University Alliance Chair Professor Steve West to speak at The Guardian University Forum

Issue date: 21 February 2014

UWE Bristol Vice-Chancellor and University Alliance Chair Professor Steve West will contribute to a panel on 'Fostering Student Innovation and Entrepreneurship' at The Guardian University Forum 2014 on Wednesday 26 February 2014 in London.

In today's highly competitive job market, some graduates may consider starting up their own business. Chaired by Guardian Universities Editor, Judy Friedberg, the panel will consider the role universities play in nurturing student entrepreneurship and innovation. Other themes of the discussion 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, Professor Steve West 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 Bristol, our Business (Team Entrepreneurship) 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.”

Professor West will be joined on the panel by Hushpreet Dhaliwal, chief executive, National Association of College and University Entrepreneurs and Peter Brewin, founding director, 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.

In May 2008 Professor West took up the position as Vice-Chancellor of UWE Bristol becoming 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.

In 2013, Professor 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 11:35 and 12:15. For updates on Twitter throughout the forum follow the hashtag #GdnUniForum.

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