Finalists

Jennie Shorley

Manchester Metropolitan University

Jennie’s contribution to PraxisAuril has been unequalled as she has initiated and driven initiatives in our developing mentoring programme and the new Foundations of Knowledge Exchange course, with such positive and enthusiastic energy that she motivates all those around her from committee members to trainers and mentors. She is a very valued and valuable volunteer.

Stuart Wilkinson

University of Oxford

Stuart has volunteered on PraxisAuril’s professional development committee and recently taken over as chair. At all times he has deployed his energy, rigour and critical thinking to ensure that the KE community receives the best training it possible can get through PraxisAuril courses. Stuart’s starting point to all challenges of how to best support the community is simple: it can be done.

His broader KE experience has proved invaluable as he played a key role in the development of the new spin-out course New Venture Creation (1 and 2) that were designed to encompass and support the broad range of company creation that is seen coming out of UK research institutions from social enterprise to venture-backed spin-outs.

Sue Sundstrom

Sundstrom Innovation Ltd

Sue Sundstrom has had a long and successful career in KE including technology transfer in Southampton and as Head of KE at Bristol. Sue has been a longstanding volunteer for PraxisAuril as course presenter, director, member of the professional development committee (for the better part of a decade) and as chair of that committee for since January 2018 until March 2020 months despite her retirement from Bristol in 2019. That is commitment.

Sue has been influential in modernizing course to make them fit, contemporary and appropriate for the rapidly changing world of KE. This has included revamping one of PraxisAuril’s two flagship entry-level courses (the ever-increasingly mis-named Fundamentals of Technology Transfer) and overseeing the introduction of PraxisAuril’s first mentoring programme.

Adam Stoten

Oxford University Innovation

Adam Stoten has provided editorial and communications support for not only PraxisAuril, but also the wider sector on a regular basis. He allowed myself and a colleague to interview him on the RTTP accreditation (not only having the accreditation himself but also advocating RTTP to his team) and generously allowed us to use the OUI office to record the interview. He has also written many interviews and multiple blogs. Not only does Adam help generate content, he always takes time to leverage his network and supports higher impressions of this content. I often see his blogs achieving close to 100 reactions and comments on LinkedIn, and he is truly using his influence for the benefit of the sector. Not being part of the board or any committee, Adam is exceptional in his support without any real obligation to PraxisAuril, and I would love to nominate him for his contributions.

The University of Manchester

British Salt & University of Manchester – Knowledge Transfer Partnership

The KTP with British Salt and the University of Manchester made great use of the resources provided by the company and knowledge gained from within the University as during the 30-month project duration it delivered a new consumer iodised salt product, branded website (www.iodisedsalt.co.uk) and social media accounts, sales on Amazon’s selling platform, and several academic outputs including acceptance of a paper for the European Marketing Academy annual conference. To fully understand the health benefits of iodine in the diet and the impact of the new iodised salt product the partnership worked closely with the British Thyroid Foundation and UK Iodine Group to stay up to date with the latest research in the field and the partnership has gained PR and external recognition for the work they had accomplished.

The project created a significant element of organisational change as British Salt is a traditional B2B organisation and adding new B2C competencies and capabilities to support the establishment of a consumer-centric division to run alongside the core B2B function required significant engagement from various internal teams, which was facilitated successfully by the partnership.

As a result of the Knowledge Transfer Partnership (KTP), the University of Manchester will benefit from a continued relationship with British Salt and the wider TATA Group.

Guy’s and St Thomas’ NHS Foundation Trust

Guy’s and St Thomas’ launches a 3D Printing Farm to donate face shields to South London Trusts to keep patients and key workers safe

Guy’s and St Thomas’ brought 3D printing companies and volunteers together at its supply chain hub in Dartford to manufacture face shields that are worn by frontline medical staff tending to patients during the ongoing worldwide coronavirus pandemic. This specially developed “3D Printing Farm” comprises 200 printers working 24/7 that can produce roughly 1,500 face shields per day. The face shields are paired with a visor, which is easily assembled by staff before use.

