How we lead in fostering student innovation: UWE vice-chancellor to speak on high-profile panel

February 21, 2014

UWE vice-chancellor Professor Steve West has been selected to take part in a panel debate on how best to foster student innovation and entrepreneurship.

Chaired by Guardian Universities editor Judy Friedberg at The Guardian University Forum 2014, the panel will consider the role universities play in nurturing student entrepreneurship and innovation.

Other themes of the discussion, which takes place next Wednesday in London, include university spinouts vs student start-ups, how to create an entrepreneurship ecosystem, entrepreneurship in the UK and international models.

Speaking ahead of the panel, Prof West, pictured, who also chairs the University Alliance – the grouping of the UK's most innovative and enterprising universities – said: “Fostering a spirit of innovation and entrepreneurship in our students is vital to their success, future patterns of growth in the UK and our global competitiveness.

“This requires new approaches to teaching and learning and new ways of supporting and nurturing our students. Across Alliance universities our entrepreneurial learning and research environments are core to our culture and approach.

“At UWE, our Business programme is an excellent example of this at work – where there are no lectures – instead students set-up and run their own team company that will earn money finding and completing real projects for real organisations.

“Strong partnerships with employers are critical to success – working together to create the innovative leaders and knowledge generators that will shape the future.”

Joining Prof West on the panel will be National Association of College and University Entrepreneurs chief executive Hushpreet Dhaliwal and Peter Brewin, founding director of Concrete Canvas.

The panel is part of a wider forum on Competing on a Global Stage and will address UK higher education at home and abroad. Themes include the future of UK higher education policy ahead of the next election, international growth, and the impact of immigration policy on UK higher education.

Prof West took up the position as Vice-Chancellor of UWE in May 2008 and become chair of University Alliance in August 2012. University Alliance brings together 22 of the most innovative and enterprising universities in the UK – major institutions combining science and technology with a focus on delivering for the professions, business and the community.

Last year Prof West became president of Bristol Chamber of Commerce and chair of the West of England Initiative, forging the link between a business-facing university and the business leadership organisation Business West.

  • Fostering Student Innovation and Entrepreneurship will take place between 11:35am and 12:15pm. For updates on Twitter throughout the forum follow #GdnUniForum.

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