Ecosystem Builders

Ecosystem Builders

ecosystem builder

Universities play a number of different roles in the economic development of places, with their roles varying by the characteristics of place.

One narrative about the role of universities in place focusses on entrepreneurship. Universities shape places through the creation of new knowledge and technology rich companies and entrepreneurs. This is sometimes described as the “entrepreneurial ecosystem” and features in discussion in, for example, the origin of Silicon Valley.

Research England, UKRI, has convened a steering group to describe the London ecosystem. This includes the features of London universities and of London as a place that shape it as a hotspot of entrepreneurship. The steering group comprises representatives from London universities and key enterprise bodies. The Group recognise that experts debate whether generic models of ecosystems and clusters are feasible. For this reason, the steering group focuses its work on the experience in London, with any wider policy conclusions as a later consideration.

The Steering group has ambitious aims:

  • To describe the experience of the London ecosystem and how it works, with an aspiration to develop a model that is predictive and to understand how components must combine to produce outputs
  • To draw conclusions on how the ecosystem may develop further
  • And to share insights with ecosystem builders in other places, as well as with national policy-makers, particularly Research England as the sponsor of the project. This work is exploratory and there may be effective approaches tried elsewhere.

The project is progressing in stages, with a description and outputs of each stage published here. The steering group would welcome feedback on its published materials as well as its approach, including: additional references to enrich its work and comparisons with programmes of work of others undertaking similar projects.

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