3D printing specialist iMakr has provided many of the printers being used at the Farm and was joined by PI Supply to give its expertise in the field. The Intellectual Property and Commercial Research Unit (IPCRU) coordinates more than 85 volunteers, comprising 3D printing enthusiasts and experts, as well as students and staff from Brunel University and King’s College London School of Biomedical Engineering & Imaging Sciences.

The IPCRU team actively promotes innovation across the Trust, and it became instrumental in this massive endeavour as it has well-established links with all the groups leading the different initiatives in 3D printing at the Trust at the moment. This wonderful experience represented a titanic effort for a very small team of 4 people that covers the intellectual property needs and commercial innovation projects taking place in such as a large organisation as Guy’s and St Thomas’.

Today, a month after this endeavour started, the facility has also started to manufacture other product lines which are in short supply, e.g. 96-well deep plates used to process COVID-19 test samples or specific consumables such as Venturi valves for ventilators. The Farm’s main priority remains the production of face shields to donate across hospitals in London as this is an ongoing urgent requirement nationwide to keep patients and key workers safe.

Manchester Metropolitan University

Models of Validation: supporting social practice art and artists

In a time of exciting cultural production where boundaries are blurred, artists are working without labels, between structures, inside and outside institutions, in alternative spaces and with people. Yet, there are clear tensions and struggles around the need for alternative structures to support artists to make work and build sustainable long term progressive relationships with different parts of society. In exploring a system of validation that recognises the different people and skills involved, this partnership increases understanding of how socially engaged artists work, what they contribute, how that contribution is perceived, valued and experienced by those they engage with and the regard with which the artists are held. The partners have developed a new-to-world validation system, through the accumulation of high-quality research with impact for the wider arts sector. This includes the conceptualisation of ‘meshwork’ to describe what is requested by social practice artists whose ethos requires flattened structures to scale up the benefits of the communities of practice established by Axisweb and others in the field. The research contributes to ManMet’s existing portfolio of research consultancy in the area of artists’ development and builds capacity in that area. A critical aspect of the partnership is how it has positioned Axisweb as a trusted thought leader within the arts sector. This strengthens Axisweb’s ability to develop a range of value-added services that

  • strengthen the connection between the public and artists;
  • facilitate increased understanding of and engagement with artists;
  • enhance decision making around the commissioning of projects;
  • provide a platform to effectively showcase individual artists’ work in a way not currently available; and
  • demonstrate the social benefit and impact of artists.

The partnership facilitates Axisweb’s strategic ambition of enabling exchange with artists to help
sustain their work and strengthen their place in society.

University of Birmingham

The University of Birmingham and Siemens: a partnership driving innovation in the rail industry and beyond

Siemens Mobility and the University of Birmingham (UoB) are leading partners for the £92 million funded UK Rail Research and Innovation Network (UKRRIN). UKKRIN, based at UoB, is a collaboration between industry, academia and government, launched in 2018, aiming to provide a step-change in sector innovation and accelerate new technologies and products from research into market applications globally.

From this partnership base, the UoB Business Engagement team, in conjunction with other Knowledge Exchange teams across the University, developed the relationship, initially with Siemens Mobility but also extended out to within Siemens Plc, growing the relationship from a point to point one to a strategic partnership. Relationship development at all organisational levels was key to this success.

In February 2020, UoB and Siemens Mobility announced a new, academic framework research collaboration, deepening the relationship between the two organisations. The first stage of this collaboration will see the Birmingham Centre for Railway Research and Education (BCRRE) at UoB join with Siemens Mobility to deliver a pipeline of innovation for the rail industry, developing the application of fundamental research by working with a range of industry partners across the rail supply chain.

Following the strategic partnership with Siemens Mobility, Siemens Plc and UoB now also have a strategic partnership. This innovation collaboration covers research across additive manufacturing, intelligent traffic management, as well as digital manufacturing, with the Factory in a Box, an industrial scale demonstrator, showcasing how industrial digital technologies can benefit manufacturers and their supply chains.

