University of Manchester creative project finalists at Made in Manchester Awards 2016

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Education_IPOW_finalIn Place of War’s co-director Ruth Daniel was one of the finalists in The Entrepreneur of the Year category of the Made in Manchester Awards held at the Hilton Manchester Deansgate Hotel on February 4th.  The prestigious awards dinner, attended by over 500 people from the northwest, celebrates the best of Manchester’s young talent in the financial and professional sectors during 2015.

In Place of War (IPOW) is a multi award-winning University of Manchester initiative which helps to build powerful networks, create social change through creativity and demonstrate the value of the arts to public space, public life and public debate. For ten years the project has been helping to mobilise, empower and connect artists and creative communities in sites of war, revolution and conflict.

Ruth Daniel comments: “I am delighted to even have been considered for this award. I am proud to be from the City of Manchester, where I believe people do things differently. I have always followed my ambitions to make a positive change in the world for my work. Being recognised as a finalist in the entrepreneur of the year category with seven other strong entries, is an incredible achievement for me and for the In Place of War team. Getting this sort of recognition validates the work.”

Our work is about giving isolated artists a wider platform to tell their stories of war and help empower communities through creative practise. Turning our research into practise we have developed a range of innovative alternative educational tools, and raised funds to help create new cultural spaces in some of the world’s most challenging places.”

During the past year, IPOW won the Outstanding Aspiring Social Enterprise of the Year category, at the Making a Difference Awards from the University’s Office of Social Responsibility and was also runner-up in The Guardian University Awards for its international work. The project was also awarded a £5000 Do It Award and a further £10000 Scale and Growth Award from UMIP’s Social Enterprise initiative in partnership with UnLtd which was used to help develop the business model.

IPOW has also developed a ground-breaking creative entrepreneurial programme certified by the University and delivered for free to local young people in communities in some of the most under-resourced parts of the world. In these communities with little access to education, offering a free creative entrepreneurial programme with the certification of the University would provide transformative opportunities for up to 5,000 young people in each community every year.

Visit the In Place of War website for more details about the project

For further information about the event and winners, please see:


More than £1M funding available under the MRC CIC scheme: 2016 call now open

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Do you have an interesting translational research idea?

The University of Manchester has been awarded funding in the fourth round of the MRC Confidence in Concept (CiC) scheme. The funds are intended to accelerate the transition from discovery research to translational development by supporting preliminary work or feasibility studies to establish the viability of an approach, before seeking more substantive funding (e.g. from MRC DPFS).

The call is now open for applications via submission of a 1-page Expression of Interest.

Deadline: 10am Friday 11th March 2016.

Further guidance about the call and the application process.

MRC Confidence in Concept (CiC) scheme 2016: Information event 24th February

We are holding an information event for CiC 2016 on 24th Feb, 11am-2pm (including lunch and networking) at the Nowgen Centre to share our experience from the previous rounds of the programme and provide guidance to potential applicants on how to prepare a competitive CiC proposal.

The information event will include an overview of the scheme from an MRC representative, an industry perspective on the programme, a series of brief presentations about previously-funded projects and details about the process for applications this year. The meeting will end with a buffet lunch giving an opportunity for networking and getting one-to-one advice on your CiC proposal ideas from MRC CiC programme representative, panel members, Research Deanery and Business Engagement (NB: one-to-one sessions must be pre-booked by contacting the Research Deanery).

Full details about the event including indicative agenda and event registration.


UMI3 Partnership with Stevenage Bioscience Catalyst (SBC)

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SBC Incubator

SBC Incubator

UMI3 Ltd is celebrating three years of working with the Stevenage Bioscience Catalyst during which time a spin-out company has been formed and numerous other projects supported on the road towards commercialisation.

The Partnership is a working relationship between the Open Innovation Centre based at GlaxoSmithKine (GSK) in Stevenage and UMI3 Ltd, The University of Manchester’s innovation company, on Grafton Street in Manchester. The arrangement was initiated by ex-University of Manchester Incubator Company MD, Dr Martino Picardo, who left Manchester in 2011 to take up the role of CEO at the SBC.

Both parties have been working together since 2013 to foster biomedical innovation through a wide range of activities including: facilitating introductions to innovators, research collaboration managers and licensing executives; reciprocal exchange of information on tenant biomedical companies; sharing networks of investors and advisors and sharing best practice in biomedical innovation and incubation.

