A recent report published by the ESRC shows that social scientists are becoming increasingly engaged through their research. This is testament to how the knowledge exchange agenda has become embedded and been embraced. That said, what disciplines are involved varies, as does who they are engaging with. It is also striking, if not entirely unsurprising, that social scientists are more likely to engage with charitable and public sector organisations (49%) than with businesses (30%).
There are, of course, many reasons for this. However, it is important to emphasise that this is not for a lack of relevant insight! Indeed, this raises an important question about how the social sciences can and should engage with businesses to realise the impact of research-based insights. If opportunities for businesses engagement are in the eye of the beholder, then there is a need to make social scientists more aware about the possibilities. If we cannot identify our own value, we cannot expect others to see it.
Engaging with business is not the privileged domain of engineering and the sciences. The challenge, however, is ensuring that the value of the social sciences is not overlooked by businesses, or worse goes unrecognised. The onus, therefore, is on social scientists to demonstrate the relevance of their research to business, just as they have to charitable and public sector organisations. This is about translation, making research insights accessible where the findings are non-obvious and engaging with businesses to co-produce new knowledge.
The Sensors and Their Applications XVIII (2016) conference will be held on 12th-14th September in London. The Sensors & Applications series of conferences provides an excellent opportunity to bring together scientists and engineers from academia, research institutes and industrial establishments to present and discuss the latest results in the field of sensors, instrumentation and measurement.
ensors and Their Applications XVIII (2016) conference wiill be held on 12th -14th September in London. The conference is orgnasied by the Institute of Physics Instrument Science and Technology Group. In this year, the Sensors and their Applications conference will also feature an industry session to enable the conference partcipants to showcase the industry and technology transfer activities in sensor related areas.
Invited speakers will give lectures on important recent advances within the symposium, in addition to contributed talks and poster sessions.
• Optical sensors
• Chemical and gas sensors
• Sensors in biology and medicine
• Advances in sensing materials
• Nanotechnology for sensors and actuators
• Smart sensors and interface electronics
• MEMS and silicon fabrication techniques
• Imaging: integrated actuators
• Thick and thin film sensors
• Sensor modelling
• Sensor packaging and assemblies
For further details on the conference and to register, please go to the event website.
As crowdfunding in the UK continues to grow, it is also becoming an increasingly important source of finance for arts and heritage projects. As a result local authorities, institutions, public bodies and foundations have begun to explore what this new form of finance means for the people and organisations they are supporting and how they can work with the crowd on identifying and funding worthy projects.
However, none of the matched funds to date have had a dedicated focus on arts or heritage projects. Linked to this, there has been little research done on the real impact of matched crowdfunding, such as whether or not it has the opportunity to generate more funding for the arts and heritage sector or increase awareness and public participation in supporting and initiating projects.
Crowdfunder is working with Nesta to launch a matched crowdfunding pilot aimed squarely at the arts and heritage sectors. The pilot will provide two streams of £125,000 in matchfunding to arts and heritage projects that have received backing from the crowd. Nesta is developing the pilot in partnership with Arts Council England, Heritage Lottery Fund and the Department for Culture, Media and Sport. Crowdfunder will develop the matched crowdfunding platform for the pilot.
Take part in the global showcase of UK innovation, hear from global thought-leaders and create real business opportunities at Innovate 2016. Find out about today’s business opportunities and future-looking trends across manufacturing, health, cities of the future and technologies of the future.
Hear from industry-leaders on topics such as:
Retaining the edge with disruptive business models
Manufacturing: Tackling the productivity gap
Implementing resilience in a city of the future
Next-generation medicine: The UK as a world leader
Hear from top-level inspirational speakers from organisations including: Siemens, Versarien, Amazon, University of Manchester, Hyperloop One, High Value Manufacturing Catapult and of course Innovate UK CEO Dr Ruth McKernan CBE and Catherine Raines, CEO from the Department for International Trade. Support zone
Discover the breadth of funding and support for businesses and meet with the organisations that exist to help business thrive. The Support Zone will be back featuring among others the UK Business Angels Association, British Business Bank, HMRC and Growth Hubs.
