent ventures, with its facilities, investment fund and extensive support networks. It makes sense for us to work closely together as many of our ambitions are aligned, and we can each support one another to achieve those ambitions.

“Harry and his team have created something really special at Science Creates and I am delighted that so many of our spin-outs are finding their homes there, and we are keeping those amazing innovations and innovators in the city of Bristol.”