Be a part of the next group of aspiring entrepreneurs at UWE Bristol’s Launch Space incubator

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UWE Bristol are on the hunt for the next innovative start-ups and aspiring entrepreneurs to join the high-impact start-up incubator programme.

Over the last 12 months, Launch Space has worked with more than 30 early-stage start-ups as they develop their ideas and grow their businesses. Many of these companies have already gone on to win grants, secure investment, and grow their team.

Based within the University Enterprise Zone (UEZ),  the University’s incubator programmes have to date supported more than 130 early-stage businesses. These businesses have raised £52m and created more than 300 new jobs.

Applications are open until the 17 October 2022 – Find out more and apply here.

What support do I get?

Up to 20 people will be selected for the free programme of support.

If successful with your application, you will be invited to attend an exciting induction day on site in October. You will meet your peers, say hello to the innovation team, and get your first introduction to the science and tech community at Future Space.

During your six months with Launch Space, you will have access to tailored one-to-one support, workshops, networking events, and regular advisor sessions to help bring your idea to life.

Working directly with experienced mentors, you can also gain access to a wide range of contacts, industries, and expertise as you get ready to launch your business.

Who can apply?

Launch Space is open to graduate-led, or early-stage, businesses with high-growth potential. The team are looking for those that are working on new and innovative products and services across four key themes:

  • Health and life science
  • Advanced engineering
  • Digital futures
  • Sustainability and climate change

You might have a great idea you want to put into action, be in the early stages of developing your business, or need help to validate and develop your business further – either way, we are here to support your journey.

Find out more and apply here.

Why join Launch Space?

Launch Space is home to a wide range of businesses at various stages on the start-up journey, and you will be working alongside others who have a common goal of making their vision a success.

Award-winning mentor and Entrepreneur-in-Residence, Mark Corderoy, commented:“Launch Space is the perfect environment to create your start-up – a combination of community and one-to-one support, and a track record of success!”

Aimee Skinner works alongside Mark, overseeing the Launch Space programme and mentoring early-stage businesses. She said “The team has worked with hundreds of businesses over the last few years – the journey is rarely the same! That is why we take the time to work one-to-one with everyone, offering a truly bespoke experience”

Apply now.

Don’t just take it from us – hear what our members have to say

We caught up with the latest members of Launch Space to hear what they think.


Faiza Idris joined Launch Space in May of this year with her business, Fa Byoaqua. Fa Byoaqua is an innovative aquaponic farm which aims to alleviate food production concerns in locations with limited access to clean water.

“According to Forbes, 90% of start-up fails. To mitigate that risk, I decided to join Launch space to give my entrepreneurial journey and FA BYOAQUA ltd a good start by taking advantage of the resources available at launch space.

“Launch space has provided a safe environment where I can learn and grow as an entrepreneur. It enabled me to work with other like-minded entrepreneurs. A critical component of Launch space is its vast network of business experts, partners, and mentors such as Aimee and Mark that can assist my company in flourishing”


Morgan Edmondson is founder of Inchain – Inchain are hoping to help business avoid exposure of sensitive business data with their innovative blockchain solution.

“I joined Launch Space because I was captivated by the environment of entrepreneurs, mentors, and specialists within the program and the support that is offered.

“The support and navigation both technically and commercially through the team at Launch Space, alongside the great working environment have enabled Inchain to progress further and more efficiently day by day”

Gabriela Gomez has been working on her business, Open Labs, to tackle student mental health. Working one-to-one with Gabriela, the Launch Space team have supported Open Labs to apply for a variety of grant funding to help bring them one step closer to a working application.

“I joined the programme to turn my business idea into a reality with the help of mentors and the resources provided by Launch Space.

“Launch Space has allowed me to access invaluable start-up support by connecting me with mentors and an inspiring and supportive community of fellow entrepreneurs”

Organiko are creating universal, traceable, inclusive, and sustainable loungewear. Abbie Lifton, founder of Organiko, joined Launch Space to get support expanding the brand and exploring combined sensor technology.

