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David Norwood donates £1.9m towards future home of innovation in Oxford University

Monday 06 March 2017

David Norwood, founder of IP Group and co-founder of Oxford Sciences Innovation, donates £1.9m for new innovation hub at Keble College.

The gift - one of the largest single donations to the College from an individual – will be used to support the construction of the H B Allen Centre. The Centre, which is being developed to mark the 150th anniversary of Keble College, will house 230 graduate students, a 120-seat lecture theatre, seminar rooms, an exhibition space, a café, a gym and facilities for visiting academics.

Norwood helped to set up Oxford Sciences Innovation (OSI) in 2015. The £580m investment vehicle focused on innovation stemming from Oxford University will be the lead tenant at the new H B Allen Centre, occupying the flagship building facing west on to the Woodstock Road and taking the majority of the under-quad space for their research and spinout activities. The Oxford Robotics Institute will also have a significant presence on the site.

OSI is the manager of the largest university venture fund worldwide and has had considerable impact throughout Oxford since its launch. OSI has proved to be a major catalyst for the upsurge of innovative activity around the University. The number of spinout companies based on Oxford University research doubling from 10 in 2015 to 21 last year, and the firms have been accompanied by a five-fold increase in investment activity, largely driven by OSI involvement.

David Norwood (Keble 1988), Director of Oxford Sciences Innovation, said:

“Spinouts need not only capital to succeed, but access to networks, advice and hands-on support. The new development at Keble seeks to build those networks around ideal facilities in a perfect location. The College gave me a starting platform to go on to have an impact on UK innovation, and I hope that this gift will encourage others to do the same.”

Sir Jonathan Phillips, Warden of Keble, added:

“The College is immensely grateful for David Norwood’s financial support and welcomes hosting OSI at the H B Allen Centre. The gift will further strengthen the bonds between the College and OSI, and will greatly enhance Keble’s central position in the University’s innovative future.”

The gift is in the form of shares in Oxford Sciences Innovation (OSI). Design for the Centre has been undertaken by Rick Mather Architects. Construction is underway and Keble College aims to open the new development in October 2018.