Highlights of the Trust’s year

2019 has been an exciting year for The Oxford Trust with the opening of our Science Oxford Centre and Wood Centre for Innovation (WCFI) at Stansfeld Park in Headington. We now have nearly 40,000 sq ft of innovation space to support science and tech start-ups and grow-on businesses within the city. Close to Oxford’s health and data sciences quarter, the WCFI is starting to become established as a hub for science and tech businesses and is now home to Lurtis, Triteq, Low Carbon Hub, Sportside and Ultromics, with more exciting news in the pipeline!

Like proud parents, we have also watched many start-ups flourish under our roof at the Oxford Centre for Innovation (OCFI) and this year several successful and expanding businesses have fledged the nest and moved into larger premises, including Mirada Medical, Perspectum Diagnostics and Navenio. As they move on, it leaves us space to welcome a new cohort of young, dynamic and innovative businesses – such as Oxford Brain Diagnostics, DeepZen, Oxford VR and Habitat Energy.

Our Science Oxford Centre successfully completed its four-month test phase over the summer and formally opened to schools across Oxfordshire and Buckinghamshire in September. Since opening, we have welcomed over 1200 pupils from 21 schools and the diary of visits for 2020 is filling up fast with over 2109 pupils booked from 27 schools. Every other Saturday, we open our doors for special family days and these have been sold out since the first one on 31 May with over two thousand parents and children exploring our new centre and stunning 15-acre woodland.

The development of the Science Oxford Centre would not have been possible without the support of our fantastic patrons and donors. Thank you all. We are especially pleased to have new backing from the Edina Trust and the Oxford Schools Transport Partnership to help more disadvantaged schools cover transport costs, which we hope will widen access and participation to this wonderful educational resource.

Our Science Oxford team continues its brilliant schools outreach programme, delivering interactive workshops and shows to primary schools across the region as well as a wide range of popular weekend clubs and tech camps. Our STEM Careers Programme goes from strength to strength in developing high-quality work placements, experience weeks with local tech businesses and career fairs for secondary school students.

This year we’ve had to say goodbye to two long-serving and much valued Trustees – Georgina Ferry and Paul Brankin. Both have contributed hugely to the Trust and we would like to thank them for their hard work and commitment. Replacing Georgina and Paul are two new faces, Imam Monawar Hussain and entrepreneur Nicholas Cross.

Over the past two years, The Oxford Trust has experienced a period of rapid growth with the development of Stansfeld Park. In the longer term, this increased capacity will allow the Trust to continue its mission to ‘encourage the pursuit of science and enterprise’. We have some key objectives for the start of the new year. Top of the list is to complete the fitting out of our Science Oxford Centre and maximise the educational potential for our amazing 15-acre woodland. We would also like to find a partner, or partners, to help us fund the development and programming of the theatre space to widen community access and participation. Thirdly, we are hoping to grow our nationally-recognised STEM Careers Programme so that more students, especially those from underprivileged backgrounds, can participate.

If you can help to support our programmes, please get in touch. With your help, we can inspire more young people about the wonders of science and help more start-ups to develop and grow.

Thank you to everyone who has supported us this year. We would like to take this opportunity to wish you a joyous festive season and best wishes for the New Year.