Robin is also director of the Agri-tech Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly Project (‘ACP’) an £11.8m initiative, running to June 2021, part funded by the European Regional Development Fund, Cornwall Council and the Council of the Isles of Scilly. The ACP supports ambitious small and medium-sized Cornish companies develop innovations to improve efficiency, profitability and resilience in the agricultural sector – in field or moor, forest or shore. The project is led by the Duchy College Rural Business School in partnership with leading research institutions – the Universities of Exeter and Plymouth and Rothamsted Research – and the Cornwall Development Company.
Before joining Duchy College, Robin was the Chief Executive Officer of Peninsula Innovations Limited (‘PIL’), a wholly owned subsidiary of the University of Exeter. Robin created PIL as a self-sustaining vehicle for economic development: through a campus Innovation Centre and separate Science Park Centre, PIL provided high-growth potential knowledge-intensive businesses with offices and laboratories, conference centres and cafes, IT and business support services.
PIL’s resources, operational surplus and people helped develop collaborative initiatives – innovation ecosystems – for the wider Exeter region, notably:
• Vibrant networks and activities including, the Exeter Initiative for Science & Technology, the South West Centre of Excellence in Satellite Applications, Castle Demos, Exeter Startup Weekend, and Venturefest South West.
• The Exeter SETsquared facility – part of the enterprise partnership of the Universities of Bath, Bristol, Exeter, Southampton and Surrey – together, voted the world’s best University Incubator.