Women’s History Month 2023: Katherine, Sarah, Ann, Sado and Jac

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As part of Women’s History Month 2023, we are spotlighting some of the amazing women we work with or who inspire us.

In this blog we highlight Ann, Jac and Sarah who are all UWE Bristol academics, and Katherine and Sado who have partnered with us on different projects.

After being made redundant back in 2018, Katherine used her redundancy money to re-train and completed the UWE Bristol’s Masters in Sustainable Development. She received an award for her dissertation on carbon management within business, which then formed the content of a publication, co-authored with her supervisor, Prof. Jim Longhurst.

As such, she graduated not only feeling able to confidently work in sustainability but also with a job o‑er, which came about due to her winning UWE Bristol Sustainability Student of the Year, the sponsor of the award being the Director of Future Leap, where she now works as Head of Partnerships and Sustainability. Katherine also sits on Bristol’s One City Environment Board and she is the South West Sustainability Ambassador for the Institute of Directors.

UWE English Literature colleagues, Dr Sarah Robertson (left) and Dr Ann Alston (right), are collaborating on a climate change and literature research project.

Sarah founded a climate change book club in 2022 and is running a 2023 climate book club challenge. Ann has worked with Education and Environmental Sciences colleagues on a VCC Challenge project ‘The Use and Impact of Scientific Literary Materials in Primary Schools.’

They both run CPD events for KS3 teachers on integrating climate change into the English classroom, and are working with Environmental Management colleagues to run a book for young people, “Reading for the Planet.”

As Director of Black South West Network (BSWN) since 2013, Sado Jirde rebuilt the organisation’s profile and repositioned its role from an infrastructure body to a racial justice incubator, developed with the Black and Minoritised communities across Bristol and the South West region.
Sado sits on Bristol’s One City Economy Board and Bristol University Court and is also the Vice-Chair of Bristol Old Vic Board.

She was awarded The African Achievers Award in 2015, and the Most Inspirational Role Model Award in 2019 and listed as a Women of Inspiration: 100 social enterprise leaders showing Covid who’s boss in 2020.

Jac is a Product Design Lecturer, passionate about research that helps to design a better world for people.

She co-designs sensory products for people with dementia, learning disabilities and autism. One product, the HUG, that she developed with colleagues at Cardiff­ Met University, in collaboration with NHS, care homes, charities and people living with dementia, has been evaluated with great success showing it has significant impact on a person’s wellbeing. In partnership with Alzheimer’s Society, it’s sold across the world through their spin-out HUG by LAUGH, bringing comfort and joy to thousands of people.

UWE Bristol to deliver new Sleep Medicine and Respiratory Science courses

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Following a competitive tendering process, staff from the College of Health, Science and Society at UWE Bristol have been awarded a Health Education England (HEE) contract to deliver two new programmes – a Postgraduate Certificate in Sleep Medicine and a Graduate Diploma in Respiratory Science. Commissioning of these programmes forms part of the response to a review of NHS England diagnostic services, which highlighted significant deficits in the current workforce.

Sleep medicine is a specialised area of healthcare that focuses on sleep disturbances and disorders. The Postgraduate Certificate in Sleep Medicine is the first programme to focus solely on this important area of healthcare. It has been designed to enable advanced, integrated sleep science training to be delivered to a wide range of existing healthcare professionals, including doctors, nurses, allied health professionals, and healthcare scientists. This will allow the rapid expansion of sleep science services to reduce waiting times and address delays in diagnosis and treatment.

The Graduate Diploma in Respiratory Science has been developed as an accelerated (12-month) training pathway for graduates in related disciplines, such as Sports Science or Biomedical Science. To-date such graduates would need to undertake a three-year Practitioner Training Programme (PTP) to become qualified healthcare scientists. This new programme combines clinical and professional modules from the PTP with work-based training to provide a fast, quality-assured scheme for upskilling trainees to Practitioner level. This is essential for meeting workforce demands in respiratory physiology, which have been further impacted by the Covid-19 pandemic.

