‘Where you work is more significant than where you sleep’

Extracts from the Universities of Bloomsbury and East London Doctoral Training Partnership Business Collaboration Showcase Event

This event was organised by Didobi and hosted by the UCL, Bloomsbury and East London Doctoral Training Partnership on 22nd October 2019.

The aim of the event was to illustrate examples of engagement with industry through a number of collaborative research projects. The presentations were aligned to the UBEL DTP Cities, Environment & Development pathways along with illustrating the use of commercial data to underpin academic research.

After a welcome and explanation of the UBEL Pathways from Professor Li Wei, Chair of the UBEL DTP, Professor Paul Longley (UCL) gave a presentation on ‘The value of academic research in the real world’. His presentation covered a broad array of examples of collaborative research and discussed the ladder of engagement with commercial organisations from sponsoring a Masters dissertation to the co-creation of data. Professor Longley also illustrated the impact of retail structure on places and its interaction with geography.

There were three showcases delivered by the academic and representatives from the commercial organisation;

The Local Data Company, a retail data and analytics company, and its co-creation of data with UCL through the footfall technology ‘SmartStreetSensor’.

  • dunnhumby, a consumer data analytics company, where collaborative research is being undertaken with a UCL PhD student on the subject of ‘Understanding the customer mission’.
  • Huq, a mobile geo-data analytics company, where the focus of the collaborative research with UCL is on ‘Applying new forms of data in retail location analysis’.

The final presentation was from a UCL PhD student who has recently commenced a co-funded PhD with Arup, an engineering and design company for the built environment, where the title of the research is ‘What makes a successful bicycle sharing scheme?’

There was then a question and answer session chaired by Matthew Hopkinson of Didobi and Visiting Professor at UCL. Issues around commercial sensitivity of data sharing, competing commercial organisations collaborating with academics and what is required to create strong commercial engagement and impact with industry were discussed.

“Collaboration between academics and industry is a key driver for innovation and growth in any economy. The UK has some of the greatest universities and companies, some who are actively engaged in academic research, but there is opportunity for others. I hope that by building links between the two we will see a growth in the impact of academic research for the wider benefit of all.” Matthew Hopkinson

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