A key aspect for the success of this relationship, alongside the detailed mapping of senior stakeholders from both organisations, was the power of the KE team to convene other parties of interest to Siemens.

University of Central Lancashire

Knowledge Exchange Community of Practice: UCLan Centre for SME Development

University of Central Lancashire’s (UCLan) Centre for SME (small, medium enterprise) Development, was highlighted in the Government’s Industrial Strategy as ‘excellent’ in responding to business needs and cited by the Universities Minister as an “impressive initiative” of Knowledge Exchange and interaction.

Led by Professor Sue Smith, The Centre for SME Development’s adoption of Communities of Practice (CoPs) created a significant and transformational impact on KE within UCLan. The CoP has delivered performance improvements by challenging the status quo, bridging teaching, research and practice, crossing the academic/research/professional services boundaries and providing specialist support and space for the CoP to flourish. A ground-breaking model; allowing for knowledge exchange, learning, value creation and positive impact on the practice within the University.

Adopted by global companies and institutions, including JP Morgan and The World Bank, UCLan is pioneering its use in Higher Education to strategically grow its knowledge exchange activity. This strategy is based on creating an environment that allows for knowledge exchange and collaboration across campus and beyond and supporting colleagues and students who undertake KE-based activities so that everyone benefits from new ways of working and all types of capital (social, educational, financial and emotional).

The gathering of like-minded colleagues to engage with the knowledge exchange agenda was the first step in taking greater advantage of a university environment that enables us all to be truly innovative, enterprising and impactful. The idea is that we help each other in the pursuit of sharing ambitions, shaping knowledge exchange activities and making a difference, realising even more value.

This social learning approach to KE has resulted in a sea-change in the environment at UCLan the model is progressive and transformative; and a benchmark for other universities.

Manchester Metropolitan University

One-Stop-Shop KTP

Manchester Metropolitan is the top-performing modern (post-92) university for Knowledge Transfer Partnerships – a key form of Knowledge Exchange. At the time of writing, Manchester Met has 32 KTPs and has ranked amongst the top-performing institutions nationally for portfolio size since 2016. These competitors intuitions all rank amongst the UK’s top universities for research intensity (according to Times Higher Education’s analysis).

This portfolio growth resulted from a strategic initiative established by Dr David Woollard in 2013, as part of the university’s Research and Knowledge Exchange Directorate. This initiative saw Manchester Met take a cross-institutional approach to the development and management of KTP. This ‘One-Stop-Shop’ for KTP consists of centralised business development, post-award, and bid development functions that were established in 2013, 2016, and 2019 respectively.

In 2019, the institutional, academic, and student benefits of the university’s investment in, and significant growth, of its KTP portfolio were evaluated. This review provided, for the first time, both qualitative and quantitative evidence of the impact of the strategic initiative established by Dr Woollard in 2013 extended in 2016 and 2019) and will be used to inform future strategic development of the university’s KTP office and KE mechanisms.

Earlham Institute

Realising Earlham Institutes KE potential

Earlham Institute (EI) is a relatively young and small research institute that applies data-driven approaches to answer complex biological questions.

The aim of this internal KE initiative was to develop a series of films to help increase the visibility of EI’s capabilities to external stakeholders, demonstrate the impact of our research, and stimulate more KE activities using one of the most effective communication tools: imagery.

EI’s BDI team led on this activity from inception to completion, helping them to build closer relationships with people across the Institute – from research group leaders to the Executive team.

The BDI team crafted the brief and led on all aspects of procurement and contracting, organised all logistics, and were involved in the editing of the films at the Eye Film studio. It was an ambitious initiative, but at the same time very rewarding.

Five different films were produced to provide examples of EI’s work with industry, featuring case studies of our collaboration with two SMEs, examples of interactions with other research organisations, and to showcase our technologies and capabilities.

EI is using these videos across its website. They can be easily found in the Video Library https://www.earlham.ac.uk/video-library, on EI’s Vimeo and YouTube channels, and social media. The BDI team also send these films to potential collaborators and make use of them on exhibition stands at conferences.

