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INNOVATION UK137 Centres of Excellence West: WEST OF ENGLAND PARTNERSHIP Made up of Bristol, Bath and key centres in North Som-erset and South Gloucestershire, the West of England is one of only six Science City Regions of England and is highly regarded for its diverse and mixed economy, highly skilled workforce, great connectivity to London and international markets and an excellent quality of life. Recently classed as a " hot spring" innovation cluster in the World Economic Forum's innovation map, the West of England is a successful and vibrant area with particular strengths in aerospace and advanced engineering, ICT and silicon design and creative technologies. Over 22% of the workforce is employed in knowledge- intensive indus-tries and alongside more traditional expertise is a growing presence of new and exciting sectors including bioscience and environmental technologies. The West of England supports the largest aerospace and advanced engineering cluster in the South West. Nine out of the 12 largest aerospace companies in the UK have major facilities here, including Airbus, Rolls Royce, GKN and BAE Systems, and they are supported by more than 700 supply chain companies. The recently announced £ 340m government loan to help Airbus design and manufacture radically different composite wings for the A350 XWB will strengthen the area's position at the forefront of composite technology research. The sub- region's commitment to composite technology is demonstrated by cutting- edge collabora-tions between industry and academia, including the Air-bus Composite Structures Development Centre, Bristol University's Advanced Composites Centre for Innovation and Science, and the University of Bath's Composites Research Unit, which are leading the way in the develop-ment of innovative and lighter materials that help use less fuel and reduce CO ² emissions. The West of England is also the centre of the largest con-centration of silicon designers in the world outside Silicon Valley. Large multinationals such as Orange, Toshiba and HP Labs all have bases here, as do many smaller world-leading specialist companies like picoChip and Xmos. With the BBC's Natural History Unit and Oscar- winning Aardman Animations, the area is home to the largest UK creative industries cluster outside London. First- class facilities include the Watershed Media Centre and the Pervasive Media Studio, a pioneering R& D centre for ICT and creative industries collaborating on new technologies. South West England has recently been named the UK's first Low Carbon Economic Area and the West of Eng-land is leading the way with world- class companies in renewable energy, waste management and environmental services. Major initiatives like the Bristol Environmental Technology and Services Partnership and the University of Bath's involvement in the Sustainable Bioenergy Cen-tre and Low Carbon South West network are just a few examples of how the area continues to rise to the exciting challenges facing this dynamic and emerging industry. The West of England's economy is supported by some of the best- quality higher education in the UK. The brain-power of the area's four universities makes the Bath and Bristol City region the third most powerful research envi-ronment in the country, with world- class centres such as the Bristol Robotics Laboratory, the largest research facility in the UK for advanced robotics. The Bristol and Bath Science Park ( SPark) will provide a vital new resource for supporting innovation and knowl-edge exchange. Acting as a major hub for science and technology, SPark will create around 6,000 highly skilled jobs when fully developed and will include an innova-tion centre together with flexible, sustainable buildings designed to meet the needs of fast- evolving enterprises. For further information please contact: Tel: + 44 ( 0) 117 903 6863 E- mail: investwest@ westofengland. org Website: www. investwest. org The West of England is flying high From Brunel to Concorde and the A380, the West of England has a long tradition of scientific discovery, technological innovation and creativity

138INNOVATION UKINNOVATION Centres of Excellence South East: BRUNEL UNIVERSITY 150 years ago this autumn, Isambard Kingdom Brunel, the great British engineer and innovator, passed away. ( He suffered a stroke while watching the trials of his steamship, the Great Eastern, and died a few days later). Seventy five years after his death, the University that bears his name was born. This 150th anniversary affords the opportunity to reflect on the great man's legacy and for the University to take stock of its achievements and plans for the future. It is clear that since its inception Brunel University has established itself as a major force within British higher education, making a distinctive and impressive contribution to many fields of research and doing so in ways that have delivered measurable social, cultural and economic benefits. However, over the last few years there has been an accel-eration in the pace of the University's development which is exceptional even in a world where change is now the norm. No aspect of the University's life work has not been reviewed and refreshed - with the result that there is now significantly increased student numbers; a new organisa-tional structure; the consolidation of the University onto one campus - and a consequent investment in the estate and facilities; the recruitment of additional world- class researchers and academics; and a new and striking sense of purpose. Underpinning these changes is the University's single-minded determination to be a truly research- intensive institution of undoubted international standing. As well as generating new knowledge and understanding for the benefit of UK and overseas communities, research at Brunel is also designed to promote high- quality, innova-tive training and teaching. Multidisciplinarity, the inte-gration of learning and research and an unerring commit-ment to address real problems are the hallmarks of the University in its pursuit of research excellence. The University is located at Uxbridge in West London, a mile or so from Heathrow, and situated between two of the most economically dynamic sub- regions in Europe: the Thames Valley and West London. The University is home to 15,000 students and 1,770 academic and related staff on a custom- built campus which has recently enjoyed a massive £ 300 million investment. This year alone has seen the opening of the Antonin Artaud build-ing, housing specialist facilities for the School of Arts, and a new flagship building for the School of Engineering and Design. And the transformation of the University's estate and facilities continues, with work just beginning on a £ 35m state- of- the- art building for the University's Business School. Hand in hand with this physical redevelopment has been the investment of £ 20m to support 100 new academic posts in areas of existing or emerging research strength. Between 2003/ 2004 and 2007/ 08, research income increased by 70% and stood at £ 18,500,000 (£ 21,5 mil-lion in 2007/ 2008). There has also been a step- change growth in income generated through other knowledge transfer activities - consultancy income, for example, has grown by 21% over the same period. As a result of this investment, the University now has six self- supporting Specialist Research Institutes, 71 Research Centres and four multidisciplinary Collabora-tive Research Networks. These ensure the University has the depth and breadth in research capability to make a significant impact across a remarkably varied range of intellectual endeavour and practical application. The University's increasing research income, range of research programmes and collaborations with world-class academic and business partners are testament to the success of its investments and new strategic direction. But nowhere is this success better demonstrated than in the results of the national 2008 Research Assessment Exercise ( RAE), which confirmed decisively Brunel's sta-tus as a research- intensive university and its arrival as a university of international standing. Highlights of the RAE include: » » 54% increase in the funding granted to the University for research ( ninth largest increase in the country). » » 10% of the University's research was deemed to be amongst the best in the world. » » 82% of staff conducting research were judged to be of an international standing. Making a material difference Brunel University is making a research impact through its six specialist institutes