The 2022 PraxisAuril KE Award Finalists

The PraxisAuril KE Awards provide recognition nationally, and beyond, for the exceptional work that is taking place across the sector. Winning, or being shortlisted for an award, can enhance your reputation and that of your team and your institution.

Place-based KE initiative of the Year

This award recognises the success of a place-based KE initiative which demonstrates the value and impact that collaborative KE activity can have on a local ecosystem.

Lancaster University – Cumbria Innovations Platform II

The £5.7m Cumbria Innovations Platform aims to help boost economic growth in Cumbria by providing micro, small and medium enterprises with a competitive edge. This platform is unique and diverse in its offerings as it combines the capabilities of various departments from Lancaster University and the University of Cumbria to provide bespoke business support across the following disciplines: • Computing and Digital • Engineering • Management Science • Biology, biomedicine and forensics • Chemistry • Physics • Conservation • Environmental Science • Health and Sport • Law and Criminology Benefits include: • Access a unique combination of expertise and skills • Reduce the risk of research and development • Speed up innovation • Support the development and commercialisation of new products • Accelerate growth in innovative Cumbrian businesses Support available includes masterclasses on innovation, peer-to-peer leadership programme, access to over £45m scientific equipment for product development and testing, bespoke digital consultancy to exploit data and technology, and working with the Connected Places Catapult (CCP) our Connected Cumbria programme to tackle the connectivity challenges through social, physical and digital solutions. The Cumbria Innovations Platform project is part-funded by the European Regional Development Fund.

Edinburgh Napier University – KE in Vietnam and Beyond – Improving health outcomes for neonates

Edinburgh Napier, Scotland’s only university to produce graduates in the four fields of nursing (adult, child health, learning disabilities and mental health) and midwifery, developed a bespoke neonatal nurse education programme now being delivered at one of Vietnam’s largest hospitals and beyond. The impact of this work and the power of the partnership led to further courses being delivered, consultancy and research. Most importantly it has led to a 42.2% reduction in infant mortality; demonstrating the power of Knowledge Exchange across international lines.

University of Nottingham – Aerospace Unlocking Potential (Aerospace UP or AUP) – Exchanging knowledge by bringing together the aerospace supply chain across the Midlands to solve the challenges of the 21st century

Grant funding worth over £4.3 million has been awarded so far to Midlands-based aerospace SMEs, or companies seeking to diversify into the sector, as part of the Aerospace Unlocking Potential (Aerospace UP) programme which has been working at pace to support the regrowth of one of the largest aerospace clusters in the world. Aerospace UP is a £20m three-year programme being delivered by the University of Nottingham and the Midlands Aerospace Alliance (MAA), which is supported by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF). More than 300 companies have received support to achieve a wide range of goals such as to transform innovative ideas into commercial solutions, adapting manufacturing technologies for digitisation and electrification to develop greener technologies to help achieve net zero by 2050, enhance efficiency, diversify into new markets and map out successful strategies for growth. In addition to grants – valued at £1,000-£100,000 per eligible company – new ideas and advice from University or MAA experts give businesses a competitive advantage. Aerospace UP also provides access to the University’s Precision Manufacturing Centre and supports student placements, which drive knowledge exchange and give employers a skills boost at a time when they are in short supply and can be critical to success.

Commercial Deal of the Year

This award recognises a KE team (or KE professional) for delivery of outstanding impact through a particular deal (licensing, spinout, royalty etc.).

University of Bath – 2022: Gen3D acquired by Altair – a game changer for design engineers

Gen3D is a spinout technology company from the University of Bath that specialises in software to assist in the design of complex parts to be 3D printed (additive manufactured). In 2022 Gen3D was acquired by the multinational company Altair (Nasdaq: ALTR), a global leader in computational science and artificial intelligence (AI). Gen3D offers design software and consultancy to help engineers rapidly create complex components for the additive manufacturing process. It was founded in 2018 by three staff in the University’s Department of Mechanical Engineering – Dr Vimal Dhokia, Dr Wesley Essink, and Dr Joseph Flynn. Dr Steven Goguelin and Charles Bailey, alumni of the Department of Mechanical Engineering, were also instrumental in the success of Gen3D. Following the acquisition, the technology will be integrated into Altair Inspire, an intuitive and powerful family of software products that enables simulation-driven design throughout the entire product development lifecycle, from concept to reality. The software offered by Gen3D can be used to create parts including manifolds, filters, heat transfer surfaces, cooling systems and even medical implants, for use in diverse settings including the medical, aerospace, automotive, manufacturing and energy industries. James R. Scapa, founder and chief executive officer, Altair, said: “In addition to a powerful technology that helps organizations navigate the challenges of design for additive manufacturing, the Gen3D team brings deep industry knowledge and experience in advanced additive design techniques such as generative design, topology optimization, and lattice structure generation.”

