public relations

Impactful communications
with an Agile twist

University of Oxford – Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund

The Industrial Strategy is the UK government’s long term plan to raise productivity through investment in research and development.

It focuses on Four Grand Challenges:

  • Artificial Intelligence and data
  • Ageing society
  • Clean growth
  • Future of mobility

It is a call for business, academia, and government to work together to build a Britain fit for the future.

Following on from a similar communications project with University of Bristol, Rachel approached Dr Deborah Spencer, the University of Oxford’s Lead for Industrial Strategy to support with a communications project.

The Challenge

The University of Oxford is renowned for its world leading research; it has a lead role to play in addressing and providing solutions to the Four Grand Challenges in collaboration with other academic institutions, government bodies, and with industry. 

To facilitate this work successfully, Deborah was looking to develop a communications strategy and gain support to implement so she could give quality time and attention to developing relationships with key internal and external stakeholders. She wanted to create ways for people to share and learn news relevant to the Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund and to help people better understand the opportunities available. 

The Solution

After initial discussions about the project which included introductions to the complex ideas and research on offer at Oxford, Rachel realised that she needed to take Deborah’s passion and knowledge of the subject and transform it into engaging and accessible material. 

Rachel conducted and delivered:

  • 5 case studies showcasing Oxford’s successes in accessing Industrial Strategy Challenge Funds (ISCF) across the four Grand Challenges: NCIMI, AI and Law, Robotics for a Safer World, DART and Project LEO.
  • Support to develop of a toolkit for university researchers to access ISCF funding opportunities
  • A suggested internal and external communications strategy with recommendations about how to further build communications activity around ISCF opportunities 


“I appreciated being able to brainstorm and bounce ideas with Rachel and her colleagues on the ISCF, they knew exactly what I was talking about, which is really useful in complex discussions. It was interesting to hear about her previous experience working with other universities too, this was a useful benchmark. I had a very positive experience and we would use them again in any future project work.”

Dr Deborah Spencer, Deputy Head of Innovation and Business Partnerships, ISCF lead, University of Oxford

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