BUILDING THE GRAPHENE/2-D MATERIALS INNOVATION ECOSYSTEM AT MANCHESTER
The University of Manchester’s approach to commercialisation of graphene and other 2-D materials has been guided by the concept of the innovation ecosystem. This emphasises the need to nurture world-leading science, collaborate with and attract investment from industry, secure and commercialise IP, engage with well-regarded technology entrepreneurs, provide a supportive environment for start-ups and critically, to ensure that there are sufficient trained people to provide the necessary labour market to anchor the firms in the UK.
Within any innovation ecosystem there are key institutions which support the earlier stages of technology development. At Manchester the capital building structure aspect of the ecosystem consists of The National Graphene Institute (engaging in academic-led industry collaboration with companies of all types and sizes) and The Graphene Engineering Innovation Centre (facilitating industry-led development with academic participation) and the research power aspect consists of some 200+ academic researchers on campus. This infrastructure is supported by UMIP (the University’s technology transfer division), Graphene Enabled Systems Ltd (a University wholly-owned subsidiary focussing on producing product demonstrators arising from industry needs-driven demand) and also by specialist graphene companies partnering with the University.