University of Manchester spin-out Spectromics Limited launches new website

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University of Manchester spin-out, Spectromics Limited, a medical diagnostic company providing a smarter way to tackle antibiotic resistance, using its rapid point-of-prescription test, has just launched its new website at www.spectromics.com.

One of the major causes of antibiotic resistance is that patients are treated without the use of diagnostics to guide treatment today. To-date this has been the case because the tests required to determine resistance or susceptibility of a panel of antibiotics has taken days to perform in a laboratory, distant from the point-of- prescription. This empirical issuing of antibiotics results in giving patients antibiotics when they don’t have a bacterial infection, or an antibiotic that the infection is resistant to, both these actions allow bacteria to build further resistance.

The Spectromic solution is a 10 minute test that fits within a doctor / patient appointment and the test determines whether a bacterial infection is present, and if so which antibiotic/s will most effectively treat the particular infection.

Despite the rising incidence of antibiotic resistance, we still have a large number of antibiotics to use against infections, using these drugs effectively will reduce the escalation in resistance, and allow us to conserve last-line antibiotics.

The first test that Spectromics is developing is for urinary tract infection, the largest bacterial infection in man that accounts for 15% of all community prescribed antibiotics. The test is being designed to be simple to use by untrained staff as it’s expected to be predominantly carried out in primary care settings. However it will also have utility in institutional settings as in the US some 30% of UTI cases present at ER units due to patients feeling unwell and with a fever. By triaging patients in ER settings for UTI early the patient treatment costs associated with such infections in ER settings can be largely avoided (ER costs are 10x higher than in primary care according to a study carried out by the Henry Ford Hospital, Detroit last year).

Contact Spectromics: email neil@meddx.co.uk  tel +44 (0)1580 891106.

Follow Spectromics on Twitter: @Spectromics

THE UNIVERSITY OF MANCHESTER PARTNERS WITH MORGAN ADVANCED MATERIALS FOR GRAPHENE DEVELOPMENT

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Morgan Advanced Materials has announced a new joint development agreement with The University of Manchester, aimed at scaling up a new process for manufacturing graphene – a one-atom thick carbon allotrope first isolated at the university ten years ago and for which two Nobel Prizes were awarded.

The world’s thinnest material and a potent conductor, graphene is also extremely lightweight, chemically inert and has a large surface area which means, with further research and testing, it could change the way we think about electrical and chemical engineering.

Bringing together some of the University’s leading graphene researchers and Morgan’s 150 years of carbon processing expertise, the partnership will explore the full potential of graphene, with a particular interest in understanding and optimising the relationship between the manufacturing process and materials science. The partnership has been established to improve the prospects of bringing this material to commercial reality. Morgan initially began work with The University of Manchester in early 2010 on a number of Government-funded materials and related programmes, and the joint graphene development agreement represents the next stage in this relationship.

The University of Manchester, the home of graphene, was where the scientific discovery was made. It has around 200 graphene researchers and is a world leader in applied and fundamental graphene research. The £61m National Graphene Institute at the University is set to open in early 2015, funded by £38m from the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council and £23m from the European Regional Development Fund. The integrated Morgan and University academic team will therefore be working within a significant community of graphene expertise and facilities.

Dr Mike Murray, Chief Technology Officer of Morgan Advanced Materials commented: “With decades of expertise in developing specialist carbon-based materials, Morgan’s material scientists will be based full time at the university, working closely with academic colleagues to understand the manufacturing mechanism and properties of graphene, helping us explore the applications where the technology can be used for optimum benefit.”

Clive Rowland, CEO of the University’s Innovation Company, UMI3, added: “To explore and fully exploit the properties of graphene, commercial partnerships are vital. I am very pleased with our collaboration with Morgan, which is based around an intellectual property project that we have taken to the proof-of-principle stage. We have consistently said that joining forces with world-class companies like Morgan Advanced Materials and tapping into such engineering and industrial experience will help us realise the full potential of the material and greatly assist us in overcoming the myriad challenges of taking an entirely new material from the laboratory all the way through to the manufacturing stage and ultimately to market adoption of industrial products and perhaps consumer products in due course.”

For more information on graphene visit www.graphene.manchester.ac.uk

UMIP Fellows Programme enters its 2nd Year

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The second year of our UMIP Fellows Programme has commenced with an Information Day event which took place at our Innovation Centre on Grafton Street on 30th July.

The event was attended by over 60 postgraduate students and consisted of a series of presentations by UMIP’s Heather Thompson and Siobhan Daniels, Manchester Enterprise Centre’s Lynn Sheppard and Martin Henery and also by three Fellows from our first programme who described their experiences.

The programme is modelled on the similar, highly successful Columbia Fellows Programme run at Columbia University in New York and offers a unique opportunity for full-time postgraduate students registered at the University to gain in-depth experience in technology commercialisation activities. The programme is intended to enhance our understanding of the commercial potential of University technologies, while providing Fellows with a valuable educational experience.

Successful Fellows receive structured training from UMIP staff in order to complete assignments, and the opportunity to participate in enterprise training from the Manchester Enterprise Centre. We expect that Fellows will be starting their 2nd year of PhD study in a STEM related discipline, and will be able to commit to the programme for at least one year.