This £500,000 competition is funded by Creative England’s regional growth fund and run by South West and West of England Academic Health Science Networks (AHSNs) in conjunction with SETsquared.
The priorities themes for this competition are:
Enabling the health and care workforce, patients, their carers and families to work more effectively in care settings
Enabling patients and citizens to manage their health and wellbeing independently
Influencing and incentivising behaviour to improve health outcomes.
The funding is available to small or medium sized enterprises based in England (outside of Greater London) via investments of between £25,000 and £50,000. Funding will be allocated to support the uptake and market traction of innovative digital technologies that will clearly improve patient care and health service provision.
Applications will be assessed on a rolling basis and the final deadline for submissions is 30 September 2016. For the full guidelines and an application form, please visit the Creative England website.
This enables a small number of research organisations to use creative approaches to building relationships with industry partners.
Short term people exchanges between industry and academia are seen as a key way of exchanging skills and knowledge and developing a longer term working relationship. Proximity to Discovery: Industry Engagement Fund can be used for people and knowledge exchange at the very earliest stage of a collaboration and may not necessarily be aligned to a specific project objective.
Funding for individual applications is not expected to exceed £250,000 and it should be spent within 18 months.
For more funding opportunities that are most relevant to you, you can set up your own personalised alerts on Research Professional. If you need help setting these up, just ask your School’s/Faculty’s Funding Development Officer in RKEO or view the recent blog post here.
If thinking of applying, why not add notification of your interest on Research Professional’s record of the bid so that BU colleagues can see your intention to bid and contact you to collaborate.
UK industry, RTOs and Catapult Centres currently win approximately 340 million euros a year of funding from Horizon 2020. It is about one third (31%) of the total funding for the UK and our SMEs win more funding than any other country.
Industry, like science, is a global endeavour and whilst it is critical that we successfully manage the transition of our relationship with the EU, we must also seize the opportunity to build new global connections and to redefine our collaborations and partnerships around the world.
Following on from the 2 blog posts (Blog post 1/ Blog post 2) earlier this week on Innovation the next set of outcomes and connections introduces the concept:
Game changer 3 = UK innovators + crowding forward investment
A key criterion for public sector investment is that it is “additional”, that it doesn’t crowd out willing private sector investment.
Indeed, the goal of Innovate UK is quite the opposite – to crowd in private sector investment by building private sector confidence in tackling the markets of the future.
We shouldn’t, though, be satisfied with just simply crowding-in private sector investment; we should be proactively crowding it forward.
Leveraging the structure and robustness of Innovate UK’s competitions as a strategic platform through which the private sector (commercial and 3rd sector) can gain the confidence it needs to invest both earlier and more widely.
The Royal Academy of Engineering Enterprise Fellowships scheme is now open for applications. The scheme supports both post-doctoral academics and recent graduates.
Enterprise Fellowships stimulate excellence and encourage creativity and innovation in engineering by supporting the founders and leaders of tomorrow’s high-tech companies, be they spin outs or start-ups. The awards provide money-can’t-buy bespoke support and one-to-one mentoring from the Academy’s Fellowship, which is composed of some of the country’s most successful engineers from across academia and industry. Support is provided to both university-based academics wishing to spin-out a company, and also to recent graduates wishing to create a company.
Prior experience of commercialisation activities is not required, the desire and capability to succeed is more important and we will equip you with the necessary skills through a programme of training and mentoring.
Awardees receive up to £60,000 funding, 12 months expert mentoring from successful entrepreneurs, bespoke training and membership of the Enterprise Hub.
The Academy is a charity and does not take any equity stake in the companies formed.
So if you are a postdoctoral researcher at a UK-based university with an innovation or technology you wish to develop through a spin-out, or you have graduated within the last five years and are seeking to run a startup in the UK, then this scheme will be of interest to you.
The application deadline is Monday 17 October, and more details are available on the website, or contact the enterprise team.