“7,200 health and fitness facilities are highly populated by synthetic activewear, as 10,000 gym goers choose to abide by social norms, rather than consider traceability and whether their garment could assist in reaching their performance goals. Organiko is looking to change this.

“Launch Space has allowed us to work within a community of like-minded individuals, gain 1-2-1 support and have space for open discussion amongst peers in similar situations”

Rivern Macpherson is founder of Pair 2 Share, providing social and financial perks to restaurant owners and staff with an innovative meal swap solution.

“I began my entrepreneurial journey at Launch Space due to their ability to support me in growing my idea into a business through their fantastic community, mentorship, and facilities on offer.

“Since joining Launch Space, I have gained invaluable knowledge and experience on how to successfully manage a startup, and I am now ready to begin my first pitching round to investors”

If you would like to find out more or speak to the team, email launchspace@uwe.ac.uk

Fair Bus Fares for Young People Policy Briefing

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Young people aged 16-24 use buses more than older age groups and have lower access to a car.

Yet they face a postcode lottery in accessing free and discounted bus fares, a new policy briefing from UWE Bristol and Sustrans finds.

Access to buses can affect the experiences and life-defining opportunities that young people are able to reach as they gain independence.

“Buses are the sole form of transport available where I live. I do not drive and I do not intend to… I therefore need the buses to get anywhere”

Katie, 24, Cornwall

However, for many young people, cost is a barrier to using the bus.

The policy briefing brings together new research and existing evidence and identifies changes that are needed to make buses fairer for young people aged 16-24.

The Fair Bus Fares for Young People policy briefing is produced as part of the project Transport to Thrive which aims to build the case for transport policy that better meets the needs of young people aged 16-24.

Transport to Thrive is a partnership project between the Centre for Transport and Society at UWE Bristol and Sustrans.

It is part of the Health Foundation’s Young People’s Future Health Inquiry. The Health Foundation is an independent charity committed to bringing about better health and health care for people in the UK.

Overview

The Fair Bus Fares for Young People policy briefing has three parts:

  • Part 1 Current situation and future ambition: describes why buses and bus fare support is important to young people. It maps the current offers available across the UK, as well as future ambitions outlined in the Bus Service Improvement Plans of 79 local transport authorities in England.
  • Part 2 Case studies: looks at the policy justification, uptake and impacts of existing bus fare schemes for young people in different parts of the UK.
  • Part 3 Time to act: summarises the policy priorities that bus fare support for young people can help address. It ends with a set of policy ‘asks’ developed with young advisors aged 16-25.

Part 1 Current picture and future ambition

The policy briefing mapped the current offers available to young people across the UK:

There are currently many areas of the UK where there is no support for young people beyond the age of 16.

In areas with an offer, there is little consistency in the type of offer that is available and the upper age limit that is eligible. Offers range from free bus travel (London, Greater Manchester, and Scotland) to discounts ranging from 15-50%.

Very few schemes support young people beyond the age of 18. Notable exceptions to this include Scotland where bus travel is free for under 22s and West Yorkshire where 19-25s receive a 33% multi-operator discount (Map 2).

The report also mapped the future ambition for bus fare support for young people according to Bus Service Improvement Plans (BSIP) – these are the plans that the 79 Local Transport Authorities in England (outside London) were asked to produce in November 2021 in order to access government funding for buses.

BSIP ambitions and recent policy developments in Scotland and Wales show increasing recognition of the needs of young people over the age of 16 in relation to bus fares. However, there is still little consistency in age criteria and offer-type.

“The price should be the same for everyone.”

Poppy, 16-24

“Being a young person doesn’t stop when you are 18”

Sara, 20, West Yorkshire

“Multiple offers and prices make fares confusing. Annual passes are only viable with consistent usage. Flat fares are the most obvious and simplest solutions.”

Sunshine, 16, North Wales

Part 2 Case Studies

The policy briefing looked at four existing schemes available to young people beyond the age of 16 (18-21 Zoom Beyond, South Yorkshire; 16+ Zip Pass, London; 16-25 MCard, West Yorkshire; Free travel for Under 22s, Scotland).