University of Birmingham Enterprise – University of Birmingham/ Innova Medical Group – Rapid testing platform technology

A unique testing method invented at the University of Birmingham (UK) is set for a global rollout after its commercial rights were exclusively licensed to the world’s largest COVID-19 test provider, Innova Medical Group, Inc. Known as the Reverse Transcription-Free (RTF) platform technology, the Birmingham team demonstrated that detection of COVID-19 was achieved in as little as 10 minutes when coupled to exponential isothermal amplification methodologies (EXPAR). The speed of the test is based, in part, on its avoidance of slower, reverse transcriptase-based technologies. The ease of use and speed of lateral flow tests with the sensitivity of PCR testing means that the test could be deployed at entertainment venues, airport arrival terminals, and in remote settings where clinical testing laboratories are not available. Crucially, it can be used with testing techniques which bypass the need for laboratory equipment, and this is expected to reduce delays in waiting for test results, which currently require samples to be sent to specialist laboratories. The technology can be quickly adapted for use in non-hospital settings with multiple pathogens, extending its potential utility beyond COVID-19 and into other disease areas. IMG is aiming to accelerate RTF-EXPAR’s global rollout for widespread use by 2023.

UKRI-STFC – Spire Global HYMS License

The Hyperspectral Microwave Sounder (HYMS) is a new, advanced millimetre wave technology that delivers enhanced data for weather forecasting. The instrument was developed at the Science and Technology Facilities Council’s (STFC) RAL Space. It has been licensed for space deployment with space-based data and analytics company Spire Global, Inc.. HYMS offers up to four times more frequency resolution than a traditional weather satellite, and because a HYMS sounder is around 50 times smaller, it is possible to launch dozens of them, making a constellation that can image the same part of the atmosphere every half an hour. Spire and STFC will work together on a demonstrator mission of the HYMS, launching it on a 16-unit Spire satellite, with the long-term objective of launching a full constellation for atmospheric monitoring. This would, in principle, allow meteorological agencies and markets all over the world to access an additional space-based weather data set for more accurate forecasting based on near real-time weather observations

Academic Entrepreneur

Academic entrepreneurship provides a conduit for enterprising researchers to bring their discoveries to market. This award recognises those outstanding individuals who have worked with their KE office to translate their research to solve real world problems.

University of Strathclyde – Dr Stuart Hannah – Microplate

Dr Stuart Hannah transitioned from an early career researcher to the CEO of Microplate Dx and is passionate about improving the lives of those who suffer antimicrobial resistant infections. Microplate Dx incorporated in 2021 specialising in a low cost, easy to use, rapid diagnostic sensor test to tackle the major global health threat of antimicrobial resistance. With an estimated 5M antimicrobial resistant associated deaths in 2019 and suggestions by 2050 antimicrobial resistance infections could kill more than cancer and diabetes combined Microplate Dx exists to prevent and control the spread of antimicrobial resistance worldwide. Stuart’s entrepreneurial talents have been recognised through securing a Royal Society of Edinburgh Enterprise Fellowship, ICURe Programme placement and funding to develop the technology from Scottish Enterprise through their High Growth Spinout Programme. He has shown a flair for business, being awarded prizes in ScottishEdge, Converge Challenge and CPI and nominated for Research Project of the Year in the Herald Higher Education Awards as well as nominated for awards at the OBN Awards this year. His entrepreneurial talents secured Microplate Dx over £1M in private equity investment, non-dilutive grant funding and competition wins and will help Microplate Dx continue to grow and be a commercial success

Heriot-Watt University – Commercialising world-first circular economy brick

More than a decade ago, Professor Gabriela Medero set out to address the damaging drain the construction industry makes on precious natural materials. Building, training, and leading a multidisciplinary team, she’s achieved the biggest disruption in construction in centuries with the invention of the K-Briq – the world’s first brick made from more than 90% construction waste materials. Producing less than a tenth of the CO2 emissions of a traditional brick, it uses less than a tenth of the energy during manufacture. Successful entrepreneurs don’t succeed in isolation and Gabriela’s unique ability to simultaneously build her own and her team’s entrepreneurial skills and leadership expertise has accelerated her spinout company Kenoteq from world-leading research to industry adoption. Strategically using translational funding to build an ongoing partnership with a waste recycling facility and transformational funding to build a commercial facility, she’s driven ‘sustainability in construction’ into public and policy agendas. Building and nurturing partnerships is in her DNA including collaborations with ZWS, BE-ST and SEPA. She’s appeared on The One Show, CNN International and she’s one of the WE50 (top women in engineering 2022). Winner of the Times Higher Award STEM 2020, she’s accelerating the industry towards net zero