Dr Karina Stewart, Associate Head of the School of Applied Sciences (Subject Lead for Healthcare Science), Dr Adrian Kendrick (Senior Lecturer in Respiratory and Sleep Physiology) and Dr Kathryn Yuill (Senior Lecturer in Physiology) led on submission of the tender response.

Dr Stewart commented:

“We are delighted with this outcome. The programmes will be an important addition to our portfolio of healthcare science training currently offered at UWE Bristol, which includes a degree apprenticeship (Level 6) Respiratory and Sleep Physiology PTP.”

The Health Education England contract is for three years in the first instance. Delivery of the Postgraduate Certificate in Sleep Medicine starts from October 2023, and delivery of the Graduate Diploma in Respiratory Science will begin in September 2024.

Spotlight on Research in the College of Health, Science and Society

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The College of Health, Science and Society (CHSS) brings together experts from all areas of Health, Science and Society.

The College is made up of four schools:

The College has a vibrant research culture organised primarily through research centres, groups and institutes.

Elderly man laughing with friend

Research Centres

Centre for Appearance Research

The Centre for Appearance Research is the world’s largest research group focusing on the role of appearance and body image in people’s lives.

Centre for Health and Clinical Research

Bringing together researchers working in the fields of long-term conditions, palliative and supportive care, and emergency care, to inform knowledge mobilisation across the lifespan.

Centre for Public Health and Wellbeing

Connecting experts from mental health sciences; children and young people; emergency and critical care; public health and wellbeing; health, ethics and society and evaluative research.

Centre for Research in Biosciences

Incorporating world-class research in the fields of biomedicine, plant science, bio-sensing technology and environmental science.

Science Communication Unit

The Science Communication Unit is internationally renowned for its diverse and innovative activities, designed to engage the public with science.

Research Groups

Education and Childhood Research Group

The Education and Childhood Research Group encompasses four strands of research Equity in education; Pedagogy; Childhood, children and young people; and Sustainability in education.

Psychological Sciences Research Group

The Psychological Sciences Research Group conducts applied research that has a positive influence on people and places; at home, in the workplace, and in the wider social environment.

Social Science in the City

The Social Science Research Group is a multidisciplinary, applied research grouping that is dedicated to facilitate a better understanding of the complex social world that we live in.

View of Bristol colourful houses

Institutes and more

Institute of Bio-Sensing Technology

Industry and academia working together to develop novel bio-sensing technologies.

Social Science in the City

Social Science in the City is a free public engagement event addresses important questions about how we might live and work in today’s society.

Women’s History Month 2023: Jenna, Maya and Jo

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As part of Women’s History Month 2023, we are spotlighting some of the amazing women we work with or who inspire us.

In this blog we highlight Jenna and Jo who are both UWE Bristol academics and Maya who worked with us to provide support and consultancy around creating a safe and inclusive learning environment for our Green Skills programme provision.

Jenna Pandeli is a Senior Lecturer in Organisation Studies interested in using qualitative methodologies, namely ethnography, to provide a greater understanding of the everyday experiences of work.

She has a special interest in prison labour and invisible forms of work. She was awarded the SAGE prize for Excellence and Innovation 2020 for her publication ‘Captives in Cycles of Invisibility’. She is currently undertaking two projects:

1) Collaborating with a charity, Project Remake, to create, deliver and evaluate enterprise education for previously incarcerated people

2) Researching women’s experiences of maternity leave during the covid pandemic.

With over a decade’s experience in youth, community and social work, Maya currently manages the award winning Call In Programme in partnership with Avon & Somerset Police Constabulary; off­ering a trauma informed diversionary scheme to Black, and minoritised young people involved in serious youth violence, criminal exploitation and drug related off­ending.

