• We are catalysts for innovation, commercialising next-generation technologies developed by

    The University of Manchester’s world-class research base

    • £360m+ invested by venture funders

    • 40+ spin-out companies created

    • 7,500+ licences and IP partnerships concluded

    • 4,000+ invention disclosures received

    • £115m+ IP and R&D revenue generated for the University

  • We are catalysts for innovation, commercialising next-generation technologies developed by The University of Manchester’s world-class research base

    • £300m+ invested by venture funders since 2004

    • 40+ spin-out companies created

    • 4,800+

      licences and IP partnerships concluded

    • 3,700+ invention disclosures received

    • 1,300+ jobs generated across various industry sectors

    • £105m+ IP and R&D revenue generated for the University

Archive for July, 2011

Low Carbon and Environment Competition Grand Prix Success

Over the past few months UMIC has been holding a Low Carbon and Environment Competition (LCEC). This competition was set up to draw out innovative, commercially viable Low Carbon projects from academics within The University of Manchester. The competition consisted of 3 heats, alongside a series of workshops designed to help applicants shape their idea and improve their chances of winning a coveted prize

On the 27th June, UMIC hosted the LCEC Grand Prix Final at their bespoke conferencing facilities in the Core Technology Facility. Five applicants were short-listed and asked to pitch their idea to the judging panel under closed conditions. The judging panel consisted of representatives from the companies providing the prizes for the LCEC competition including; Tony Walker (UMIC), Frank Allison (UMIP), Ean Davies (Appleyard Lees), Peter Gaunt (Winning Pitch) and David Innes-Edwards (Frontier PR)

In addition to the five short-listed finalists we also awarded a number of Merit Awards to the ideas that were particularly well presented but still required support and assistance to fully realise the potential. All applicants were invited to attend the Grand Prix event and given the opportunity to network with a variety of Low Carbon and Industry experts, including representatives from the Museum of Science and Industry (MOSI).

Finalist Barry Gleave from the Faculty of Medical & Human Sciences was awarded £5k worth of commercialisation support from UMIP, alongside full assistance with preparing and filing a UK patent application from Appleyard Lees. Barry’s idea looked at an Energy Efficient LED Growth Chamber for Plant Sciences.

Joanne Tippett from the School of Environment & Development was also awarded £5k worth of commercialisation support from UMIP, alongside a support package from UMIC. This includes high quality accommodation in the Low Carbon Incubation Centre, business mentoring from UMIC executives and associates including legal, IP and access to funding sources. She will also obtain access to a range of Master classes and Workshops to help develop her idea. Joanne’s “RoundView” concept encompassed a decision making tool for developing sustainability.

Professor Mohammed Missous from the School of Electrical & Electronic Engineering and Dr Steve Hall (together with co-applicant Prof. Robin Smith from the School of Chemical Engineering and Analytical Sciences) both won entry onto a Winning Business Academy® course. This course will look at sales and business development strategies relating to each idea, including tools and techniques for planning growth. Mohammed was awarded his prize for developing an innovative Domestic Smart Electricity meter using Advanced Semiconductor Technology. Steve and Robin received their prize for their idea covering the Accelerated Optimisation of Complex Crude Oil Systems for Energy Reduction.
Finally, Dr Antonio Filippone from the School of Mechanical, Aerospace and Civil Engineering was awarded bespoke Marketing and Communications support from Frontier PR, designated to develop the Communications Planning of his idea. Antonio’s idea was associated with the Engineering Analysis of Carbon Emissions from Commercial Aviation. Unfortunately, Antonio was unable to attend the Grand Prix so his post doctoral associate, Zulfaa Mohamed-Kassim, attended on his behalf

Tony Walker from UMIC, who awarded the prizes on the day, was extremely pleased with the result of the competition, stating:

“We were very happy with the outcome overall and that the quality of the entries was so high and demonstrable of the range and diversity of the subject matters covered.”

UMIC will be following up with every applicant regardless of winning a prize, to ensure these excellent ideas progress accordingly. Similarly, the competition will be run again next year, with a view to expanding it out to North West SMEs and The University of Manchester students.

University of Manchester innovation cited as world-leading by the National Grid

National Grid’s 2009/10 Innovation Funding Incentive annual report describes Arago Technology’s composite cross arm technology as an electricity transmission innovation which should lead the way to the first major improvement in line configuration for decades and which is world-leading in concept

Arago Technology was spun out of the School of Electrical and Electronic Engineering in 2010 and is a joint venture between the University and EPL Composite Solutions Ltd. The project is managed by the University’s technology transfer company, UMIP, in collaboration with partners.

National Grid’s Innovation Funding Incentive (IFI) is a programme which is based on R &D collaborations with members of the electricity and gas industries and other key stakeholders, and out of 157 National Grid IFI active projects, the composite cross arm technology was selected to be showcased as one of 12 innovations in the company’s IFI annual report.

The novel cross arm acts as a direct replacement of the usual steel cross arm and vertical insulator on an overhead line pylon. This unique and patented technology offers the capability to significantly increase the power capacity of existing infrastructure without the need to install larger pylons or the use of smaller pylons where new build is required. Given the significant planning and consent hurdles faced by network operators, the predicted infrastructure developments needed to meet increases in future electricity demand and the need to improve capacity for renewable energy generation, the innovation is timely and is expected to save transmission system operators substantial time and cost.

Following the successful installation of four full-scale prototypes on a de-energised 132kV transmission line in Scotland and intensive mechanical and electrical testing, further live trials at 400kV are planned for later this year.

The team behind the innovation are Professor Ian Cotton, Professor Simon Rowland and Peter Green from the University, with the expertise of EPL who design, develop and build composite solutions across a wide range of industries.
Commenting on the IFI listing, UMIP Venture manager, Dr Frank Allison, said: “For Arago’s technology to be cited as world leading by National Grid in their annual IFI report is a great accolade and one which mirrors the belief Arago’s dedicated team has in the technology.”

Over the past 2 years, the technology has also successfully secured funding from Scottish and Southern Energy and from the UMIP Proof-of-Principle Fund and was the winner of an Energy Innovation Award in 2010.