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Engaging the social sciences with business

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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.

Click here to find out more about this research and the academics involved in this area of work.

The Sensors and Their Applications 2016 conference

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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.

Conference Themes

• 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.

Funding for arts and heritage

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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.

To find out more.

Innovate 2016 – The Global Spotlight on UK Innovation

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Innovate 2016 will be held at Manchester Central on the 2nd – 3rd November 2016.

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
  • Emerging technologies revolutionising innovation

View the full agenda.

Inspirational speakers
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.

Register and find out more.

 

Creative England Interactive Healthcare Fund

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The South West Interactive Healthcare Programme  is currently seeking applications from the creative sector in addition to healthcare.

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.

Innovation defined? Outcomes and connections – Industrial strategy

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?

(This blog post the final in a series of blog posts on Innovation : Blog post 1/ Blog post 2  / Blog post 3 /Blog post 4)

Success = research + innovate + scale

Fortunately, in the automotive sector, we have an outstanding example of how research, innovation, industry and government connects together and aligns through an industrial strategy, to deliver record results.

At the heart of the automotive industrial strategy for technology is an integrated end-to-end ecosystem, which is aligned to its shared ambitions and “The Low Carbon Vehicles Innovation Platform” is a great example of how the entire auto sector, proactively supported by government, was able to respond successfully to the challenge ahead of them.

The end-to-end ecosystem (pre-manufacture) of our auto industry
The end-to-end ecosystem (pre-manufacture) of our auto industry

It’s a powerful model, which aligns everyone around progressing the most promising technologies: from the early stages of research; through the mid stages of innovation; to the later stages focused on the capability to scale.

Read the blog post in full on Innovate UK’s website.

Proximity to discovery – industry engagement fund

andrew archery

Medical Research Council, GB

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.

Closing date 15 November 2016.

Click here for further information

If you are interested in submitting to this call you must contact your  RKEO Funding Development Officer with adequate notice before the deadline.

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.

 

Innovation defined? Outcomes and connections ….

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Following on from the blog posts (Blog post 1/ Blog post 2  / Blog post 3  last week  on  Innovation the next set of outcomes and connections introduces the concept:

Game changer 4 = UK innovators + Europe and the World

There is of course one set of relationships that will now be redefined, following the referendum decision to leave the European Union.

As reported to the House of Commons inquiry, the current EU programmes, are incredibly important to the UK, providing us with connections to both European collaborators and supply chains.

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.

Innovation defined? Outcomes and connections …

Innovate 2011v4

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.

Game changing new connections to the ecosystem
Game changing new connections to the ecosystem

Read the blog post in full on Innovate UK’s website.

The Royal Academy of Engineering Enterprise Fellowships – funding available for post docs and recent graduates

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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.

Funding Competition: Commercialisation of Quantum Technologies (Innovate UK & EPSRC)

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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.

The call brief is available here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/funding-competition-commercialisation-of-quantum-technologies

Networking and briefing events – click on the links for more information  as dates, times, venues and content of the events do vary.

6 September

8 September

13 September

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.

Innovation defined? Outcomes and connections ….

Innovate 2011v4

Following on from the blog post yesterday on  Innovation the next set of outcomes and connections introduces the concept:

Game changer 2 = UK innovators + regional priorities

It was as Minister for Universities, Science and Cities in December 2014 that the Rt Hon Greg Clark MP launched “Our plan for Growth: science and innovation.

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.

Now, eighteen months on, Innovate UK has in place a team of Regional Managers to understand the intercepts between regional priorities and UK excellence and we will be opening shortly our first regional hubs.

Our UK-wide competitions, not only ensures that the best results are obtained for the public money invested but the approach raises the game of every business participating in them.

If you are competing globally, it is not sufficient that you are the best in your locality; you need an intensity of competition, which ensures you are up there with the best in the world.

There is a powerful opportunity now for Innovate UK to partner with other funders in order to combine UK excellence with regional priorities.

Innovate UK consistently receives more proposals over the quality line than it can fund itself.

Going forward we look forward to working with a wide range of funders to invest in many more proposals, which are both over the quality line and aligned to regional priorities. It’s an exciting way forward and is already in trial with Scottish Enterprise in the Biomedical Catalyst.

Read the blog post in full on Innovate UK’s website.

Knowledge Transfer Partnerships – Submission deadlines

After this next KTP submission deadline on 7th September 2016, there is one further deadline in 2016 – 2nd November 2016.

Various aspects of the KTP submission and approval process have changed over the past few months and for a breakdown of what these changes are, please take a look here.

Future KTP submission deadlines for your planning are:

  • 18th January 2017
  • 8th March 2017

If you have any KTP ideas that you’d like support with, please contact Rachel Clarke, KE Adviser on 61347.

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Innovation defined? