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The Business Partnerships Office (BPO) have been working closely with academics in the Nuffield Department of Women's & Reproductive Health to support business engagement in this important multidisciplinary field. Many areas of Women’s health face significant unmet clinical need and therefore there is a strong imperative to collaborate with businesses to drive the translation of Oxford’s innovate research.

Pregnant woman with ctg belt recording the fetal heartbeat and the uterine contractions

Oxford has a long history of pioneering research in Women’s Health with a track record of innovation in foetal monitoring, the study of pre-eclampsia, IVF and early foetal growth and development. The Nuffield Department of Women's & Reproductive Health (NDWRH) encompasses multi-disciplinary research across the full spectrum of Women’s Health, often working in areas of unmet clinical and societal need.

Through close working relationships with academic leadership, the Business Partnerships Office (BPO) has worked with the academic community in NDWRH to deliver their vision for innovation and business partnering. Over the last five years the team have supported activities ranging from managing multi-project long-term alliances with global pharmaceutical companies to supporting broader engagement with a wide range of innovative small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs).

The BPO is supporting a major collaborative research effort with Bayer Healthcare, researching novel drug targets for a range of conditions.

The BPO facilitated early discussions with the scientific teams defining the scope of collaborations then worked closely with Research Services and departmental administration to put agreements in place. The team provide ongoing support through dedicated project and alliance management which is starting to deliver significant scientific outcomes. The alliance has recently been renewed for a further 3 years, due in no small part to the spirit of collaboration, trust and openness of this strong joint endeavour.

More recently, the BPO have worked with departmental leadership to develop a strategy to increase engagement with SMEs, to form mutually beneficial and long-term relationships during their growth phases.


The BPO team have been extremely supportive of our academic community as we engage with business to help translate our research as well as accessing the latest technological development that can enable our research - Krina Zondervan, Head of Department, Nuffield Department of Women’s and Reproductive Health

Networking events, like Academic Industry Meeting days (AIMdays), are helping to lower the barrier to collaborative innovation. The AIMday provides a platform for companies to host one-hour roundtable discussions attended by small groups of academics where ideas are exchanged on topics of mutual interest. This has proven to be both an effective way for companies to identify relevant academic expertise with a view to building future collaboration and a good way for academics to discover companies’ research challenges.

Our next AIMday will take place in 2021 and will focus on Women’s Health. More details will be announced on the AIMdays web page in due course.