Heather Thompson, Director of IP Development and Partnering at UMIP, commented: “It is great to get so much interest in the Fellows Programme and enthusiasm from students here today. I am especially pleased that three of our Fellows came back to share their experiences with the audience and that they felt that they gained so much from participating in the first UMIP Fellows Programme. I’m looking forward to another successful year!”

Lynn Sheppard, Director of Manchester Enterprise Centre, commented: ”It is very exciting to see the UMIP Fellows Programme entering a second year and enabling students interested in enterprise to get hand-on experience of real technology commercialisation cases.”

If you were unable to attend the event but would like to apply to be a UMIP Fellow, you can download our application form here and a copy of our presentation which explains our aims and expectations here. Deadline for applications is 5pm on Wednesday 27th August 2014.

For additional information about our Fellow Programme, please contact: Margaret Lewis on 0161 306 3067 or margaret.lewis@umip.com.

UMIP Fellows Information Day

Sense-Health small grant pump-priming: call for applications

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The University of Manchester Sensing Systems in Healthcare (Sense-Health) initiative has some resource to support new activities which will lead to further research grants and collaborations in this interdisciplinary area.

Potentially fundable activities might include funding to travel to European meetings to build Horizon 2020 bids, consumables to generate preliminary data, funding to conduct a literature review, or covering the costs of inviting a new external collaborator to Manchester. However, this list is not exhaustive and we will consider any applications, which demonstrate a clear pathway to a funding bid.

We invite University and MAHSC colleagues to submit a 2 page max application, using the following headers-

Title

  1. Principal investigator (name, job title, affiliation, email address)
  2. Activity to be covered by the funding
  3. How much do you need? (Typically applications in the region of £2,000-3,000 will be considered- larger amounts will require exceptional justification)
  4. What new research proposal (to an external funding scheme) will this lead to, and in what timescale? (Please include details of the funding body and deadline you intend to submit to)
  5. Who else (from UoM, MAHSC or externally) will be involved?

Please submit your applications to sarah.barton@manchester.ac.uk by Friday 15th August. Applications will be considered by the Sense-Health academic leads and other academics as appropriate.

UMIP Awards for Social Enterprise innovation create buzz in Manchester

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As another academic year closes, we were proud to showcase our Social Entrepreneurs to an audience of representatives from the University, successful social entrepreneurs and the local business support community. Our Social Enterprise Competition 2014, which was open to all University staff and academics, has resulted in 7 outstanding social entrepreneurs receiving £14000 of awards to further develop their ideas.

To celebrate their achievements, our UMIP Showcasing Social Entrepreneurs Event was held on July 17th at our Innovation Centre, UMIC. We showcased a wide range of innovative ideas, addressing social or environmental needs from a solar powered LED lighting system to using visual imagery to connect arts and science.

Dr Gill Green, STORM Skills Training CIC CEO and UMIP social enterprise ambassador, comments: “The calibre of the social enterprises on show was inspiring, as was the University’s ambition to embrace this area and become a beacon university for social enterprise. Staff and students alike can feel real pride in what has been created in such a brief period of time.”

There were two categories to reflect the development stage of enterprise ideas and over the course of the competition we have awarded:

  • 4 Try it Awards: for social entrepreneurs to try out their ideas by finding out if their idea is viable, learning more about what is needed and trying the project on a small scale initially.
  • 3 Do it Awards: to allow an entrepreneurial idea to grow. Do It Awards are for social entrepreneurs who are confident their project will work and have the basic skills to ‘do it’.

Dr Laura Etchells, UMIP’s Enterprise and Business Development Manager, comments: “The continued support from UnLtd through their programmes has been invaluable in helping us to really build on our existing commercialisation operations to find, fund and support social entrepreneurs from across the University. The competition this year has again been very successful and we received over 19 applications from entrepreneurial staff identifying social enterprise ideas with real societal benefit.”

As well as funding these new ideas, we have been focusing on developing some of the opportunities from last year’s programme and we now have a jointly funded Build It Award (Helen Power, Levenshulme Market) with UnLtd and two social ventures being pursued through the UMIP Entrepreneur in Transit (EiT) initiative (HiSolar and PLP). The University is also extremely pleased to announce it has recently secured Scale and Growth funding from UnLtd and HEFCE to continue supporting social entrepreneurs who’s ideas are beginning to reach a scalable point.

The Enterprise Team will be continuing to actively seek budding social entrepreneurs to test out their ideas and will be looking to support our existing cohort of awardees as they start to scale and grow their enterprises.

Click on photo to enlarge

(1st row l-r: Helen Chilton - High Expectations for Deaf Children, Dr Jenna Ashton - The Silence of the Photograph, Catriona Kennedy - Smart Assistance App, Jane Raftery - MaccFutures, Liz McIllroy- iBop, Dr Raj Ariyaratnam - SOSTEK-M)

(1st row l-r: Helen Chilton – High Expectations for Deaf Children, Dr Jenna Ashton – The Silence of the Photograph, Catriona Kennedy – Smart Assistance App, Jane Raftery – MaccFutures, Liz McIllroy- iBop, Dr Raj Ariyaratnam – SOSTEK-M)

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