University of Liverpool – Professor Kate Black, University of Liverpool

Professor Kate Black is one of the University of Liverpool’s most successful academic founder-entrepreneurs. In 2019 she co-founded University of Liverpool spinout Meta Additive to commercialise a novel chemical approach to 3D printing that can manipulate materials on a molecular level, providing smarter, cheaper and more sustainable manufacturing solutions. Meta Additive was acquired by Desktop Metal, resulting in $4.7M income for the University of Liverpool. Professor Black continues to work collaboratively with other companies including AWE and Ceres Energy, and translates her research work to solve important challenges including the design and production of World Health Organisation approved visors used as part of personal protective equipment by local NHS staff during the COVID-19 pandemic. She works closely with the University of Liverpool’s IP Commercialisation team, who supported her through the spinout process. Professor Black shares her experiences of a successful commercialisation journey with the research community, helping to guide and inspire researchers and future spinout founders.

Investor Practitioner

This award recognises individuals who have made outstanding contributions to KE through their investment activities.

Oxford University Innovation Ltd – Jim Wilkinson, Oxford Science Enterprises (OSE)

Jim Wilkinson is CFO of Oxford Science Enterprises (OSE), the University of Oxford’s preferred investment partner. OSE has raised $1 billion to invest in Oxford companies, transforming world-leading science into world-changing businesses. As a key figure at OSE, Jim invests in relationships to make the partnership successful and enables operations to run as smoothly as possible. The partnership with Oxford University Innovation (OUI) has enabled OSE to build a portfolio of 80+ spinout companies in Life Sciences, Health Tech and Deep Tech. Since 2015 they have invested $500M in the portfolio, progressing 21 ventures to series B and beyond, including 2 IPOs and 6 trade sales, and have worked to build capacity for further future growth.

Net Zero project of the Year

The UK has committed to an ambitious Net Zero target by 2050.  This Award recognises collaborative KE projects that contribute to tackling climate change challenges taking us towards a better and more sustainable future.

University of Salford – Energy House 2.0

At a cost of £16m, the Energy House 2.0 laboratory has been supported by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) and the Office for Students. Commissioned in in February 2022, Energy House 2.0 is the largest research and test facility of its type. Incorporated in the facility are two environmental chambers each able to accommodate two detached houses and recreate a wide variety of weather conditions with temperatures between -20˚C to +40˚C together with wind, rain, snow and solar radiation. This unique facility will play a key role in accelerating UK progress towards low carbon and net zero housing design. The ERDF contribution has also enabled a major knowledge transfer and business engagement programme with local businesse, who have been provided with technical support and access to the Energy House 2.0 to further their development of innovative low carbon products. To date the project has engaged with over 150 businesses. In November 2022 the next phase of the project, which had been supported by Barratt Developments, Bellway Homes, and Saint-Gobain, will see the completion of two houses inside the environmental chambers. These houses will act as test beds for local businesses developing the next generation of low carbon products.

University of Plymouth – Plymouth’s Marine e-Charging Living Lab (MeLL)

The University of Plymouth is a leader in clean maritime research and innovation, especially through the success of the Marine eCharging Living Lab (MeLL). Delivered in partnership with Plymouth City Council, Princess Yachts Limited, and Aqua SuperPower, MeLL has enabled Plymouth, as Britain’s Ocean City, to be the first city to install a network of shore-side charging facilities for its expanding fleet of electric maritime vessels. This includes the world’s first 150kw charging facility and the UK’s first 75kw site. The e-marine network is providing pivotal infrastructure to accelerate innovation and growth to meet the increasing future demand of battery-powered vessels, with research embedded to ensure any environmental impacts are monitored. Access to e-charging facilities will enable and support the reduction of fossil-fueled vessels and emissions across the sector. Research by the University carried out during the early stages of MeLL has shown the network has the potential to reduce port emissions by 96.60% in the next 30 years. MeLL is also developing sensor technologies to assess the environmental and operational impacts of e-charging, supporting the route map for maritime net zero, and boosting the low carbon agenda regionally and nationally.