This initiative has a wider benefit for the sector, making the Biosciences community aware of the UKRI-funded National Capabilities hosted at the Earlham Institute, including Genomics and Single Cell Sequencing, Laboratory Automation, Data Management and High-Performance Computing. Several videos highlight training courses that support skills development in bioinformatics and computational biology in the Biosciences sector.

The team was impressed with the professionalism and quality of work of Eye Film and thank their team for their support.

University of Hertfordshire

The Hertfordshire Science Partnership

The Hertfordshire Science Partnership (HSP) combines Government and EU funding to support innovation by brokering a unique partnership between businesses and the University of Hertfordshire to help bring cutting edge research and development to market.

What?
HSP is an innovative collaboration between the University of Hertfordshire and Hertfordshire LEP, which leverages the university’s state-of-the-art science facilities and academic expertise to boost the dynamic pharmaceutical, life sciences and agri-technology sectors in the East of England.
Officially launched in 2018, the programme strengthens links between business and academia to accelerate cutting edge scientific R&D to market, and supports the growth of SMEs by providing access to facilities and academic expertise. This project aligns with the LEP’s objective to stimulate enterprise and innovation within the county through targeted investment in its key sectors.
The Partnership was formed in response to growing research and innovation within the county’s life sciences industries. It operates from within a new science building constructed to house all the University’s life science facilities under one roof.

Why?
The Partnership takes a pioneering approach to the transfer of knowledge from academic research to business, helping deliver new high-value products and services to market and supporting the growth of the county’s SMEs. The programme also equips a new generation of business-facing researchers to deliver industry-ready solutions to address two of the nation’s strategic challenges: high-efficiency food production and new precision healthcare technologies.

Impact
The Partnership is expected to facilitate over 20 knowledge exchange partnerships by 2021 and will result in 20 collaborative PhD projects with innovative regional businesses.

Birmingham City University

STEAMhouse – a unique innovation centre, inspiring knowledge exchange collaboration

STEAMhouse is Birmingham City University’s unique innovation centre, inspiring knowledge exchange collaboration between the arts, science, technology, engineering and maths (STEAM), and supporting long-term sustainable economic growth, productivity and job creation in Birmingham and the West Midlands region.

Since its launch in 2018, STEAMhouse has filled a gap in the business support ecosystem (access to shared workspace and specialist support) with opportunities to enhance a growing local sector, retain graduate talent, attract new talent to the West Midlands and generate knowledge exchange from BCU research in and around inter-disciplinary thinking.

STEAMhouse represents the culmination of ten years research, outreach and international engagement around Cross Innovation, Design Thinking and Open Innovation. It has a knowledge exchange strategy delivered through a team of professionals each offering a different focus and potential benefit to stakeholders and partners and encompassing academic, technical, artistic and business engagement.

Created in collaboration with local arts organisation Eastside Projects, and supported by the ERDF and Arts Council England STEAMhouse has quickly established itself as a knowledge exchange catalyst for new research partnerships, collaboration and engagement with business, the public and third sector; skills development; enterprise and entrepreneurship; and new IP and commercialisation.

STEAMhouse has already;

  • Supported over 250 businesses with prototyping new products including 65 new businesses.
  • Registered over 400 as STEAMhouse community members.
  • Awarded £75,000 in small grants for IP advice and prototyping support.
  • Welcomed visitors for events, workshops and using the production facilities
  • Facilitated 34 Research collaborations between members and BCU academics

Acknowledged as an international exemplar, STEAMhouse played a leading role alongside Birmingham City Council on a European project supporting knowledge exchange between public authorities to ensure thriving collaborative makerspaces and is currently lead partner in a project bringing together European partners to develop a co-operative definition of STEAM.

University of Hull

SparkFund – Working with SMEs to Drive Regional Innovation and Growth

SparkFund is an innovation support and grants programme which has been made a reality as the result of the University of Hull securing £8.4m of European Regional Development Fund (ERDF). Available in the Humber and York and North Yorkshire, SparkFund can help SMEs to move their business forward through Innovation and Research and Development. The total value of the programme is over £15m and is a combination of ERDF support and investment by the Beneficiary SMEs.