Maya has also worked as a commissioner for the Mayoral Commission on Race Equality; leading the criminal justice task group and Chairing the Youth Justice Task Group for ‘The Identifying disproportionality with Avon and Somerset Criminal Justice System Report’ to influence systemic change in relation to structural inequality. Maya continues to advocate for the inclusion of young people with lived experience in strategic planning and to co-produce services with local communities.

Jo Barnes has 18+ years’ research experience in air quality management, policy and practice at local, national, European and international levels.

Since 2008, she has been employed in the Air Quality Management Resource Centre, University of the West of England, Bristol, where she completed her PhD researching the effectiveness of Local Air Quality Management.

In this role, she has worked with and on behalf of numerous local authorities, Defra and the Devolved Administrations of Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland and Greater London, other Member States, the EEA and the European Commission to implement and develop air quality management policies and practices.

Women’s History Month 2023: Rebecca, Tara and Laura

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As part of Women’s History Month 2023, we are spotlighting some of the amazing women we work with or who inspire us.

In this blog we highlight Rebecca and Laura who are UWE Bristol academics and Tara who we partnered with on our Green Skills for jobs and Entrepreneurship Programme.

Rebecca is a Senior Lecturer in Environmental Planning and an award-winning researcher.

Rebecca’s research has focused on the development of renewable energy, including how to plan for the future of existing renewable energy sites and how communities are involved in decisions about renewable energy.

Rebecca is passionate about sharing her research findings with diverse audiences to influence policy and practice as well as to inform the public. Her research has been used to inform policy change and Rebecca has been quoted in a number of national newspapers and has recently appeared on BBC Newsnight.

Tara Miran is of Kurdish heritage. Her career and research ambitions are shaped by her ambitions for equality, equity & justice. Her background is in sociology, social and cultural research and she is fascinated by people and working towards a fairer world.

She has conducted research in areas such as mothers engaging in physical activity, women and employment and health inequalities. The central theme to her work is inclusion & diversity. In 2021, she was selected as a ‘Global Goals Hero’ by the Global Goals Centre.

More recently, she has co-founded The Green Melon; an award-winning social enterprise promoting community & food justice. Tara currently works in Community Development. She spends her free time involved in local initiatives, representation groups and trustee boards. She highlights that her most important and loved role remains being a mother to her brilliant daughters.

Laura is Associate Professor for Engineering in Society in the School of Engineering and a member of the Science Communication Unit. She explores the social psychology of communications and public engagement, particularly involvement in decision-making for sustainable development with under-served audiences and communities.

Laura leads the Inspire education outreach work for the initiative for Digital Engineering Technology and Innovation, inspiring diverse young people to make a difference through climate education and action. She is the founder of the Women Like Me mentoring scheme for engineers, set up the DETI Diversity Demonstrator for diverse engineering role models, and founder of the primary STEM network Curiosity Connections.

Rapid Realist Review of Virtual Ward Rounds for People with Frailty

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Dr Natasha Bradley, Research Fellow in Realist Evaluation, Centre for Health & Clinical Research


Virtual wards (VWs) rounds deliver multidisciplinary care to people with fluctuating health conditions such as frailty, within their own homes or usual place of residence. The aim can be to prevent hospital admission and to support self-management. Existing evidence showed there were different types of VWs in operation in the UK, and that results appeared inconsistent.

We used realist methods to provide complementary evidence to existing systematic reviews and randomised controlled trials, by shedding light on the different contexts and mechanisms that enable VWs to work effectively.

This project investigated how and why VWs could work for people with frailty. We carried out a type of literature review called a rapid realist review, asking ‘what works for whom, under what circumstances, how and why?’.


First, we aimed to summarise the different types of VWs for people with frailty. Second, we considered how and why VWs might work by exploring interactions between the context, mechanisms, and outcomes. The knowledge gained in this process could then be applied to help VWs work more effectively.