With few schemes available to young people over the age of 16, these case studies offered rare and valuable insights:

  • Bus fare support for young people could help to address multiple policy priorities including supporting access to opportunities, reducing inequalities and shifting travel behaviour away from the car.
  • There is a high demand for bus fare support beyond 16 and 18. For example, in London, a study found 98% of 16-18 year olds said free transport was important to them*.
  • Schemes can have wide benefits to young people and can enhance inclusion of young people from all backgrounds, helping to level the playing field by removing cost as a barrier to mobility.

Part 3 Time to act

Recent policy developments across the UK, present an opportunity to make bus fares fairer for young people.

We ask national governments to:

Set out a minimum offer for young people aged up to 25 and to support local transport authorities to move towards this.

We ask any transport authority or operator developing their offer to:

• Offer flat fares to young people up to the age of 25 years
• Align offers across authority boundaries
• Work with young people to develop offers to help ensure available support meets their needs
• Collect and share evaluation data to show how these schemes meet policy objectives


* Partnership for Young London. “Free Transport Means Everything to Me”: Understanding the impact of the suspension of free travel on under-18s. Funded by Trust for London, 2020

Illicit Drug Contamination of the Bristol Pound

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Recent research conducted by undergraduate forensic students at UWE Bristol has revealed levels of drug contamination on the Bristol Pound (£B) notes. 

A high percentage of circulating bank notes across the world are contaminated with illicit drugs. Contamination on bank notes can be spread through direct contact and contamination from cash points, whilst paper-based bank notes are also believed to present a suitable matrix for the inclusion of drug particles.

Research has revealed that it is possible to detect some geographical or regional variation in the drugs found on different bank notes- for example, cocaine is the most frequently seized stimulant in western and southern European countries, whereas, amphetamine and ecstasy predominates across northern and eastern Europe.

To present, there have been no investigations regarding drug contamination of local currencies. The team at UWE Bristol have delved into this area of research, which presents an interesting angle on drug circulation.

The Bristol Pound at the time of sampling was the largest local currency in the UK, with approximately 7 million circulating from September 2012. Using a total of 28 £B banknotes, drugs were extracted by simple sonication, filtered to remove dirt and paper fibres. The levels of drugs were then determined by liquid chromatography tandem mass spectrometry. Cocaine represented the predominate contamination, mostly associated with the £B 20 notes, the highest domination in circulation.

Senior Lecturer Forensic Chemistry Dr. Kevin Honeychurch, who led the research, commented:

“This is an exciting piece of research, undertaken with a number of undergraduate Forensic Science students as co-authors on the paper. It highlights the extremely low levels of drugs that can be determined by sophisticated instrumentation such as liquid chromatography tandem mass spectrometry. I now undertaking further research into the levels of illegal drugs in water and air.”

To find out more please visit our research repository.

UWE Bristol positive action internship wins outstanding partnership award

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The Strive Internship scheme, a partnership between UWE Bristol, Hargreaves Lansdown and Bristol City Council, has recently won the Institute of Student Employers Outstanding Partnership Award at their annual awards.

Inspired by the ambition of the national #10,000 Black Interns initiative, Hargreaves Lansdown in partnership with the Mayor’s Office, Bristol City Council and the University of the West of England (UWE Bristol) launched the regional Strive Internship scheme.

Drawing on recommendations from McGregor Smith’s 2017 Race in the Workplace Review, this five-year long positive-action scheme aims to have a long-term and sustainable impact on the lives, career and earning trajectories of young Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic students and recent graduates in the region.

The programme created 45 paid internship opportunities, across 20 organisations in the region for Black students living or studying in the West of England.

The positive-action initiative offers Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic students living or studying in the region the opportunity to gain valuable paid work experience across a wide range of sectors each year, providing critical training and development opportunities, mentoring and sponsorship. Their aim is to have organisations from across the region join together to have positive conversations around diversity and inclusion.

Jessica Tomico who sits on the board for the Strive Internship and is a Business Development Manager at UWE Bristol commented “We are delighted that the excellent work of the Strive Internship has been recognised at the Institute of Student Employers awards. The initiative is a great example of how organisations in the region can work together to have a lasting positive impact on the careers of young Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic students and recent graduates.”