Made up of three funding streams, SparkFund is a flexible and responsive knowledge exchange programme which works with business owners and leaders to identify, define and deliver innovation and research projects which fit their individual needs, aspirations and plans. The team at SparkFund know that one size doesn’t fit all and they don’t try to make it work that way; the SparkFund Team supports SMEs every step of the way, helping them to shape and frame ideas, apply for the funding and deliver the project.

Since we launched in May 2017 we have had a great response to the programme and have supported over 160 SMEs to apply for funding and are working with hundreds more to support them in the same way. The project was originally intended to end in March 2020 but due to its success and reputation, it has been awarded additional funding and time to enable the team to deepen their impact and reach. SparkFund is currently due to complete its delivery in December 2021.

Queen Mary University of London (QMUL)

QM Emulate Organs-on-Chips Centre

Emulate and QMUL shared an ambitious vision to create the first Organ-on-Chips Centre in the UK. The journey from initiation to implementation was full of challenges. Many technical, financial, contractual and trust-related obstacles were encountered along the way. However:

‘QMUL and Emulate are stronger partners today, Emulate staff has established genuine bonds with QMUL professors, Dr Chaturvedi and Centre staff. The knowledge is exchanged openly across the Atlantic Ocean in the interest of training the next generation of UK researchers and furthering our understanding of human biology. None of this would be possible if not for the passion of Dr Chaturvedi for collaboration in support of transformative research. She was the consistent voice of reason throughout a tumultuous 14-month negotiation. Her business acumen, candour, transparency, advocacy, and commitment were critical to establishing the centre and executing the agreement. She was a champion, ally, and critic while managing and considering the perspectives of all QMUL stakeholders as well as Emulate’s position throughout the negotiation’. Dr Stan King (Vice President Corporate Development, Emulate Inc.)

‘The development of the new QM & Emulate Organs-on-Chips Centre has provided a fantastic catalyst for driving forward research and innovation in this area and leveraging almost £5M of grant funding applications and further industrial engagement.’ Prof Hazel Screen (Co-Director of the Organs-on-Chips Centre)

‘This new Centre is already supporting major new research opportunities and building new multidisciplinary partnerships. In addition, as the Director of Research in the School of Engineering and Materials Science, the set-up of the new Organs-on-Chips Centre provides a valuable new template for building strategic industrial partnerships which we hope to roll out to other research areas.’ Prof Martin Knight (Director of the Organs-on-Chips Centre)

The award will be a welcome recognition of the development of QMUL’s knowledge exchange and collaborative research initiatives.

Anglia Ruskin University

ARU Sandpit Programme

ARU Sandpits, encourage academics to work together with external stakeholders, across all faculties and research institutes, on a range of multidisciplinary projects, driven by clear external challenges. Their aim is to generate projects that solve real-world challenges in partnership with one or more ‘problem owners’. They bring together multidisciplinary groups of researchers and include at least one, but usually more external collaborative partners from the private, public and charitable sectors.

Sandpits are full-day events, developed collaboratively with external ‘problem owners’ who define a live challenge and present it to a group of up to 30 academics. Following the presentations, a ‘provocation’ is issued and smaller multidisciplinary, multi-stakeholder working groups form, to develop ideas for potential collaborative research and knowledge exchange projects. Finally, as the day draws to a close, ideas are presented to a panel of judges, who select one or more ideas to receive seedcorn funding (for research assistants, travel, consumables etc) and ongoing support from ARU’s Research and Innovation Development Office.

ARU Sandpits have helped to build new relationships, as well as adding value to existing partnerships and networks

UCL Business Ltd

Rapid & Efficient Global Dissemination of Breathing Aid Blueprints in Covid-19 Response using an Express Licensing Platform.

