Skip to content
Back to news

GW4 joins new initiative to boost the South West’s life sciences sector

GW4 joins new initiative to boost the South West’s life sciences sector

The GW4 Alliance has joined a new initiative to increase the visibility of the South West’s growing life sciences ecosystem.

Led by the University of Bristol’s Translational Research Hub, South West Life Sciences brings together eight partner organisations with expertise across discovery, development, investment and innovation in the life sciences: Bristol Health Partners, Bristol Trials Centre, GW4, Health Innovation West of England, Invest Bristol & Bath (part of the West of England Combined Authority), Science Creates, South West and Wales Advanced Therapies Network, and the University of Bristol.

The South West is a region with huge potential for growth and investment. It is home to over 370 life sciences companies, and employs approximately 20,000 people in the sector. The West of England sub region is the third fastest growing life sciences sector in the UK for employment, and its life sciences and technology related ecosystem was valued at £8.1bn in 2022.

The South West has made some of the UK’s most exciting advances in life sciences - from accelerating life-saving gene therapy research to launching the UK’s most powerful supercomputer. Unlike other regions of the UK, to date the South West has lacked a regional advocacy body and co-ordinated promotion of its life sciences sector. These stories of innovation and collaboration are brought to life on South West Life Sciences’ new website

Funded by an existing Wellcome Translational Partnership Award awarded to the University of Bristol, the initiative aims to support life sciences in the South West by fostering a joined up local life sciences innovation ecosystem and acting as catalyst for its growth through making connections. It will advocate for its partners and the South West’s life sciences so that their voices are heard outside the region by government, industry, investors and international organisations. It is a first step towards establishing an advocacy organisation for the South West, which will increase the visibility of the region’s life sciences ecosystem.

Professor Jeremy Tavaré, Pro Vice-Chancellor and Executive Dean for the Faculty of Health and Life Sciences at the University of Bristol, said: “Bristol is committed to building research partnerships that help make a positive impact by tackling global health challenges. It is exciting to see the launch of South West Life Sciences that will help drive new collaborations, increased investment and recognition of the excellent science taking place in our region, all with the shared aim of developing innovative treatments for diseases and advancing life sciences for a healthier future.”

Dr Sarah George, Head of the Translational Research Hub at the University of Bristol, says: “We’re excited to have brought South West Life Sciences to life with our partners and we’re looking forward to working with more organisations in the future. We want to help them, and the region, benefit from the initiative, for example through new collaborations, increased investment and recognition of the excellent science taking place in our region. In the long term, we hope to develop South West Life Sciences into an independent organisation providing expanded services and support for its partners.”

With significant research power and expertise across the life sciences, and a growing portfolio of life sciences spinouts and active partnerships with globally-leading pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies, the GW4 Alliance universities are natural partners for the new South West Life Sciences initiative.

Dr Joanna Jenkinson MBE, GW4 Alliance Director, said: “Collaboration sits at the heart of the GW4 Alliance. Our institutions are committed to driving impactful life and health science research excellence and innovation to help address some of society’s most pressing health challenges, the many health inequalities in our region, and help drive economic growth. GW4 currently represents the South West in conversations between the UK’s life science clusters, so we are pleased to join forces with our partners at Bristol’s Translational Research Hub to help raise the profile of the flourishing South West life and health sciences portfolio.”

To find out more about South West Life Sciences, contact

University of Bath
University of Bristol
Cardiff University
University of Exeter