Arc Universities

The Arc Universities Group (AUG) welcomes the government’s recently published Innovation Strategy, which sets out plans to cement the UK’s position as a world-leader in science, research and innovation.

The AUG is made up of nine universities across the Oxford-Cambridge Arc working towards inclusive and sustainable economic growth for the region, an area of designated national economic significance. With the Prime Minister describing the Oxford to Cambridge region as ‘the greatest scientific constellation in this hemisphere’, the work being led by the AUG already incorporates many of the future themes identified in the Innovation Strategy.

The Strategy recognises areas where the UK has globally competitive R&D and industrial strength and that will transform our economy in the future. These include Advanced materials and Manufacturing; AI, Digital and Advanced Computing; Bioinformatics and Genomics; Engineering Biology; Electronics, Photonics and Quantum; Energy and Environment Technologies; Robotics and Smart Machines.

The Innovation Strategy places an emphasis on the role that businesses will have in the development of new technologies. Through investment and collaboration between industry, academia and government, the Oxford-Cambridge has the potential become a global innovation powerhouse within just a few years.

Professor Alistair Fitt is Chair of the Arc Universities Group and Vice Chancellor of Oxford Brookes University. He explains:

“The government’s Innovation Strategy is closely aligned with our collective vision for the Arc. The skills we develop, the facilities and expertise in our universities, the research, innovation and partnerships with industry all play a crucial part in developing the region and the UK’s world-leading position in innovation for the long term.”

The collaboration between the Arc universities and business across the region is demonstrated through the five themes that the Arc Leadership Group has identified in the Economic Prospectus.

Life Science innovation network: 

Building on the world-leading capability of the clusters around Oxford and Cambridge, breakthroughs of the Oxford-Astra Zeneca vaccine and the prominence of expertise in the research-led universities and the manufacturing, diagnostic and AI capabilities. The network will facilitate increased opportunities for greater collaboration, accelerate innovation and commercialisation and power the scaling up of high growth spinout companies to create high tech, high-value jobs across the Arc.

Sustainable aviation: 

OCAVIA (Oxford-Cambridge Arc Virtual Institute for Aviation) has been formed to forge a pathway towards zero-carbon aviation, delivering a leadership position for the UK in the evolving global market of ‘green’ aviation. Five of the Arc universities are working with a 20-strong industry advisory body, with a focus on skills, sustainable aviation fuels, and creating a digital twin of London Luton Airport, seeking to evolve the complex infrastructure of an airport to accommodate new fuel sources to power the airport and the aircraft of the future.

The Arc in Space: 

Maximising the world-leading space capabilities of the Arc’s universities, the global potential of the Harwell Space Cluster and rocket and propulsion and testing capabilities

at Westcott Venture Park, to position the UK as a market leader in space technologies and applications to meet the national ambition for 10% share of the global space market.

Future mobility: 

The ambition is to strengthen the Arc as the UK’s hub for the development, testing and rollout of Connected and Autonomous Vehicles (CAV) and underpinning technologies.


Zero-carbon energy: 

Working to accelerate solutions to tackle climate change and enable us to advance towards a zero carbon Arc, we are building on collaborations between industry and academia through national energy systems demonstrator pilots in Oxfordshire, hydrogen research at Cranfield, the trialling and testing of hydrogen fuel in HGVs at Chelveston and world leading research in fusion technology at Culham Science Centre, home of the UK Atomic Energy Authority.


Read the government’s Innovation Strategy here:

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,