UMI3’s Dr Sunita Jones identified several potential technologies and discoveries from Manchester which were put forward to SBC’s Discover Assist Program, which comprises of a panel of independent experts and consultants. The collaboration has ultimately resulted in the formation of University of Manchester spin-out, Opticin Ltd, with others in the pipeline.

Opticin Limited Background

Opticin Ltd was set up by Professor Paul Bishop from the Centre for Hearing and Vision Research in the Faculty of Medical and Human Sciences, who discovered a human protein molecule which has the potential to prevent abnormal blood vessel formation in the eye. This discovery led to the ongoing development of a potential treatment for eye conditions in adults and premature babies.

Paul and his colleagues found that the protein had potent anti-angiogenic properties and had characteristics that suggested it could be suitable for development into a therapeutic drug that could complement existing therapies in the treatment of diabetic retinopathy (DR), a sight-threatening condition that affects 93 million people worldwide and in retinopathy of prematurity (RoP), affecting premature babies.

Help from the SBC

He explained how UMI3 Ltd, through its technology transfer division UMIP, and the SBC has helped to support the development of this novel technology through setting up a spin-out company:

“UMIP helped us to file the patent which enabled us to move the development of Opticin forwards. We also received Proof-of-Principle funding which allowed us to develop our research and were further supported by an additional input from the Welcome Trust. The support we have received has helped us to take this from a research finding to a development project with potentially significant clinical and commercial value.“

The technology was reviewed by an Expert Panel at the Stevenage Bioscience Catalyst facilitated by Dr Picardo and subsequently development of Opticin was recommended via a spin-out. The company was incorporated in early 2014.

Paul added: “Although we initially intended Opticin for Oncology therapy the SBC input directed us towards a focus on Ophthalmology. Further input from potential investors, turned us to an orphan indication, RoP an eye condition in which blood vessels can grow from the retina into the vitreous humor, a condition which affects premature infants and patients with diabetes.

Current treatment involves laser treatment to the retina which can result in scarring. It is anticipated that injecting Opticin into the eye will be far less invasive with minimal side effects and increased efficacy. The spin-out is now seeking funding to complete the pre-clinical development of Opticin.”




‘Making a Difference’ awards 2016

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making a difference 2016Following the success of the Making a Difference Awards for social responsibility 2015, The University of Manchester’s Social Responsibility team have now launched the ‘Making a Difference’ awards 2016. UMIP and MEC have again been working closely with the team to help shape a Social Enterprise category.

The ‘Outstanding Contribution to Social Enterprise (Aspiring and/or Trading for > 1 year) category will recognise social enterprises that are innovative and have made significant contributions to creating societal benefit.

The awards are open to all staff, students and recent graduates/ alumni (up to 2 years).

Entrants will be assessed based on either being;

  • an aspiring social enterprise i.e. demonstrating working towards the criteria below
  • or as a trading social enterprise able to fully demonstrate the criteria below

Social impact: Showing how operations (products, services, business models) have benefitted the community, or how they have committed a significant proportion of profit towards furthering the social purpose.

Business performance and financial viability: Demonstrating effective use of resources and an ability to operate a sustainable business; showing a shift in reliance on grant funding to deriving income through trading is advantageous; demonstrating scalability.

Innovation and productivity: Demonstrating innovative thinking in creation of enterprise and improvements in products/services/processes/delivery.

Leadership and governance:  Demonstrate vision and commitment and providing strategic guidance as well as ensuring corporate governance.

For more information about the awards and how to apply please follow the link:

The closing date for entries is the 1st February and we would like to encourage you to get involved and raise the profile of your enterprise within the University. Don’t forget you can apply yourself or even nominate someone else and individuals and teams can enter. All entries will be assessed by a judging panel. Shortlisted initiatives will be published in March, with the winners being announced at a special awards ceremony in Whitworth Hall, on the evening of 11th May 2016.

Dowling – the real issues and the future

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The Technology Transfer Offices (TTOs) of Edinburgh, Imperial, Oxford, Manchester and UCL have collaborated to endorse a paper called ‘Dowling – the real issues and the future’.

Professor Ann Dowling published her ‘Review of Business-University Research Collaborations’ in July 2015. The Review has been generally well received and contains much useful information and a series of recommendations.

In this article we discuss how our Technology Transfer Offices (TTOs) will try to respond to the relevant observations and recommendations expressed in the Review and also comment on the need for action from other organisations in the UK innovation community. Further, we identify a number of characteristics that make up a ‘good’ industry or business partner for working together with universities.

Please click here to access the document.


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