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      A Brave New World, Where We Must Be Braver

      What is it that makes the Oxford-Cambridge Arc unique?

      17 Feb 2022 Saul Western, Head of Commercial, Bidwells

      What is it that makes the Oxford-Cambridge Arc unique? This is the simple question that investors, academics, businesses, and entrepreneurs are faced with when considering the crucial question of where to invest their capital, where to study, of deciding where their business can innovate and grow or where their expertise can be put to the best use.

      Since the first examples appeared in the 1970s, the world has seen the emergence of many science parks and regional tech clusters, from Silicon Valley in the United States to Gyeonggi in South Korea – places where industry leaders in science and technology-based R&D have benefited from the clustering model, where co-located businesses and researchers become, through intense collaboration, far greater than the sum of their parts. What is it about the Arc that puts it above these established and emerging competitors?

      The true answer to this question lies in the Arc’s greatest asset: its stock of knowledge capital.

      The region has an extraordinary ability to produce, attract and retain talent and knowledge, a self-sustaining ecosystem of academic and research excellence. This is fostered in no small part by its universities; Oxford, Cambridge, Anglia Ruskin, Cranfield, Bedfordshire, Oxford Brookes, and MK:U, and then propelled by cutting-edge businesses, research institutes, accelerators and tech clusters.

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      We must never underestimate the attraction to companies and investors of operating within the Arc.

      By co-locating themselves within a region with an intense and long-standing culture of academic excellence and research and development-led innovation, employers can dip into a ready-made pool of exceptional talent and benefit from an ongoing academic churn from some of the most renowned universities in the world. In tech clusters from Harwell in Oxfordshire to Babraham in Cambridgeshire, knowledge capital is built and compounded by the reinforcing influence of co-located resources, capital and talent that makes the steps from research project to start-up to global company shorter than ever before.

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