Our strategy

The Oxford Trust set up the first innovation centre in the UK over thirty five years ago and has helped build the foundations of the successful science economy we see in Oxfordshire today. We support this vibrant economy through our ongoing mission to encourage the pursuit of science and enterprise.

The Trust strives to place science and entrepreneurship at the heart of culture in our region so that everyone, irrespective of age or background, can develop their scientific and technological knowledge and understanding and science and tech companies can flourish and grow. We do this through delivering activities for three key objectives: Enterprise, Education and Engagement.

Our enterprise strategy
Our enterprise strategy is delivered directly by the Trust. We own the Oxford Centre for Innovation in central Oxford, which is home to 20 plus high-tech start-ups employing over 200 people and the Wood Centre for Innovation in Headington, which provides much-needed office, R&D labs, workshops and networking space for science and tech start-ups in the Oxford region. Find out more about how the Trust helps start-ups via our Escalator Support Programme.  The Trust also aims to create and support projects that put science and enterprise at the heart of our region, including the 2021 Covid Innovation Heroes Awards, Venturefest Oxford and Advanced Oxford.

Our education and engagement strategy
Our education and engagement programmes are delivered by the Science Oxford team. Our aim is to switch young people on to science; to show that science can be can cool, can lead to an amazing career and can change lives. We do this by running an extensive outreach programme in schools that reaches thousands of young people every year. In 2019, we opened the Science Oxford Centre which is the UK’s first integrated indoor-outdoor science education centre for early years and primary-aged children. We also run a club and event programme to engage people of all ages in science and technology, including Family Days every Saturday at the Science Oxford Centre.

Our innovative business model

We have a simple but effective sustainable business model. We own and run the Oxford Centre for Innovation and the Wood Centre for Innovation, which support STEM (science, technology, engineering and maths) enterprise by providing cost-effective, flexible office space for local science and tech start-ups. Income from this activity is reinvested to support innovation across the region and Science Oxford’s science education and engagement programmes. The strength of this model is that it is self-sustaining and supports both ends of the science ecosystem, from inspiring young children about the wonders of science to helping science start-ups to develop and grow.

What sets us apart?

The Trust prides itself on:

  • Our people: we have a team of dedicated and experienced staff and trustees whose skills cover a range of expertise in STEM, education, public engagement and business.
  • Our independence and reputation: our organisation is entirely independent and has a reputation for being unbiased.
  • Our networks: whether it is business, education or public engagement, the Trust is well linked into local, regional, national and international networks.
  • Our partnerships: the Trust fully recognises that in order to deliver its mission mutually beneficial partnerships with other organisations must be built and supported.
  • Our organisational and financial stability: established in 1985, our organisation has demonstrated thirty plus years of stable and secure operation through strategic investments and long-term planning.
  • We are nimble and innovative: we are a relatively small organisation, and have a track record of testing new ideas, developing high quality projects and delivering programmes that have real impact.

A new chapter

The opening of the Science Oxford Centre and the Wood Centre for Innovation in Headington in 2019 was the start of an exciting new chapter for the Trust and has enabled us to increase our reach and impact across the region. We are now engaging more young people in science, inspiring more teachers, and adding capacity to Oxfordshire’s dynamic innovation ecosystem.

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