Innovate UK and the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) are to invest a total of £19.5 million to support projects in Quantum Technologies. Projects may involve technologies belonging to one of the core groups defined in the UK’s roadmap for quantum technologies: clocks, sensors, imaging, communications or computing.
The call is now open, the registration deadline is 28th September and the call closes at noon on the 5th October.
Projects must be industry-led, but projects involving academics as partners are welcome, provided academic costs do not exceed 50% of the total.
Up to £6 million will be available for Feasibility Studies, which will fund the development of early stage devices, component technologies and for marketing studies. Projects will last up to 12 months and have total costs of £50k- £400k.
The Collaborative R&D call will seek to connect the supply chain, to deliver a demonstrator technology and must include an end user. A fund of £13.5 million is available. Total project values should be £500k – £2 million, but an addition 10% is available which can only be used for capital equipment, taking the maximum project value to £2.2 million.
If you are interested in this call you must contact RKEO with adequate notice before the deadline. Please note that some funding bodies specify a time for submission as well as a date. Please confirm this with your RKEO Funding Development Officer.
You can set up your own personalised alerts on Research Professional. If you need help setting these up, just ask your School’s/Faculty’s Funding Development Officer in RKEO or view the recent blog post here. If you are thinking of applying, why not add an expression of interest on Research Professional so that BU colleagues can see your intention to bid and contact you to collaborate.
It was the first time that the importance of place was recognised in the science and innovation strategy and set in motion a series of new conversations and the development of a new set of connections.
Everyone has a different definition for “innovation”. Is the view of Kevin Baughan Director of Technology and Innovation at Innovate UK. For him innovation defined simply as “delivering better outcomes”.
It is broad enough in scope to reflect the importance of innovation in enhancing every aspect of our lives, whilst at the same time emphasising the criticality of delivery and the need for leadership and collaborations in order to achieve those better outcomes.
Better connections was a key theme of the new Secretary of State’s early speeches on introducing his new ministerial team The Rt Hon Greg Clark MP, observed that: “[An industrial] strategy makes connections between what might otherwise be disparate forces; aligning them, rather than leaving them isolated or even opposed.”
So how do you use industrial strategy to make effective connections between what might otherwise be disparate forces and how do you then use those connections to deliver better outcomes? As part of a series of blog posts these ideas are introduced:
Game changer 1 = UK innovators + cross disciplinary science
Each sector of the economy is of course very different and the journey from concept to commercialisation is rarely a linear one but a clear industrial strategy fosters connections and alignment.
We have all experienced the powerful difference when you are in a team with a common purpose.
This not only fits well with the benefits demonstrated by the earlier automotive example, but it moves the entire game on, by ensuring that it’s cross disciplinary research teams, which are integrated into cross technology innovation initiatives which are in pursuit of our future industrial strategies.
Universities earn over £4bn working with the wider world, through knowledge exchange between UK universities and the public, private and third sectors. The annual Higher Education, Business and Community Interaction (HE-BCI) Survey is the most accurate picture of UK higher education institutions’ commercial relationships.
UK performance is world leading. Comparisons demonstrate that the return on investment from commercialisation of research (sale of equity) is higher in the UK than in the USA or Japan and engagement with industry (proportion of research income) is at similar levels either side of the Atlantic.
We have written in many previous BU blogs about progress of our THET-funded project in southern Nepal (e.g. here AND here ). Today’s blog reflects on the use on BU’s unique FUSION approach in our project ‘Mental Health Training for Maternity Care Providers in Nepal‘.
Our BU-led project brings highly experienced health professionals, such as midwives, health visitors or mental health nurses, to Nepal to work as volunteer trainers. The training is aimed at community-based maternity care practitioners and addresses key mental health issues relevant to pregnancy and for new mothers and offers the required communication skills. These health professionals will bring their experience as health care providers as well as trainers in the field of mental health and maternity care/midwifery, mental ill-health prevention and health promotion. They volunteer for two to three weeks at a time to design and deliver training in southern Nepal.
