US Ambassador Matthew W. Barzun visited Oxford this week (30 September) to learn about how the University is working with Oxford Brookes, Oxford City Council, local businesses and other groups to promote research, innovation and social entrepreneurship.
Speaking at the event, Ambassador Barzun said: This was a wonderful opportunity to hear more about what is happening here in the city. I was impressed with the use of the brand of Oxford and all of its history. This is happening while being inspired by the past, rather than imprisoned by it. I love what is happening here.'
Professor Andrew Hamilton, Vice Chancellor of the University of Oxford, said: 'Innovation is a key priority for the University and we were delighted to have the chance to show some of our groundbreaking research to the Ambassador, including Oxbotica, an exciting spin-out from our Mobile Robotics Group.'
Ambassador Barzun watched a demonstration from Oxbotica, a spin-out from the University of Oxford’s internationally acclaimed Mobile Robotics Group which specialises in mobile autonomy, navigation and perception.
He discussed global challenges in transport with Tim Schwanen from the University's Transport Studies Unit, and sustainable energy generation and use with Malcolm McCulloch’s Energy and Power Group from the Department of Engineering Science.
He met with representatives from NaturalMotion, a spin-out from the University’s Department of Zoology which was acquired in 2014 by US social games company Zynga for more than $527m.
Artie the artificial intelligence robot from Oxford Brookes' Department of Computing and Communication Technologies, the Oxford Brookes Racing team and Formula Student car, and Oxford-based hi-tech businesses Adlens and Nominet were also represented.
Following a wide-ranging discussion on partnership working and innovation, Ambassador Barzun visited Yellow Submarine in the city which is a fantastic example of social entrepreneurism in action. Yellow Submarine is an award-winning charity which aims to give some of the most disadvantaged people in Oxfordshire confidence, independence and a sense of self-worth. Ambassador Barzun visited the charity's Park End Street social enterprise café.
Ambassador Barzun visited the Saïd Business School to meet with representatives of the Oxfordshire Social Entrepreneurship Partnership (OSEP), local social enterprises Made with Joy, J2Events and Yellow Submarine and the new cohort of Skoll Scholars.
OSEP has been set up to help existing and prospective social entrepreneurs plan, develop and grow their businesses. It is an initiative managed and operated jointly by Oxford Brookes University, University of Oxford - including the internationally renowned Skoll Centre for Social Entrepreneurship - and Student Hubs.