Following BBC publicity regarding UCL-Ventura, a breathing aid developed jointly by researchers and clinicians at UCL and engineers at Mercedes Formula1 team within a record 100 hours, enquiries arrived from all over the world requesting access to the blueprints for manufacture. UCLB offered to set up a COVID-19 Research storefront on its express licensing platform e-lucid to enable free of charge, licensed access to the designs. The UCL-branded storefront was implemented and fully operational within 4 days. Within the first 48 hours, over 1100 requests had been reviewed through the platform and 700 licences granted. Design files were automatically released to approved licensees immediately. To date, over 1700 licences for the design and manufacturing files for this life-saving device have been approved through the system to organisations in over 100 countries. UCLB has subsequently enhanced the website to now support free of charge dissemination of any COVID-19 related technology developed by Universities around the world.

E-lucid (www.e-lucid.com) is UCLB’s successful online licensing platform that provides Universities and other research organisations an off-the-shelf solution to manage their non-exclusively licensed intellectual property for everything from design files, to material transfers, software products, physical devices, images and much more. E-lucid’s many UK customers include UCL, Sheffield University, Edinburgh University and Leeds University and in the United States, the Universities of Washington and New Hampshire.

UCLB, UCL’s IP commercialisation company, has a successful track record and a strong reputation for identifying and protecting promising new technologies and innovations arising from the UCL research base. In addition, UCLB provides technology transfer services to UCL’s associated hospitals; University College London Hospitals, Moorfields Eye Hospital, Great Ormond Street Children’s Hospital and the Royal Free. It invests directly in development projects to maximise the potential of the research and manages the commercialisation process of technologies from laboratory to market.

University of Bristol: WINNER

IRISi – the Bristol Social Enterprise improving the healthcare response to gender-based violence

IRISi is a social enterprise established by the University of Bristol to promote and improve the healthcare response to gender-based violence through sustainable evidence-based interventions. The lead produce, IRIS (Identification & Referral to Improve Safety), is a specialist domestic violence and abuse training, support and referral programme for general practice teams that has been positively evaluated in a randomised controlled trial.

The impact of the company has been transformational for the delivery of the IRIS intervention, the staff involved, for the clinical practice of general practice teams and for the thousands of survivors of domestic violence and abuse who have been referred to specialist support services as a result. The establishment of IRISi has saved and improved many lives.

Andrew Wilson, Senior Research Commercialisation Manager, was instrumental in the creation of the company working closely with the Prof Gene Feder and Medina Johnson (CEO) to transition the IRIS service into a successful social enterprise, through accessing internal and external funding, supporting colleagues through the initially unfamiliar world of business and financial planning, IP and legal agreements.

IRISi now employs 12 staff, has accelerated the reach of the IRIS, is exploring new evidence-based interventions and working with the University to adapt IRIS for other healthcare providers (pharmacists, dentists, sexual health clinics). It is now beginning to influence local and national policy and form strong cross-sector collaborations to improve outcomes for DVA survivors. IRISi has recently received a £1M grant investment from London’s Violence Reduction Unit. This funding is enabling expansion across 7 boroughs, with the potential to support more than two million Londoners. The COVID-19 lockdown has led to an increase in DVA; IRISi is involved in the sector-wide response and has produced webinars and guidance to allow continued service provision and onboarding of new sites during the crisis.

This year, the Deal of the Year Award was undersubscribed because organisations chose to prioritise other award categories. However, it’s abundantly clear to us, from the narratives we have seen across the board, that there have been a lot of great deals done in 2019-20.

The University of Bristol excelled in the specific criteria needed for this award and was chosen as the clear winner from the judging panel.

University of Cambridge, Botswana Institute for Technology Research and Innovation, Cambridge-Enterprise, Universidade Lúrio and University of Namibia

Advancing the impact of University-generated knowledge in the Southern African Development Community (SADC) through Academia-Industry partnerships Initiative

Addressing the need to build R&D and technological capacity in the Southern African Development Community (SADC) region, this initiative defined Academia-Industry knowledge-exchange structures and practices conducive to local prosperity. Advancing such Academia-Industry innovation ecosystems is also important for UK HEIs seeking to deliver impact in these regions: as reviews of Newton Fund and GCRF grants note, failure to address innovation diffusion in ODA-target countries is a major obstacle to achieving the funding goals.

