Author Archive

Boost for entrepreneurs and research commercialisation with £5m Northern Triangle Initiative

Written by UMIP on . Posted in News

The University of Manchester is to lead a £5 million project which aims to transform the process of turning research into businesses across the North of England.

Announced today by the Universities Minister, Jo Johnson, the funding will see Manchester work with the Universities of Leeds and Sheffield to develop a ‘Northern Triangle Initiative’ (NTI).

The NTI will support the growth of a significantly enhanced, shared intellectual property pipeline, set up a unique regionally-focussed finance vehicle, seek to raise £350 million in private finance to support university commercialisation, and strengthen the entrepreneurial eco-system of the North of England.

In particular the award will allow the partners to collaborate in developing intellectual property projects into business propositions in areas of common strength such as advanced materials, medical technologies and computer science.

Clive Rowland, the CEO of UMI3 – The University of Manchester’s Innovation Group – said: “We will use this award to create a significant ‘Northern Triangle’ funding capability to create a positive collaborative climate and accelerate the amazing commercial potential of the research powerhouses at the universities of Manchester, Leeds and Sheffield.

“This funding, along with our existing investor partnerships, will help us overcome the continuing challenge of bridging the very risky stage between the laboratory and the market place, where developing prototypes is crucial to attracting venture funding.

“Very importantly, a key feature of this project is to enable us to develop more licensing proposals, which is a very effective way of translating science into business activities, but which has become somewhat a poor relation to the spin-out company route and is of less interest to entrepreneurs.”

The funding forms part of an allocation of £20 million to winners of the Higher Education Funding Council for England (HEFCE) Connecting Capability Fund competition and forms part of the Government’s Industrial Strategy green paper.

The Fund, which was announced in the Government’s Industrial Strategy green paper, supports universities in working together and with external partners to commercialise research, help deliver the Strategy and share good practice and capacity.

It was announced at the HEFCE conference in London where Deputy President and Vice-Chancellor of The University of Manchester, Professor Luke Georghiou was also speaking on ‘Universities as Core Partners in Realising the Industrial Strategy’.

Commenting on the award he said: “The University of Manchester is proud to be in the top two nationally for the value of our collaborative work with our business partners and always in the leading group for commercialisation of intellectual property through UMI3.

“This award helps to fill an important gap in the Northern regional innovation ecosystem and will enable us to step up our contribution to the economy alongside our partners in Leeds and Sheffield.”

Professor Lisa Roberts, Deputy Vice-Chancellor: Research and Innovation at the University of Leeds said: “This is a great opportunity to build on our formidable reputation in commercialisation.

“The Universities of Leeds, Manchester and Sheffield are three research powerhouses in the North, and by working together we will have significant impact on the commercialisation of our research.”

Professor John Derrick, Deputy Pro-Vice Chancellor for Research and Innovation at the University of Sheffield, said:

“The funding for the Northern Triangle Initiative lays the foundations for new advanced science and innovative industry collaborations that will help to deliver real change and create economic growth not only for the north but the whole of the UK.

“At Sheffield we are immensely proud of our longstanding research-industry links – particularly in advanced manufacturing – and we are looking forward to working with our partner institutions on this inspiring initiative extend these even further to bridge the gap between the outstanding research undertaken in universities and industry.”

The funding will last for three years and the immediate aims of the project are to work with investors and entrepreneurs to form a dynamic support system and initiate and develop some 75 technology transfer projects across the three partner universities.

The Eli and Brit Harari Graphene Enterprise Award: 2017 Winners Announced

Written by UMIP on . Posted in News

An annual prize worth £50,000 has been awarded to two young Manchester researchers to help set-up a new graphene business venture.

The Eli and Britt Harari Graphene Enterprise Award is awarded each year to help the implementation of a commercially-viable business proposal from students, post-docs and recent graduates of The University of Manchester based on developing the commercial prospects of graphene.

This year’s competition was promoted and supported through the use of on-line resources, information sessions and business planning workshops by the Manchester Enterprise Centre, Alliance Manchester Business School.

Christian Berger and Daniel Melendrez are this year’s joint winners of the grant and ongoing business support following a decision made by a select panel of judges. Their winning entry tackles growing usability problems faced by the increasing number of over 65s who are new to using smartphones and similar touch devices.

Nearly 60% of these users report real problems when using touchscreen devices due to age related issues. Users who experience tremors or reduced perception of pressure application can often find touch screen interfaces difficult to use.

Usability problems such as touch accuracy when making on-screen selections and accidental unintended pressing have been raised as issues of frustration by many users. Christian and Daniel are seeking to address these problems by developing a transparent film overlay made using graphene.