Literature synthesis

We searched for academic publications and other online sources of information (‘grey lit’) to gather evidence on VWs for frailty in the UK and ROI. In total, 28 documents were included. We began to extract causal insights and bring them together, informed by rapid realist review methods. In this case, we initially worked with ‘if-then-because’ statements and then gradually synthesized into preliminary context-mechanism-outcome configurations.

Patient and public involvement

To assist us in this process, we had input from people who had lived experience of frailty. 

We met with public contributors on two occasions: two people on 28th February 2022, and five people on 15th June 2022. In each meeting, we presented what we thought were important aspects of VWs and invited their discussion. The first conversation helped to refine our initial ideas and the second conversation gave feedback on our findings from the literature synthesis. Alongside these meetings, we also met several times with three clinicians who were experts in frailty VWs.


Two main types of frailty Virtual Ward models were identified: longer-term proactive care to prevent a frailty crisis and short-term acute care for those in-crisis, both intended to reduce acute hospital admissions. Current NHS England policy is directed towards short-term VWs, but longer-term VWs may also be beneficial within a whole system approach to frailty.

Minimum requirements for VWs are common standards agreements, information sharing processes, and an appropriate multidisciplinary team that is able to meet regularly. Pertinent mechanisms include the motivation and capability of the different stakeholders to work together, so that VWs can function as a forum for the integration of care and timely multidisciplinary decision-making.

The patient pathway involves their selection into the VW, comprehensive assessment including medication review, integrated case management, and in some cases proactive or anticipatory care. Important components for patients and caregivers are their communication with the VW and their experience of being at home instead of hospital.

We developed evidence-based theories for how and why different parts of frailty VWs may be important for implementation, for the patient pathway, and for patient and caregiver experience.  Our review indicates that existing work has overlooked the potential impact of transfers of care on entering and leaving the VW, and the caregiver’s role in the VW intervention.

Next Steps

The rapid realist review is now complete. Our findings help to explain how and why the contexts of the local healthcare system, the VW team, and the patient are influential to the effectiveness of VWs.  A manuscript is under preparation for the peer-reviewed journal ‘Age & Aging’ and we will be submitting our evidence to NHS England for their guidance on VWs for people with frailty.

Innovations in service design for people with frailty remains high-profile in 2023. The insights gained from this review could inform implementation or evaluation of VWs for frailty. A combination of acute and longer-term VWs may be required within a whole system approach. We will be submitting our evidence to NHS England, so that it can have an impact on their guidance for VWs. 

See more: Can virtual wards help treat people with frailty in their own homes and avoid them going to hospital? A rapid realist review – ARC West (nihr.ac.uk)

Spotlight on the Education & Childhood Research Group

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Formerly known as BRIDGE, the Education & Childhood Research Group (ECRG), is a large, diverse research group made up of researchers, associates and doctoral researchers.

The research group has four main strands:

Equity in Education

Strand Leaders: Prof Richard Waller and Malcolm Richards

 Members of this inter-disciplinary community share a common interest in researching the inequities that persist in societies through critical enquiry. We engage with our local-global students, teachers, and community, to collaborate on exciting research, knowledge co-production, and impactful outcomes. Members of this inter-disciplinary community share a common interest in researching the inequities that persist in societies through critical enquiry. We engage with our local-global students, teachers, and community, to collaborate on exciting research, knowledge co-production, and impactful outcomes.


Strand Leaders: Dr Benjamin Knight and Mandy Lee

Pedagogy is a broadly interpreted and broadly applied umbrella concept covering many aspects of education and overlapping with a wide range associated educational and social concepts. In the Education and Childhood Research Group (ECRG), the Pedagogy research strand specifies a focus on classroom teaching and learning. The strand has two key elements. The first investigates interpretations of what it means to ‘learn’, what learning looks like, contexts in which it occurs and factors which influence it for individuals and groups. The second element investigates teaching and instruction with a view to developing insights about the most useful ways of organising and configuring teaching in the interest of learning. Research within this strand is predicated on the belief that we have much more to learn about learning and teaching, and that novel insights and new theories are there to be uncovered. Seeking effective and innovative approaches to teaching, appropriate for the 21st century, is a central aim of this research strand.