The international knowledge-exchange team from the UK, Botswana, Mozambique and Namibia co-created and delivered the initiative – convening over fifty contributors from ten research institutions and seventeen actual SADC knowledge-exchange cases on aquaculture, agriculture, water treatment, conservation, climate change and tech and indigenous knowledge-based approaches to health.

The programme was initiated by a workshop in Botswana that defined infrastructure and policy priorities for the efficient identification, protection and application of promising SADC innovations and for the creation of local human, social and cultural capital. Relevant expertise was identified around the political economy of technical innovation, industrial policy for development, open research tools and IP models for societal impact and SADC research institution have since strengthened their knowledge-exchange offices, supported inventors around commercialization and established entrepreneurship training. This, in turn, drove a second workshop in Cambridge focussing on commercialization and knowledge-exchange practices and established a basis for the implementation of the numerous SADC-Cambridge collaboration identified opportunities – namely around microbial and electrochemical energy production systems and on water remediation. The initiative’s innovative design also motivated consultation from Innovate UK around the delivery of Africa KTN and has already been deployed elsewhere.

The knowledge exchange team continues to act as a network for the implementation of UK-SADC collaborative research projects that respond to development needs of Southern Africa and for the championing of knowledge-exchange models that can adequately respond to the development priorities of the region.

Lancaster University

Lancaster University Supporting Regional Engagement

Lancaster’s Knowledge Exchange (KE) team is made up of over 100 professional staff embedded within Faculties and based centrally within Research and Enterprise Services. In collaboration, we deliver significant regional economic growth within Lancashire and broader Local Enterprise Partnerships (LEPs) through a £50m+ suite of business innovation support programmes funded largely through European Structural and Investment Funds (ESIF). These projects enable business-HEI R&D commercialisation and leadership using student and graduate talent extensively in their delivery.

An independent evaluation of these programmes has projected economic impacts of £18-28 per £1 of public investment. Other impacts resulting from programme activities include over 900 net jobs created /safeguarded (increasing to over 3,200 by the end of 2023), a net turnover impact of almost £20m (increasing to £440m) and an increased net profit of almost £31m (increasing to £86m).

Specific focus areas include:

Productivity and Advanced Manufacturing where our Management School (LUMS) collaborate with the Government’s Be the Business campaign and we are the lead university in the development of the Productivity Through People (PtP) Programme, focused on developing the leadership capacity of advanced manufacturing SME owner-managers for improved productivity.

Health Innovation through our £41m 8,000m2 Phase 1 of our Health Innovation Campus (HIC), co-locating our Faculty of Health and Medicine alongside businesses and collaboration facilities.

Eco-Innovation/Clean Growth through our partnership with the Eden Project on the development of ‘Eden North’, leading the Clean and Sustainable Growth Science and Innovation Audit (SIA) in partnership with regional universities and the strength of our Centre for Global Eco-Innovation (CGE).

Digital Economy through our successful Secure Digitalisation University Enterprise Zone (SecureD UEZ) building on our Academic Centre of Excellence in Cyber Security. handling facilities. The UEZ extends across the whole campus and the White Cross Business Park in Lancaster, strengthening links between campus activities and the city.

University of Portsmouth

Laser-cut Face Shields for Key Workers Covid-19 Response

An innovative team of academics, technicians and medical staff at the University of Portsmouth and Portsmouth Hospital Trust came together to support front-line workers overcome PPE shortages in the fight against Covid-19. Drawing knowledge from creative industries and engineering, the team made use of their technical skills and facilities to create a new, completely laser-cut face shield design.

The design, created by Design Technician John Daltry, comprises of four laser-cut pieces of the plastic PETG. These then fit easily together to create the face visor piece and adjustable headband. The face shields prevent the wearer from touching their face and provide a barrier if a patient sneezes or coughs. The shields are safe, easy to use and fit on top of the approved personal protective equipment (PPE) equipment that healthcare workers are using – providing an additional layer of protection between staff and patients. In comparison to standard designs, which take one-to-two hours to produce using standard 3D printing technology, the new laser cut design cuts the time it takes to produce a mask to less than 30 seconds.