Find out more about the internship.

UWE Bristol researchers develop new method to detect date rape drug in drinks

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UWE Bristol Researchers have developed a smartphone-based sensor for the determination of gamma-hydroxybutyrate (GHB); a popular recreational drug. Its strong sedative and amnesic effects have led to drug-facilitated sexual assaults, poisonings, overdose, and even death, something widely reported in the news amidst a recent rise in cases of drink spiking incidents.

As a result, legislation has restricted its availability, leading to GHB consumers switching to its pro-drug, gamma-butyrolactone (GBL). A pro-drug is a medication or compound that, after administration, is metabolised into a pharmacologically active drug. There is a growing need for methods capable of determining GBL in complex samples such as beverages. It was shown possible to quantify both, GBL and GHB, using the camera of a smartphone to record images of the purple colour developed following simple chemistry.

A downloadable free App available from the Apple App Store (Color picker and helper, version 1.1.6) was used to extract the numerical values of the Red, Green, and Blue (RGB) colour components of the purple colour.  Using these values, it was possible to determine the concentration of the drugs present in fortified lager samples; indicating the method holds promise for the determination of both GBL and GHB in such drinks.

The findings were recently published in a paper:  Procida, A., & Honeychurch, K. C. (2022). Smartphone-based colorimetric determination of gamma-butyrolactone and gamma-hydroxybutyrate in alcoholic beverage samples. Journal of Forensic Sciences.

Copies are available via the UWE Repository at: https://uwe-repository.worktribe.com/output/9282890

UWE Bristol celebrating world Micro, Small and Medium Enterprise Day 2022 

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UWE Bristol are proud to work with many Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) across the region. Small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) account for up to 90% of businesses, 60% to 70% of employment, and they account for half of global GDP, according to the United Nations.  

To celebrate World MSME Day 2022 we are sharing some recent work and projects with MSMEs.  

In this short video, we highlight three SMEs we worked with as part of our Scale Up 4 Growth Scheme. In partnership with NatWest and Foot Anstey, we gave SMEs access to grant funding and business support to help them scale up. In the below video we hear from The Bristol Loaf, Wiper and True and 299 Lighting about how the funding has helped transform their business.  

Spotlight on Bristol 24/7  

Bristol 24/7 are one of many MSMEs we are supporting through our Skills for Clean Growth programme and our Digital Skills programme.  Below is some feedback from Meg Houghton-Gilmour, Community and Memberships Manager.

Tell us a bit about what you are doing as an organisation to support sustainability goals in the region? 

At Bristol24/7 we’re really proud to be in the process of recruiting a dedicated climate and sustainability editor. We are the first local media organisation to do so as far as we know, and we’ve created this role to engage conversation, inspire people to take action, hold authorities and companies to account and report on the positive work already ongoing in Bristol.  

This is alongside our work to become more sustainable as an organisation. We are currently working with Action Net Zero to assess our carbon footprint, from which we will set goals to minimise our impact on the planet.  

We believe that working together is the best way to tackle the climate crisis. One of the defining values of our Better Business network is sustainability and we share ideas, opportunities and resources with our business members at our quarterly meetings.  

What steps have you taken to ensure you have a diverse workforce to drive forward these aims? 

Diversity and inclusion are at the heart of all of Bristol24/7s plans. We recognise there are considerable barriers to working in journalism and we are aiming to level the playing field at every opportunity. We are continuously improving our recruitment process to make it welcoming and accessible to all those who are interested in working with us. We have redesigned our work experience programme and we are working to introduce a career ladder so that those who have their first taste of journalism with us are invited back for longer placements and interviews for entry level positions.  

We work with the most underrepresented areas of Bristol to train new journalists in our community reporters programme. Our entire team take part in setting our goals and strategy for the year ahead and every voice is heard; we believe this allows for more robust decision making and creativity which are essential when tackling problems such as the climate crisis.  

What support have you received from UWE Bristol, and how has it contributed to these aims? 