The Childhood, Children and Young People

Strand Leaders: Dr Sarah Chicken and Dr Tim Clark

This strand focuses on research into children and young people’s experiences, rights, voices, perspectives, and related policy and practice. The strand is underpinned by a construction of children and young people as agentic meaning makers who are experts in their own worlds and there is a privileging of research with, rather than on this often overlooked group.  The strand aims to showcase work in this area and provoke critical discussion about research with children. 

Sustainability in Education

Strand Leaders: Dr Verity Jones and Dr Tessa Podpadec

Research on sustainable development creates knowledge and influences practices to shape sustainable futures. The strand members’ research incorporates sustainable development questions about diverse local, national and global contexts. For example: how can society approach responsible and ethical consumption? and, What is the role and function of education in this? UWE Bristol recognises the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The core purpose of this research strand is advancing knowledge in economic, social and environmental dimensions to solve sustainability challenges, create opportunities and shape our communities across the region and beyond as set out in the UWE Bristol Strategy 2030.

Group Leader and Associate Professor of Education Policy in Critical Education, Dr Alpesh Maisuria, commented on the group:

“The forerunner to ECRG was BRIDGE, which was hugely successful and delivered excellent REF results. With being appointed successor and alongside the university’s move to Colleges and School structure, I wanted to evolve the Research Group to more closely align with the College. I also wanted to reflect the new staff expertise that had come into School.

The research group was large and I felt would benefit from a Distributed Leadership model, and so I implemented a structure that included Strands of research, each with Co-Leaders to establish the research themes.

It was also important for me that ECRG has a role  in developing future research leaders in the School, and strand leadership is an opportunity for colleagues to gain experience in a high profile role to steer our research ambitions and excellence.”

To find out more or join the group please email Dr Alpesh Maisuria. Please submit any general enquiries to Ella Rees Ella.Rees@uwe.ac.uk.

UWE Bristol researchers showcase their work at Bristol Women’s Voice International Women’s Day event

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  • Bristol Women’s Voice: International Women’s Day event
  • Bristol City Hall
  • 10am-5pm

International Women’s Day 2023 is being celebrated at a day long event organised by Bristol Women’s Voice. Researchers from UWE Bristol, University of Exeter and the University of Edinburgh will be showcasing their research during this event, as summarised by three local female artists.

This artwork represents a focus group that these institutions conducted to discuss and explore women’s experiences of reproductive events (e.g., menstruation, pregnancy, and menopause) and how they are related to mental health. Dr Kayleigh Easey, a Senior Lecturer at UWE Bristol who led these focus groups alongside Dr Siobhan Mitchell and Dr Kate Ash-Irisarri, explains “We were very fortunate to be joined by three local artists, who have produced some amazing artistic interpretations of the conversations and themes discussed on the day. We can’t wait to share this artwork with members of the public at the IWD event, to help bring awareness and discussion about the impact reproductive events can have on mental health, and what avenues exist to promote positive mental health around this area”.

Some of the outputs to be showcased at this event are from an ongoing GW4 funded grant awarded to the researchers to further investigate an understudied, but pivotal area that can contribute to poor mental health.

This International Women’s Day event is being organised by Bristol’s Women’s Voice, to be held at Bristol’s City Hall from 10am-5pm, involving multiple workshops and interactive displays.

View the full event programme.