Led by Senior Lecturer Ted Turnbull, the team worked closely with members of Research Innovation Services to ensure the shield met need and safety/manufacturer legislation and guidance. The shield design was CE marked and was then ready to produce and provide to key workers in need of protection on the front line. This design has also been made freely available for others to use in the effort against coronavirus.

To date, the team have provided many thousands of shields to key workers in the NHS, Fire Service, Police and social care sector. Additionally, the design has been downloaded internationally almost a thousand times making the shield globally available to those in need.

Link to BBC Solent story on this project: https://twitter.com/BBCRadioSolent/status/1250359733489471488

Cancer Research UK

Towards maximising patient benefit from Cancer Research UK funded science

The Cancer Research UK Commercial Partnerships team has the key objective of maximising translation of cancer research into innovations that will benefit the lives of all cancer patients. Given that Cancer Research UK is a national organisation, a traditional “cradle to grave” model of technology transfer, provided by a single London-based office, was unable to provide the level of resource or expertise necessary to realise the maximum translational potential from our research investments.

As a result, Commercial Partnerships have moved to a functionalised model, in which focussed expert teams are responsible for each of the different components of the technology transfer process. Key to the success of this model was the formation of a highly visible, nationally distributed team of translational experts (Opportunity Sourcing and Translation team) who regularly interact with researchers and their associated technology transfer infrastructure across the country. This allows efficient identification of discoveries with potential for patient benefit and their proactive development, by active matrix project management, until they have been matured to a stage where they can be partnered by the closely aligned Commercial Partnerships Business Development team. The team also has the remit of educating researchers on the translational platforms and funding mechanisms available to them within Cancer Research UK and provide a single point of contact for researchers who wish to interact with any of these schemes.

The Opportunity Sourcing and Translation team was fully established in 2019 and now provides the national coverage and personalised support for Cancer Research UK funded researchers that was not previously possible. By optimising and tailoring our researcher interactions we aim to dramatically grow the percentage of Cancer Research UK funded researchers engaging in translation, and increase invention disclosures, deal flow and innovations that will benefit cancer patients. The team is committed to best practice customer service and viewing the technology transfer process from the eyes of the researcher to improve our support.

Early signs of success are already becoming apparent; by interacting with many more of our researchers on a regular basis we have seen a dramatic uptick in invention disclosures and priority patent applications.

University of Exeter

Innovation, Impact and Business (IIB) Team, Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly

Over the past three years, the University of Exeter’s IIB-Cornwall team leveraged c£108m of investment into Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly to provide sector-focused Research, Development & Innovation (RD&I) Hubs that have supported over 750 businesses. Over the period, the Team has grown from eight to over 40 staff, leading on six projects worth a combined c£29m and serving as a key delivery partner on 11 additional projects with a total value of c£79m.

The RD&I Hubs in agri-tech, health, marine, space, georesources, defence, energy and the environment have driven impact and created the conditions for economic growth and prosperity in a region with historically low levels of productivity and R&D investment. They met or exceeded targets, and most have recently been expanded or extended.

The Hubs are designed to create the conditions for economic growth and prosperity in a region with historically low levels of productivity and R&D investment. In this context, the Team’s main obstacles are the extremely small size of enterprises, the dispersed nature of business clusters, the region’s peripherality and inward-looking nature of local businesses.

The Team manages and delivers each Hub to mitigate these challenges by driving innovation for SMEs as a collective, whilst also providing bespoke solutions for individual enterprises. The peripherality and inward-looking nature of businesses is addressed by recruiting expertise from a wide variety of backgrounds. The Hubs also enable knowledge transfer between economic stakeholders and university researchers, directly shaping regional governance mechanisms and long-term social, economic and environmental strategies.

The Team’s swift, dynamic response to the COVID-19 pandemic is testament to the efficacy of this strategy, shifting to teleworking at full capacity in under a week whilst pivoting the focus of Hubs to basic business support and signposting to national-level funding.