The Centre for Midwifery & Maternal Health (CMMPH) collaborates in this project with Liverpool John Moores University (LJMU), the Department of Health, and Physical & Population Education at Nepal’s oldest university Tribhuvan University’s (TU). The project is supported in the field by a local charity called Green Tara Nepal. Our project is part of the Health Partnership such as Nepal. HPS itself is funded by the UK Department for International Development and managed by THET (Tropical and Health Education Trust).
Our maternal mental health project is a good example of BU’s FUSION approach as it combines EDUCATION (through the training of Auxiliary Nurse-Midwives in Nepal) by UK volunteers (representing PRACTICE) through an intervention which is properly evaluated (representing RESEARCH) is a perfect example of BU’s FUSION in action. Moreover, the project will be partly evaluated by FHSS’s Preeti Mahato as part of her PhD thesis research. This PhD project is supervised by Dr. Catherine Angell (CEL & CMMPH), BU Visiting Professor Padam Simkhada (based at LJMU) and CMMPH’s Prof. Edwin van Teijlingen.BU’s focus on the FUSION of research, education and professional practice is a unique variant of the way UK universities (and many abroad) blend academic teaching, research and scholarship. FUSION is a key concept derived from BU’s strategic Vision & Values).
Over the past four weeks during our research project at Bournemouth University, we have carried out and participated in numerous tests and activities in the Orthopaedic Research Institute under the supervision of PGR Francesco Ferraro; some of which being more exciting, and others being more interesting.
One the simplest tests that we have carried out for the purpose of the research is the Mini-BESTest, this is a Balance Evaluation Systems Test and requires numerous subsidiary tests to be carried out for different aspects associated with balance, these include: anticipatory tests (when preparing for something to happen), reactive postural control (how you react to a change in motion), sensory orientation, and dynamic gait speeds (walking speeds and how they change in different circumstances). This was necessary in order to see how the effects of inspiratory muscle training effects balance over the course of 8 weeks.
In terms of analysis and methods, one of the most interesting tests for us involved the breathing system and using a spirometer. This device was used to measure the Forced Vital Capacity (total air volume of the lungs), Forced Expiratory Volume (how much air a person can exhale in a forced breath), MIP (maximum pressure generated by inhalation against occluded airway), and the MEP (this is the same but is the pressure generated by exhaling). For us, this was particularly interesting because it allowed us to see how a spirometer works in a hands on experience and how the data is presented and analysed.
Another series of tests involved the PrimusRS, a very impressive machine. It served to be a challenge and required lots of problem solving to carry out the tests successfully. During our use of the PrimusRS we experienced the different processes that were needed to be carried out involving; calibration, setting up, creating templates, correcting motion to improve the results, and the analysis of the final results. This was an extraordinary piece of equipment as it allowed us to carry out endurance and isometric tests (strength tests) for both flexion, extension and rotation regarding the trunk muscles, and gave us different data including power of the muscles/ movement.
Finally, the most exciting and enjoyable session to carry out involved using Virtual Reality Simulators for knee arthroscopy (operations) that surgeons all over the world travel to see. The reason for this being the most enjoyable test/session was due to complexity behind machines that looked so simple, and it allowed us to carry out practise operations teaching you the motions and procedures that would be used in real life. Other fascinating features of the virtual simulator was the way in which it introduced us to the different textures of the bone structures and tissues by giving feedback involving vibrations and stiffness of the simulator drill/ saw as well as the screen display.
As well as all of these above tests, we also are aware of the protocols and ethics of the tests that we have carried out in the duration of the project, this allowed us to experience and build up our own picture of the research that needs to be carried out before conducting the actual investigation.
The UK’s Ministry of Defence has set up a project intended to help government researchers collaborate better with colleagues in industry and academia and to transform how the armed forces deal with future challenges.
Defence secretary Michael Fallon announced on 12 August that the initiative would include an Innovation and Research Insights Unit to anticipate emerging trends in technology and analyse the implications for UK defence and security. The unit would “informing critical decisions to maintain our military advantage and protect the UK”, he said.