University of Bath – Innovation Centre for Applied Sustainable Technologies (iCAST):

The University of Bath’s Centre for Sustainable and Circular Technologies (CSCT) has launched a new £17 million Innovation Centre for Applied Sustainable Technologies (iCAST) funded by Research England. iCAST offers a solution as an innovation hub for companies working on clean growth technologies. It focuses on translating sustainable chemical technology research into commercial products to meet the UK’s Net Zero Carbon Emission objectives and tackle the global challenges such as the climate emergency, sustainable development and plastic pollution. iCAST brings together industry with expertise at the Universities of Bath and Oxford, the High Value Manufacturing Catapult’s Sustainability Partnership (National Composites Centre and Centre for Process Innovation), innovation experts at SETsquared, the Swindon and Wiltshire Local Enterprise Partnership (SWLEP), Swindon Borough Council and investors. The iCAST innovation space is located in Swindon’s iconic Carriage Works as part of the Innovation Campus for the Circular Economy (ICCE). This off-campus location provides a dedicated place where iCAST’s partners can work together on the Centre’s mission. Swindon itself provides national and international connectivity for iCAST businesses in the heart of the region’s Western Gateway Powerhouse innovation system, as well as close proximity to the lab facilities in Bath and Oxford.

KE Strategic Partnership

This award recognises the success of an external partnership which demonstrates the value of collaboration.

The Alan Turing Institute – Turing UK Defence & Security Strategic Partnership

The Turing UK Defence & Security Strategic Partnership, launched in 2017, is unique in its mission to act as a UK Hub to deliver collaborative data science and artificial intelligence (AI) research with impact in real-world scenarios. It brings together challenge owners from across the UK Defence and Security (D&S) community working collaboratively with data science and AI research scientists from across the country, spanning multiple academic disciplines Partnership priority themes include: 1) understanding data; 2) decision support; 3) cyber, privacy, trust & identity and; 4) global good. The Turing has, as National Institute, unique convening powers, via its network of university partners. This creates a unique gateway to independent and impartial scientific expertise and advice, which is of significant strategic and operational value to UK D&S partners. The Turing KE Team, supporting the Institute’s research leadership, and together with its partners, has been instrumental in establishing the collaboration framework and operationalising the strategic partnership to maximise impact, for example through 2-way immersion of staff and researchers, as well as through the delivery of many joint collaborative research projects, and knowledge exchange activities across the UK. We are looking forward to continuing to grow our strategy partnership, deliver collaborative research, and pull-through results, outputs and outcomes into operations with our partners, that help ensure a safe, secure, and prosperous UK society.

University of Huddersfield – Associated Utility Supplies Ltd (AUS) and the University of Huddersfield (UoH)

AUS Ltd and the University of Huddersfield have been successfully collaborating for 7 years through a range of initiatives and mechanisms. This is a mutually beneficial collaboration which is using innovation as a vehicle to drive talent development, embed new knowledge and generate income for both parties. The partnership grows from strength to strength and new opportunities for collaboration are being continuously developed. With three KTPs, an IUK Smart Grant, two First of a Kind grants with the University as a subcontractor, yearly student placement and final year project opportunities as well as advice and support to develop their marketing strategy, AUS sees the University as a key partner to help move their business forward and embed innovation. In turn, they support the University’s key strategic ambitions to be an inspiring and innovative university. The University values the benefits that this relationship brings for students, for teaching and for research. This is a great example of a long-term mutually beneficial relationship between a forward-thinking SME and a local university.

Northumbria University & Mersey Care NHS Foundation Trust – Principles and Practice of Restorative Just Culture

Together, Northumbria University and Mersey Care NHS Foundation Trust are pioneering professional development courses on Restorative Just Learning Culture and developing and embedding new learning into organisational practice. Their four-day credit bearing course teaches the theory behind Restorative Just Learning Culture and its application in complex organisations. Any professionals and practitioners involved in the management and welfare of a range of stakeholders in any industry will benefit from it. A 2019 NHS Patient Safety Strategy highlighted the cost to patient safety resulting from healthcare teams that do not feel supported to carry out patient care, estimating 11,000 lives go unsaved, a further £1 billion is spent on treatment following unnecessary incidents, whilst bullying and harassment costs £2 billion per annum. Northumbria University and Mersey Care’s Principles and Practice of Restorative Just Culture course and Partnership teaches learners and equips organisations with strategies to manage these issues in a restorative way that minimises the negative impacts, maximises learning and develops an organisational culture where people feel safe. Such has been the success of the course that the UK’s ZeroSuicide Alliance is utilising it to help facilitate the work they are doing to prevent suicide in the UK and beyond.