Temple Quarter Enterprise Campus: looking ahead

Visualisation of the view from Totterdown Basin (Feilden Clegg Bradley Studios)

With the academic year already in full swing, I wanted to provide an update on the latest developments for the Temple Quarter Enterprise Campus. We were delighted to secure full planning permission for the student accommodation, following a series of public consultations earlier in the year. This decision represents an important stage in the evolution of our plans to develop a world-leading innovation campus in the heart of the city of Bristol.

The planning application for the detailed designs of the academic buildings is due to be submitted in November and we expect the next phase of site preparation work to start soon. We have released the invitation to tender for the main construction contract, all on track for a target date for campus opening in September 2023.

In the meantime, we are continuing to work closely with our partners to develop a range of activities intended for the Temple Quarter Enterprise Campus. Most recently, we received a £20-million funding boost from the West of England Combined Authority to extend the scope of our Quantum Technology Innovation Centre to be piloted at 1 Cathedral Square.

It is heartening to see the impressive levels of support we have seen from funders and partners for the concept of the Temple Quarter Enterprise Campus such as that evidenced at the launch of our partnership in data science with LV=GI at the end of September. The work with LV=GI includes collaboratively designing and producing a new Level 7 Degree Apprenticeship in Data Science. The apprenticeship will be open to all companies and will bring vital benefits to its students.

The relationship with LV=GI embraces the spirit of Temple Quarter – bringing together world-leading experts in AI, data science, sociology and management to address some of the great challenges currently facing our society.

There will be more opportunities to develop together with business, community and governmental partners in the future. Watch this space!



Bristol Digital Futures Institute: research through a different lens

This week, we were delighted to announce the award of over £100 million in grant funding for our new Digital Futures Institute, thanks to an initial £29 million from UKRI’s Research Partnership Investment Fund and a further £71 million in match funding from some 27 companies.

The Bristol Digital Futures Institute is a great opportunity for us – and for all universities – to look at research and innovation through a different lens. The late-20th-century model involves academia working with business and technology partners on tech-driven research projects; at Bristol, and indeed elsewhere, we have believed for some time that the rapid rise and pervasiveness of digital technologies has created challenges in terms of their impact and their disruptive nature in many areas of society.

A key word for this new institute is partnership. It will be jointly led by Susan Halford, a social scientist and Professor of Sociology, and Dimitra Simeonidou, an engineer and Professor of High-Performance Networks. The large number of projects (around 30) per year that we plan to initiate will bring together our researchers in science and engineering with their peers in the social sciences and in the legal, ethical and community sectors, to create programmes on a scale that, we believe, is quite unprecedented. As you’ll see from the formidable list of local partners who have pledged support – financial, logistical, advisory – the scale is matched by the range of sectors they represent.

There will, of course, be challenges. Some of our partners have never worked outside their own sector before, so there’ll be a process of learning and absorbing each other’s values, practices and metrics of success, in order to build a foundation for true collaboration and partnership. But it’s this confluence of different disciplines in a common cause, rather than the technology, that will drive the institute’s work, and I am confident that it will lead to transformational impact in this research domain.

Co-creating the future

The institute’s physical location at our new Temple Quarter Enterprise Campus is also highly appropriate to its mission and methodology. Research won’t be confined to the University lab or offices; it’ll involve people and platforms in real settings, and we will invite members of our local community, from across all socio-economic groups, to become co-creators of this exciting future.

This is what a civic university should be doing: not jealously guarding its experts and innovators, but opening its doors to the public and creating the space for two-way conversations and collaborative projects that will make a real impact on society at large

I’m tremendously excited about the prospects for this new institute and the groundswell of support that we’ve already received for it. We’ll work hard to fulfil those prospects, and I look forward to seeing them take shape – and to being surprised by the outcomes, which none of us can entirely predict at the start of this exciting journey.


Facing the future together: City and University

Looking forward to the opportunities presented by the development of the Temple Quarter Enterprise Campus, Professor Guy Orpen explores the how the University of Bristol and the city can face the current turbulent economic and political challenges in partnership.

He affirms that by “pulling together we can put Bristol on the world stage, a place that tests futures and finds the best of them.”

Read more.

Professor Guy Orpen on the civic university

Professor Guy Orpen reflects on the history of the University of Bristol and the importance of the city in which it is situated.

Exploring the exciting opportunities presented by the development of the Temple Quarter Enterprise Campus, he invites us to “reimagine how the University and city can work together to meet the challenges we face over the century ahead.

Read more.