The Duke today visited Bristol and South Gloucester to attend three engagements to support enterprise and education in the region.
HRH’s visit began at Engine Shed, the new home of the Bristol SETsquared Centre, Invest in Bristol and Bath, and Webstart Bristol.
The Duke had previously visited the University of Bristol’s SETsquared Centre in 2011, and returned to find the team in an impressive new space that connects Bristol’s past engineering heritage with the city’s future as a hub for technical expertise.
HRH visited the Webstart offices to meet online entrepreneurs going through an intense 10 week incubation programme designed to develop their business ideas into new start-ups. The Duke then joined representatives from Webstart, Setsquared and Invest in Bristol and Bath for a roundtable discussion on the state of enterprise in the region, before visiting two businesses in the SETsquared centre: a manufacturer of advanced radio amplification technology and the creators of a new radar based screening technology to detect breast cancer.
HRH then joined BBC points west for an interview, which you can see here.
Nick Sturge, Director of Engine Shed and of the Bristol SETsquared Centre, said: “We are honoured that The Duke of York was able to visit us again and see our exciting new home. It is invaluable that Bristol and Bath are acknowledged for the robustness and vibrancy of the tech start-up scene”.
You can find out more about SETsquared Bristol here.
The Duke’s second stop in Bristol was at the Old Library in East Bristol, home to IntoUniveristy.
IntoUniversity works with primary school pupils in areas where there have been historically low rates of university entry in order to raise aspirations and confidence among young people who may not have access to roll models who can explain how higher education might be relevant for them.
HRH joined head teachers from local primary schools, the IntoUniversity team and the Vice Chancellor of the University of Bristol for an update on IntoUniversity in Bristol, before joining children from St Nicholas of Tolentine School for a workshop on sustainability run by IntoUniversity with the help of volunteers from the University of Bristol.
Centre leader Rachel Reid, 27, told the Bristol Post: “The children were really excited about the visit. The Duke was really interested in what we were doing and he liked the fact there were so many volunteers from the university involved, who mentor the young people.”
You can find out more about IntoUniversity on their website: http://intouniversity.org/
The Duke then travelled to South Gloucester, to visit the Bristol Robotics Laboratory (BRL), a joint project by the University of Bristol and University of the West of England.
The BRL is the leading and largest academic centre for multi-disciplinary robotics research in the UK, and HRH was invited to visit following an introduction at the ‘Knowledge is GREAT’ event in Bahrain in January.
The Duke sat down with academics and university leadership for a full briefing on the purpose of the BRL and how its work was progressing, before taking a whistle-stop tour of the impressive facility. HRH was show robotic technology being designed to care for the elderly, respond to nuclear accidents, and to be used in medical treatment.
The Duke concluded his visit to BRL by meeting innovative start-up businesses based in the incubation facilities, with product developments in gaming, plastic reflective displays, 3D printing and robot kits for STEM education.
Professor Chris Melhuish, Director of BRL and Professor of Robotics and Autonomous Systems at the University of Bristol, said: “Our focus is to bring together the excellent facilities and multidisciplinary team at BRL with leading funders, innovators and to make the most of this opportunity for the region and the economy. We were very pleased to welcome His Royal Highness to BRL to share in this innovative work.”
You can find out more about the Bristol Robotics Laboratory at http://www.brl.ac.uk.