The transparent flexible force-touch interface (MEMS-TI) is capable of measuring the force applied to film and correcting for any perceived errors. The technology could be used for a wide range of applications including; mass market consumer electronics (haptic devices, touch screens, entertainment/gaming), education, digital arts and media, materials handling and control, augmented reality and healthcare.

The newly developed film utilises graphene’s multiple superlative properties. Graphene is a perfect material for this new technology as it is transparent, flexible and extremely conductive, meaning that there is no loss in existing functionality.

In awarding this year’s prize the judges were particularly impressed with the way in which Christian and Daniel were able to combine an assured knowledge of the technology with a credible application that provided real value to a specific set of users.

Professor Luke Georghiou, Deputy President and Deputy Vice-Chancellor of The University of Manchester and one of the judges for this year’s competition said: “Our commitment to student entrepreneurship is a vital part of our approach to commercialisation of graphene.

“The inspiration and expertise provided by Eli Harari combined with the scientific excellence of our graphene research gives today’s winners the opportunity to have a jump-start on the path to creating a significant business. I wish them every success!”

Christian has just successfully completed his 4 year PhD researching into Graphene-based sensors with a particular focus on pressure sensors and fabrication techniques and provides the manufacturing and material expertise. While Daniel, who is in his final year of his PhD also researching graphene-based sensors, is able to bring this and 6 years’ worth of experience in electronic instrumentation to the design of the electronics and processing that will be needed.

The winners are looking to develop an innovative range of new sensors and actuators based a patented technology of single layer graphene films supported by a thin flexible polymeric membrane.

The new technology has a range of applications beyond the one presented to the judges and in order to start explore the full potential of this exciting technology, Christian and his PhD supervisor, Dr Aravind Vijayaraghavan setup Atomic Mechanics Ltd, a spin-out company from The University of Manchester. Daniel has since joined the company as Lead Engineer.

Anyone wishing to find out more about this year’s prize should e-mail enterprise@manchester.ac.uk for further information.

Further information

The award is co-funded by the North American Foundation for The University of Manchester through the support of one of the University’s former physics students Dr Eli Harari (founder of SanDisk) and his wife Britt. It recognises the role that high-level, flexible early-stage financial support can play in the successful development of a business targeting the full commercialisation of a product or technology related to research in graphene.

Christian and Daniel will receive continued support to help take the first steps towards realising this project and are already enrolled onto UMIP’s Innovation Optimiser programme as well as working closely with Andrew Wilkinson of Graphene Enabled in order to help them to better engage with the market in order to better understand the best opportunities to fulfil.

Anyone interested in finding out more about Christian and Aravind’s research work should refer to the following papers:

C. Berger et al, Touch-mode capacitive pressure sensor with graphene-polymer heterostructure membrane, 2D Materials, Accepted Manuscript (2017)

http://iopscience.iop.org/article/10.1088/2053-1583/aa8c8a

C. Berger, M. Dirschka, A. Vijayaraghavan, Ultra-thin graphene-polymer heterostructure membranes, Nanoscale, 2016,8, 17928-17939

http://pubs.rsc.org/en/content/articlelanding/2016/nr/c6nr06316k#!divAbstract

 

UMIP welcomes Dr Rick Watson

Written by UMIP on . Posted in News

Dr Rick Watson

UMIP’s New Projects Team welcomes Dr Rick Watson as Team Leader. Rick started his role in July this year and sees him supporting the efforts of the team to engage with academic innovators, identify IP and assess it for protection and onward commercialisation by UMIP.

Prior to working at UMIP Rick spent time working in several organisations at the Academic -Commercial interface including Manchester Business Growth Hub, as a consultant in the specialist Technology Transfer company Novomodo Ltd, and previous roles as Senior Innovation Consultant assisting company clients across the UK.

A former technology transfer manager at the University of Salford, Rick’s background is a mixture of different technologies including roles in Biotechnology community in Manchester and Scotland, time at The University of Strathclyde’s Forensic Science Unit, PhD research in Pharmaceutical Sciences at The University of Nottingham, and reading his first degree at Hull University in Chemistry with Analytical Chemistry and Toxicology.

Rick comments: “I am thrilled to join the UMIP team and to be working with such dedicated and talented professionals. I look forward to building on UMIP’s success and working with University colleagues to support their activities in IP commercialisation to generate revenue and research impact.”

Rick takes over from Dr Arnaud Garçon who has moved into UMIP’s IP Development and Partnering Team.

 

University of Cambridge Open Innovation Forum Food & FMCG Pitching Event

Written by UMIP on . Posted in News

University of Cambridge IfM: Open Innovation Forum Food & FMCG Pitching Event – Amsterdam, November 2017

Senior leaders from major food and FMCG firms such as Mars, Heineken, PepsiCo, Suntory and General Mills are holding a pitching event for innovative companies, entrepreneurs, start-ups and university spin-offs.  These companies, who are members of the Institute for Manufacturing’s Open Innovation (OI) Forum, are seeking new solutions to their business challenges, so you have the chance to pitch to them at an event hosted by Heineken and held on 16 November at the Heineken Experience, Amsterdam.

