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The University of Southampton
Interdisciplinary Research Excellence

Dolphins, Octopuses, Seagulls and Clams: The life of the SMMI Barrelman Event

12:00 - 13:00
4 February 2016
University of Southampton, Boldrewood Innovation Campus, Building 176, Room 2013

For more information regarding this event, please telephone Dr Yeping Xiong on +44 (0)23 80596619 or email .

Event details

For more information regarding this seminar, please telephone Dr Yeping Xiong on +44 (0)23 80596619 or email

Like it or not it’s a fact of modern higher education (research and teaching) that links with business are becoming paramount. This is particularly true at the moment. Our reliance on capitalism as the organising principle for our society, coupled with the global economic downturn, puts increasing emphasis on the value of research and teaching outputs as a mechanism for enhancing economic growth. Drawn from experiences over the past two decades and focusing more recently on the perspective of the Southampton Marine and Maritime Institute (SMMI), this talk explores in a practical way the links between academia and industry. For those unfamiliar with SMMI’s structure and function the talk will outline the Institute’s purpose and highlight its operating principles: think ‘dating agency’ are you’re not too far from the mark. The talk explores the different ‘species’ that exist in the world between academia and industry, and offers a personal perspective on the future of research funding in a world dominated by the need for efficiency, austerity and economic growth based on knowledge. Taking great care not to provide too many direct answers, the talk poses the question ‘where might FSI be in 2025’ and wonders to what extent the future remains in our own hands.

Speaker information

Dr Simon Gerrard,,has over 10 years’ experience as an academic, albeit quite some time ago now, and nearly 20 years’ experience working in the area between academia and industry. He arrived at Southampton University in March 2014 as the Industry Liaison Manager in the Southampton Marine and Maritime Institute (SMMI). Two key roles of this post are to diversify the University’s research funding and enhance its global distinctiveness in marine and maritime activity. The principle method of achieving these aims is by stimulating greater levels of multi- and inter-disciplinary research between academics, researchers, business, government and other organisations. Prior to this post (1988-1999) Simon was a member of faculty in the School of Environmental Sciences at the University of East Anglia, Norwich. His research focused on environmental risk management. Formerly an advisor to the World Health Organisation on Risk Communication, Simon established the European Risk Communication Network – a place where academics and practitioners could meet to discuss risk communication. Similarly, Simon ran the East Anglian Business Environment Club, another academic/industry network. In 1999 he became the School’s first Business Innovation Manager responsible for creating an outreach and commercialisation platform. In 2002 he established the Community Carbon Reduction (CRed) programme, the first of its kind in the UK. Through a few more steps, this led to the creation of a university spin-out carbon management consultancy which, amongst other things, operated a range of low carbon technology investment funds.

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