We’re extremely grateful to UWE Bristol for their support. Over the last 12 months, our team have benefitted from Digital Skills support and training which has informed our membership strategy. We now also have a stronger marketing strategy which helps us capitalise on the support from our community and grow our membership – the result of which is that we can offer more work experience placements, train more community reporters and work with charity partners. 

More recently, members of our team have also taken part in the Skills for Clean Growth workshops. We already feel more confident in addressing our own carbon output, and we look forward to attending more workshops as we set our new goals, induct our climate editor and take the next steps on our sustainability journey.  

What successes have you seen as a result of the above work? 

In the last year we have seen a 30% growth in our membership, which has provided us with the resource to grow our team, including interns from UWE Bristol, and increase our social impact work. 

Workshops for MSMEs 

Are you a Gloucestershire business looking to scale?​ 

Digital Scale-Up for your Business

Hosted in the Advanced Digital Academy at Gloucestershire College in Cheltenham on Monday 11 & Tuesday 12 July 2022.  

Find out more and register

Growth through Innovation workshop 

5 & 6 July 2022, 09:00 – 16:30 

Business Cyber Centre, Chippenham 

A practical workshop to support your business in creating, communicating and funding innovation, free to SMEs in the Swindon & Wiltshire area. 

Find out more and register

Knowledge Transfer Partnerships  

The Knowledge Transfer Partnerships (KTP) scheme is a UK-wide programme helping businesses to improve competitiveness and productivity. We embed a recent graduate within your business and give you access to our academic expertise to help you transform your business.  

View some of our KTP case studies

Green Skills for Jobs and Entrepreneurship  

We recently supported more than 70 young people to complete the first stage of a transformational ‘first of its kind’ green skills training programme. 

The programme aimed to provide access to green jobs, training and business opportunities to Black, Asian and minoritised young people (aged 18-28), and recent graduates living in Bristol, South Gloucestershire, North Somerset, Bath and North East Somerset. 

Get in touch  

We are always keen to work with MSMEs so please do get in touch to discuss how we can support you and your business uwebusiness@ac.uk  

Community STEM Club connects local community, engineering students, and industry professionals

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The Old Library Community STEM Club has become a well-established weekly event in Eastville since it was first launched in September 2021: every Thursday after school, children and their parents or carers make their way to the Old Library Community Hub to take part in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths) based activities, and to play and socialise.

The Old Library is a community led and run project, based in the former Eastville Library, which was closed down in March 2016 after council budget cuts. It now serves as a hire space for workshops and activities, including a community café, workshops, crafts, quiz nights, music, book clubs, a repair café, and the weekly STEM Club.

The Club was co-developed with the team behind UWE Bristol’s DETI Inspire, a programme designed to connect children from all backgrounds with real-life, diverse engineering role models to widen participation and aspirations for STEM careers.

It gets further support from Industry professionals via the STEM Ambassador Hub, and UWE Bristol Engineering students, who regularly support and run activities.

A club for the whole community

The sessions vary every week: children have built balloon- and sail powered cars, electric circuits, bike pump powered paper rockets, water filtration systems, and they even designed their own city, using recycled materials. They also had the opportunity to build and programme their own robots using Lego Mindstorms, and they digitally re-designed Bristol in Minecraft sessions led by the  DETI Inspire Team at UWE Bristol.

The Club is aimed to be as accessible as possible, which is why it is run on a free, drop-in basis. There are also healthy snacks on offer alongside the activities, and the grown-ups can relax with a cup of tea or coffee, or choose to get involved in the activities themselves.

What’s next?

For the upcoming sessions the children will be building model boats which will be raced at the Bristol Harbour Festival on Saturday 16 July. Boat building is taking place on 16 of June and 7 July and supported by the My Future My Choice programme and Industry volunteers.

Lego Mindstorms will be making a comeback on 23 and 30 of June: instructed by UWE Engineering students, the children will learn how to build and programme Lego robots.

There are also plans for wind turbine building, though the exact dates are still to be confirmed.

The last STEM Club session of this term is planned for Thursday 14 July, and then the Club will pause for the summer holidays, with a return planned in September, for the start of the new school year.