The 6th Food & FMCG Innovation Pitching Event is open to all individuals, research centres and companies of all sizes and levels of maturity. Up to 15 researchers, innovators and technology developers will be picked to pitch their ideas to a panel of key decision-makers and ‘innovation scouts’ from important food and FMCG firms (see full list here). However, all proposed pitches will be circulated to OI Forum members, whether they are shortlisted or not.

Ideas presented should specifically address one or more of the Forum’s business needs identified in the ‘Innovation Needs’ list and may fall within one of the following categories:

  • Marketing and business models – including consumer insights, social media, digital marketing and new business models.
  • Packaging – including interactive packaging, customised and novel packaging and materials.
  • Ingredients – health, food safety, preservatives and synthetic biology.
  • Manufacturing – including customisation, batch-of-one and novel food processing.

The event is free to enter and winners will receive a certificate and trophy, as well as the chance to present their ideas and products in front of senior leaders and decision-makers whose main job role is to scout for and acquire innovation and technology from outside their organisations.

Entry information

The deadline for requesting a pitch is 20 October 2017. The most promising entry submitted by 30 September from an individual, start-up or SME will receive funding* towards transport costs to Heineken Experience in Amsterdam.

For more information and to enter the competition visit: http://www.ifm.eng.cam.ac.uk/events/oipitching17/

* Up to a maximum of £250.  Further information on terms and conditions will be available from the event organisers.

 

University of Manchester technology that boosts the understanding of senescent cells role in age-related disorders licensed to Arriani Pharmaceuticals

Written by UMIP on . Posted in News

An exclusive licence deal has been transacted by The University of Manchester’s technology transfer company (UMI3 Ltd) with Arriani Pharmaceuticals for a research tool which boosts the understanding of senescent cells role in diverse age-related diseases including cancer.

Professors Vassilis Gorgoulis and Paul Townsend are behind the universally applicable method, called SenTraGorΤΜ, which enables better detection of senescence (the aging of cells).

Professor Townsend described the licence as “ground-breaking” and said: “Cellular senescence is causally linked to ageing and has been implicated in a variety of age-related diseases such as cancer.

“But up to now, detecting senescence was problematic and infeasible in most widespread biological material.

The agreement will see Arriani provide SenTraGorΤΜ to research institutions, diagnostic labs, clinics and companies looking for new therapies and offering wider well-being services to the public. Harry Lambridis, President and Founder of Arriani comments: “We are proud to offer to the international scientific community the valuable outcome of the research conducted by Professors Vassilis Gorgoulis and Paul Townsend that will revolutionalise the detection of senescent cells. We strongly believe that SenTraGorΤΜ will greatly contribute in the understanding of age-related biological processes and to this end we will work closely with the Professors to enlarge the applications of SenTraGorΤΜ, even beyond this field.”

The University of Manchester’s Professor Paul Townsend and Honorary Professor Vassilis Gorgoulis are world experts in cancer biology.

Professor Townsend said the agreement will bring considerable benefits to research and clinical practice and even beyond that around the world.

 

“Our method provides unheard-of advantages over any other available senescence detection products,” he said.

“It’s widely applicable, straight forward and specific. It will also help researchers make new breakthroughs into the causes of diseases, including cancer, as there will be a more effective understanding of phenomenon of cellular senescence. Moreover, its application can be expanded even to the cosmetics and food industries.”

Professor Gorgoulis added: “SenTraGorΤΜ revolutionizes the field of cellular aging and opens the door to a better understanding and treatment of various disorders. Many cancer types, degenerative diseases, even infertility, are thought to be senescence-related and our method introduces a powerful weapon in the medical armory against these conditions.”

Dr Rich Ferrie, Director of Operations at UMIP, commented: “We are delighted to have secured this licence deal with our new partners, Arriani. The strong commercial team at Arriani will ensure that this exciting product is quickly rolled out internationally and we are confident that the relationship we have established together will be both successful and enduring.”

UMIP - REPUTATION AND VALUE THROUGH INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY®

Privacy Policy / Terms and Conditions / © Copyright 2015 The University of Manchester Intellectual Property / Created by HTP Digital Marketing Agency

The University of Manchester Intellectual Property ("UMIP") acts solely as agent for the University in relation to any matter relating to intellectual property ("IP") and know how created at the University. This is whether such IP is created by employees, students or others. UMIP does not represent anyone else in such matters. If anyone else requires advice in relation to such IP then they must take their own independent legal advice.