The University of Cambridge's mission is to contribute to society through the pursuit of education, learning and research at the highest international levels of excellence. It is made up of 31 colleges and more than 100 departments that cater for some 12,000 undergraduate and 6,000 postgraduate students.

The university's reputation for outstanding academic achievement is known worldwide and reflects the intellectual achievement of its students, as well as the world-class original research carried out by the staff of the university and the colleges.

Some of the world's most significant scientific breakthroughs have occurred at the university, including the splitting of the atom, invention of the jet engine and the discoveries of stem cells, plate tectonics, pulsars and the structure of DNA. From Isaac Newton to Stephen Hawking, the university has nurtured some of history's greatest minds and has produced more Nobel Prize winners than any other UK institution, with more than 80 laureates.

Cambridge's great libraries and collections are housed in eight world-class museums and in the colleges are scholarly resources of outstanding international significance.

Cambridge attracts the brightest and best students, researchers and academics from across the world, with a student population drawn from 135 different countries.

The University of Cambridge is consistently ranked among the foremost universities in the world. According to the Academic Ranking of World Universities, compiled by Shanghai Jiao Tong University, Cambridge is Europe's top higher education institution. The Guardian places the university as the top UK institution. In 2011, the QS World University Rankings place Cambridge as the world's top-performing higher education institution. Cambridge has also been placed top of the Times Higher Education table of tables.

Why the University of Cambridge is supporting the Big Innovation Centre

"The University of Cambridge, along with all higher education institutions, is committed to undertaking excellent research and making sure that its research is converted into new technologies, improving the society in which we live, and making sure that the implications of that research can be understood and exploited in the formulation of policy.

Extensive research programmes in healthcare, low-carbon technologies and advanced manufacturing are well established in Cambridge and internationally recognised. Increasingly, we see the importance of interfacing this research in sciences and engineering with our research skills and expertise in the social sciences to drive innovation. Our Centre for Science and Policy is already active in this area and the University is establishing formal educational programmes in public policy. Forming the right networks and improving lines of communication across higher education institutions, government, public and private sectors are essential to achieving our goals. The Big Innovation Centre offers an exciting opportunity for Cambridge to work with people across organisations and sectors, with the common vision of making the UK a hub for global innovation."

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