For updates check the Old Library Facebook page or email hello@theoldlibrary.org.uk should you have any questions.

Applications open for Partnership PhD scheme

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UWE Bristol has recently announced another application round of its successful Partnership PhD programme.

A Partnership PhD bridges the gap between external organisations and university. It enables an organisation to gain access to cutting-edge real-world research that can help transform it.

The Partnership establishes a relationship between an organisation and UWE Bristol, based on a specific project that is mutually beneficial.

Organisations have the opportunity to choose a relevant research area and gain access to cutting-edge research. The researcher will work extensively with the organisation to provide a tailored piece of research.

In turn, the researcher will gain an opportunity to pursue their research in a real-world setting, developing transferable and interdisciplinary skills whilst gaining cross-sector experience.

Over the past two years, the Graduate School, part of the Research, Business and Innovation team at UWE Bristol, has been developing the Partnership PhD scheme. Through it, UWE’s investment in Post Graduate Research has been matched by over £1.5m from 40+ partner organisations.

Future application deadlines

  • ​1 October
  • 1 January
  • 1 April
  • 1 July

Email uwebusiness@uwe.ac.uk to find out more.

Please find below full Partnership PhD guidance, costings, useful information and the flyer for businesses:

See below for our slides for businesses:

Email uwebusiness@uwe.ac.uk to find out more.

English Literature and the Climate Crisis: Teaching Climate Literature to Young Adults

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As society responds to the changing climate, English literature provides useful and critical insights into the challenges we face, as well as helping to build resilience and activism. At Cop26 in November 2021, the education secretary Nadhim Zahawi promised to “put climate change at the heart of education.” To turn this promise into a reality, then climate change should be taught across the curriculum, from the Humanities to STEM.

This event, designed and led by UWE English Literature staff Dr Ann Alston and Dr Sarah Robertson, is for key stage 3 English teachers. It will explore how English literature can be more fully utilised as a vital tool in generating climate change awareness and for coping with climate anxiety. At the event, Dr Ann Alston will deliver a talk on climate change in young adult fiction, and Dr Sarah Robertson will present on approaches to teaching climate literature. The talks will be followed by a roundtable discussion where participants can share their thoughts on teaching climate change through English, exploring the challenges and benefits of such an approach.

The event will take place on Saturday 26 March, from 11:00-14:00 on Frenchay Campus. For more information and/or to book a place, please email Sarah.Robertson@uwe.ac.uk

UWE Bristol launch Skills for Clean Growth programme for SMEs in the West of England

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The University of the West of England (UWE Bristol), in collaboration with NatWest and West of England Combined Authority (WECA), has announced its launch of the Skills for Clean Growth (SCG) programme in January 2022.

SCG is a free business support programme for SMEs in the West of England to help drive the region’s ambitions for clean and inclusive growth, as part of the Workforce for the Future programme.

The programme, funded by the European Social Fund (ESF), will provide the skills and workforce development needed to support businesses in their transition to a low carbon economy.

This includes access to a range of skills development, training and CPD – including the leadership skills needed to build a clean growth strategy; and the knowledge and tools to achieve sustainability.

Eligibility Criteria

To be eligible for support, applicants must have a business presence in the West of England (Bath & North East Somerset, Bristol, South Gloucestershire and North Somerset) and be a small or medium sized enterprise (SME) with less than 250 employees.

Registrations

The SCG programme is accepting registrations from SMEs now!

If you are interested in registering, please apply via the SCG website here where key information is outlined. Please select the ‘Apply now’ button where you will be asked to fill out some details about your company and the support you are looking for on a registration form.

A member of the UWE Bristol team will then be in touch with you to arrange an initial discussion around the programme and any of your needs. If you have any further queries in the meantime, please contact us via cleangrowth@uwe.ac.uk and one of the team will get back to you.

Workforce for the Future

UWE Bristol is delivering Workforce for the Future on behalf of the West of England Combined Authority (WECA) in collaboration with other partners.

Alongside the SCG programme, SMEs can access other support from expert partners. Please visit the West of England Combined Authority Growth Hub to find out more.

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