Understanding serious violence: The 3rd Southwest Public Health and Criminal Justice network event

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  • Helen Erswell (Consultant in Health Protection, SW Health Protection, UK Health Security Agency)
  • Rachel Campbell (Health and Justice Public Health Lead, Office of the Regional Director of Public Health Southwest, NHS England)
  • Kieran McCartan (Professor in Criminology, UWE Bristol)

On the 07 February 2023, UWE Bristol hosted the third Public Health and Criminal Justice network event. This was a hybrid event with 45 participants attending in person and online. The event was a great success and highlighted the growing recognition that public health, health, and criminal justice need to be working together to understand the causes, consequences, and responses to criminal behaviour. The network is a collaboration between National Health Service England, UK Health Security Agency, and UWE Bristol.  The network is a place for people from across the board (we had attendees from health, public health, prison, policing, education, and academic) to discuss these issues, upskill, change the nature of the conversation, and learn new, and hopefully, good, practice.

This event focused on serious and violent offending with several talks focusing on the impact of trauma and trauma informed practice as well as the challenges of risk management. The event happened in the shadow of a report from HMI Probation on the case of Jordan McSweeney and challenges that it poses for the management of medium and high offenders in the community moving forward.

The workshop speakers included:

Dr Anne Eason (Associate Head of Department for Policing, UWE Bristol) who discussed the challenges and the opportunities in managing violent and sexual offenders in the community. In her presentation Anne focused on the reality of working in Probation and the challenges of managing risk, she reflected on the McSweeney case as well as the case of Philip Austin, suggesting that the reality of effective risk management is rooted in working with the individual and recognising their past, triggers and the most effective way of engaging with them.

View Anne Eason’s presentation.

The next presentation tied directly to the talk by Dr Sarah Senker (Research Associate, UWE Bristol) that focused on the results of a project looking at the role of past trauma in the lives of men who committed sexual offences. The research talked with professionals about how significant they thought that previous trauma was in the lives of people who offend sexually and how you can work in a trauma informed way. Sarah reinforced the person centred, individualise approach that Anne advocated, suggesting that understanding past trauma means that we can better prevent future risk of re-offending.

Following on from Sarah we had two people with lived experience join us and talk about their pathways into, and out of serious and violent offending, They reinforced what both Anne and Sarah had said, but went further by giving concrete examples from their own lives and suggested that the system is not set up in a trauma informed way and that our responses to anti-social and problematic behaviour are retraumatising; they used the example of school exclusion to emphasis this.

View Sarah Senker’s presentation.

This presentation tied to a talk from Dr Duncan Gillard (Enable Trust) who discussed the work that he is involved with to reduce the reality and impact of school exclusions. Duncan highlighted the impact that school exclusions have and that there are more effective ways to respond to prevent anti-social and problematic behaviour before it gets to that point. He went on to discuss a model of therapeutic intervention (the DNA-V model) that looks to do this through a Cognitive Behavioural approach that engages with young people at an individual level. This brought the conversation back to Anne’s points about individualised approaches to risk management and community integration.

View Duncan Gillard’s presentation.

The final presentation of the day was from Professor Geraldine Akerman (a practicing psychologist at HMP Grendon) who talked about HMP Grendon, the work that is done there and the challenges, as well as opportunities, that a therapeutic community poses. The presentation neatly tied the day together as it focused not only on treatment and rehabilitation, but also on the role of adverse experiences, trauma, compassion, and rehabilitation. Although Grendon is a specialised unit we can see the impact that approaching the rehabilitation of people convicted of serious violence and sexual offending can have.

View Geraldine Akerman’s presentation.

The seminar concluded with a Q & A session, which was chaired by Justin Coleman who did a great job of not only managing the questions but linking them together. Justin closed the event by reinforcing in us that serious and violent offending is linked to people’s health, wellbeing, and social context; therefore, in order to reduce and prevent serious offending we need to take a rounded, holistic approach that combines health, wellbeing, trauma informed practice in a compassionate approach that considers the individual and the desistance pathway that they are on.

The next networking event will be held on 21 June 2023, with further details to follow.

