Nick Russill has been appointed as Royal Society Entrepreneur in Residence.

Exeter's new Entrepreneur in Residence to develop global opportunities for success

The University of Exeter has a new Entrepreneur in Residence, appointed as part of a Royal Society scheme, to support UK universities in translating world-leading research and entrepreneurial vision into new businesses and commercial products.

Nick Russill, a qualified Exploration Geologist, established TerraDat Geophysics in 1992, a specialist mapping company providing 3D information about the subsurface and above-ground built and natural environments.

Having previously been awarded ‘Young Welsh Entrepreneur of the Year’ Nick has also won several business awards for the export of expertise from Wales. He has a passion for entrepreneurialism and innovation.

Nick explained: “I graduated from Cardiff University in Exploration Geology and started my career working in Australia for a large mining company. Although a great experience, it left me with a strong desire to be my own boss in control of my own destiny. I went on to co-found four successful businesses and 25 years later employ 20 geoscientists in one of Europe’s leading geophysical survey companies. We operate a group of websites that provide over 40 million outdoor sports enthusiasts with weather forecasts and maintain strong links with academic research activities.

I was drawn to apply for the role Entrepreneur in Residence because of two things: mutually rewarding past work with staff and students from Exeter, and the opportunity to contribute to an engineering course that combines entrepreneurialism with applied engineering challenges.”

Nick will now be funded to spend 20 per cent of his working time in residence over the next two years, sharing his expertise and insight with students and staff at Exeter. He will work within the College of Engineering, Mathematics and Physical Sciences, where he will support the design and delivery of the College’s new entrepreneurial education programme.

Remarking on the programme, Nick said: “Exeter is already proving that the inclusion of entrepreneurial elements to the course structure is of huge benefit to the students who will graduate into the competitive world of industry with a clear advantage in terms of skills and experience in business. The contribution of an Entrepreneur in Residence will, I hope, add a dimension of reality based on my own experiences both good and bad. Plus I hope to prove through my own example that anyone can embark on a path to success if they believe in themselves and their goals. I strongly believe in building a career or business on something you love doing at the same time as maintaining a healthy work life balance.”

Commenting on his aspirations for the future Nick said: “As an employer of a workforce taking on new recruits from a younger generation and a father of two bright young girls, I feel as the years go by that it’s important to build a legacy that is far more than simply growth or wealth of one’s business. These people are the future of not just industry, but also our Planet for many generations to come. My aspirations are to share my passion, learnings and beliefs with as many people as possible to drive change for a better future.

Through academic research and industrial applications I would like to contribute to developing more sustainable ways of doing business. Through promotion of the idea of innovation and the entrepreneurial spirit, I’d like to ignite the spark in people from primary school pupils through to academics so that they could at least consider a path to building on their own particular brand of excellence.”

Joe Pearce, Head of Business Support, Innovation, Impact and Business, said: “I have seen the results that Entrepreneurs in Residence have delivered in collaboration with our SETsquared Exeter business support provision.

Nick brings a wealth of understanding to the role. He has a clear goal to make a difference by sharing his passion for business and innovation. I congratulate Nick on his post and look forward to working with him.”

Nick’s Entrepreneur in Residence post at Exeter follows Professor Rob Lee and Roger Killen, Entrepreneurs in Residence at the BioEconomy Centre and Living Systems Institute respectively.

Date: 27 February 2019

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