Advanced Oxford is a membership organisation for senior leaders from the major knowledge-intensive businesses and organisations in the Oxford region. We are research-led, providing insight, analysis and a united voice for our members on the key issues affecting the development of the innovation ecosystem in the Oxford region.

We generate our own research and work to support and inform key stakeholders involved in the development of the local innovation ecosystem, infrastructure and policy.

Our vision is for the Oxford region to be the most dynamic innovation economy in the UK.

Our mission is to work together to grow our innovation economy.

Working for Oxfordshire

We share a long-term commitment to the Oxford region because we live and work here. We want the region to be a dynamic and prosperous place; we want to develop and attract the best people and talent.

We think that quality of life in our region is just as important as economic growth, and sustainability is at the heart of what we want to achieve. Economic growth in the region provides opportunities that could benefit the lives of people and communities in Oxfordshire by creating new jobs and developing the skills that people need.

Advanced Oxford members employ hundreds of local people, so in being a voice that influences policy and decision-making, we want to ensure that our work affects people, communities and businesses in our region for the better.

How we are funded

Advanced Oxford is a membership organisation. We are independent and receive no funding from Government. Our work is supported by contributions – financial and in-kind – from our members.

Welcome from the Board

The innovation ecosystem in the Oxford region is thriving and we now have the chance to grow on a much larger scale – to become world leading.

Our members span the full breadth of innovative businesses, and those that facilitate their success. They employ hundreds of local people, as well as employees who have come from around the World to work and live within the region; they are all part of local communities. This makes us ideally positioned to explore and unlock exciting new opportunities for the success of our region by delivering economic growth and job creation. But we want to ensure that these benefits of growth are available to all.

We want to provide a united and effective voice for Oxfordshire’s high-tech industry and innovation community – a voice that is listened to by local, regional and central government – a voice that influences policy-making decisions that affect the people, communities and businesses in our region for the better. We want to be evidence led and share our knowledge and experience on the issues that matter, bringing our insight and analysis to decision makers to ensure there’s positive change for everyone.

Our board

Dr Gillian Burgess

Dr Gillian Burgess

Chair, Advanced Oxford


Until recently, Dr. Gillian Burgess was Site Head and Head of Research at Vertex Pharmaceuticals, where she was responsible for discovering new medicines. Prior to her appointment at Vertex, she worked in a variety of roles at UCB-Celltech, Pfizer and Novartis, helping to bring several compounds to clinical development and to market. Gillian is a member of the MRC DPFS Translational Panel, the MRC Translational Oversight Group and the Wellcome Trust Grant Interview Panel.

Sarah Haywood

Sarah Haywood

Managing Director, Advanced Oxford


Sarah Haywood joined Advanced Oxford as Managing Director in July 2019. She is also an Executive Director and previously CEO of MedCity, the life sciences cluster organisation for London and the southeast of England. Previously, she worked as a senior civil servant in a number of policy teams within BEIS and was responsible for the legislation that led to the shared parental leave system and the right to flexible working for all. She was recognised as one of the Timewise Power 50 Award winners in 2017.

 Jane Galsworthy

Jane Galsworthy

Director of Development, Oxford Innovation


Jane has been involved in the design and delivery of support for SMEs and entrepreneurs for over 15 years. She is part of the senior leadership team at Oxford Innovation and leads on design of practical support around growth, innovation and finance to support ambitious businesses and start-ups. She sits on the steering group of the Enterprise Research Centre which provides high quality, independent research and analysis to inform government policy on small and medium enterprises (SMEs) as well as the OxLEP Innovation Group. She has been recognised by BEIS for her contribution to SME policy.

Jens Tholstrup

Jens Tholstrup

Managing Director, Oxford Investment Opportunity Network (OION)


Jens Tholstrup

 Jens is Managing Director of Oxford Investment Opportunity Network (OION), Development Director SQW Group and Senior Advisor, Oxford Economics.

Previously, Jens was Managing Director UK, Oxford Economics, Executive Director, Oxford Analytica and Executive Director UBS.

Jens holds a MA in PPE and an MSc in Economic History, both from the University of Oxford. Jens is a trustee of the International Institute for Strategic Studies (IISS), a Director of Venturefest Oxford, Visiting Business Fellow at the Smith School of Enterprise and the Environment at Oxford University, a governor of St Clare’s, Oxford and a Trustee of Charity Mentors Oxfordshire. He is a member of the Society of Business Economists (SBE).

Steve Burgess

Steve Burgess

CEO, The Oxford Trust

Since 2013, Steve Burgess has been CEO of The Oxford Trust – an Oxford based charity that supports science education and enterprise locally. He is also on the board of Venturefest Oxford. Previous to his role at the Trust, he was Director of Development at the Cheltenham Festival, Europe’s largest science festival. Prior to this, he had a long career in the pharmaceutical and chemicals industry, holding senior positions with the German company Merck KGaA in the UK, USA and Canada, and other groups before moving into the third sector.

The Advanced Oxford board

Advanced Oxford’s board, 6th June, 2023, at the launch of Oxfordshire’s Innovation Engine, 2023.  Wood Centre for Innovation, Oxford.

Our team

Sarah Haywood

Managing Director, Advanced Oxford

Georgina Matthews

Communications Manager, The Oxford Trust

Marie Creed-Helliwell

Executive Assistant, Advanced Oxford



Lauren Hammonds

Communications Executive, Advanced Oxford

Adrian Colwell

Planning Consultant, Advanced Oxford

Latest research

Contributing and responding to Local Plans across Oxfordshire

Advanced Oxford is preparing submissions and responses to Local Plan consultation stages across the five Local Planning Authorities in ... read more

The convergence of life sciences and technology

New research from Bidwells, working with YouGov and Advanced Oxford, tracks the growing relationship between life science and ... read more

Innovation Hot Spots

New research, published today by The Centre for Cities, examines the geography of innovation clusters, taking an alternative approach ... read more