Always wanted your own tech startup? START is here to make that a reality

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START is the new free initiative designed to take you from idea to starting and scaling your own tech company. A West of England Combined Authority funded programme, led by the University of the West of England (UWE Bristol), in collaboration with University of Bristol, the  University of Bath, Bath Spa University and techSPARK, the team are searching for budding entrepreneurs to elevate their idea to the next level.

The programme will provide a package of support for 150 pre-start and early formation tech/digital businesses across Bristol, South Gloucestershire, Bath and North East Somerset.

Particularly keen to hear from individuals in underrepresented communities and those living in rural areas, START is now accepting applications for the first cohort. The programme is looking for applicants who are at the ‘just an idea’ stage. If you think “START probably isn’t for me”, then the team definitely want to hear from you! You can easily register your interest on the START website here today or give them a call on +44 (0) 117 32 86238.

The first cohort will be open to people wishing to register their interest from todaywith a half a day intro session in early March. After speaking to you and learning more about what you’d like to achieve, the START team will review your idea. You’ll hear back shortly afterwards, but if you’re not successful this time around, don’t be discouraged. The START team is happy to provide all the support you need to keep developing your idea in time for the next round of applications.

START is all about helping people in the West of England be successful with their ideas. If you’re accepted onto the course, START will give you access to 28 hours of intensive training, supplemented by 1-2-1 mentoring and sessions from successful founders and experts.

Anyone completing the programme will also have a chance to win additional free support in one of our leading incubators, including UWE BRISTOL’s Launch Space.

The Universities that are supporting START have a fantastic track record in supporting ideas and startups. As Tess O’Shea, founder from Seatox says, “There’s a lot of support here, sessions, one-to-ones. It just feels like you’re well looked after.” Tess is just one example from the University of the West of England’s Launch Space.

Tracey John, Director Research, Business & Innovation, UWE Bristol said: “We are thrilled to be leading this exciting new initiative for budding tech founders in the West of England. It’s fantastic to be collaborating with the University of Bristol, University of Bath, Bath Spa University and techSPARK to deliver this support over the next two years. Collectively, we have supported significant economic growth in the West of England, and ‘Start’ will further enhance the region’s offer for tech start-ups.

The UK tech sector is thriving, with start-up numbers leading in Europe, but there are significant imbalances with the make-up of founders. START will work with individuals at the very beginning of their journey to maximise opportunities for success, and, through accessible and equitable opportunities, we hope to attract more women and more people with disabilities to build successful businesses in the region.”

Richard Ennis Interim Acting Chief Executive of the West of England Combined Authority said: “Across the region, there are thousands of innovative people with a great idea for a new tech start up, but who are unsure of how to turn this concept into a business.

We are delighted to fund the START project which will provide much needed support for those at the beginning of their entrepreneurial journey and bring all manner of growth and new skills to the West of England”.

Abby Frear, Director of TechSPARK said: “We’re so excited to be launching Start in collaboration with WECA and the four West of England universities, especially as it’s an initiative dedicated to creating a more diverse and inclusive region. At techSPARK we’re fortunate to spend a lot of time with startups and founders, so we know the challenges they face. Start represents an amazing opportunity to provide the mentoring and skills that early-stage founders need to create a business and have the tools and support to scale it.”


START is a new and exciting pilot programme for the West of England region and will be delivered by a consortium of four universities: The University of the West of England, (UWE Bristol), The University of Bristol, The University of Bath, and Bath Spa University.

Led by UWE Bristol, partnered with techSPARK, the programme is funded by the West of England Combined Authority, and will provide a package of support and development for 150 pre-start and early formation tech/digital businesses across Bristol, South Gloucestershire, Bath and North East Somerset.

We support founders at the very earliest stages of their journey to give them a better chance of success, and through inclusive and equitable recruitment processes and programme design, we will seek to address the underrepresentation of tech founders who are women, disabled, and/or from Black, Asian and ethnically diverse backgrounds.

For more information contact

By email: hello@startyour.uk

By phone: +44 (0)117 32 86238

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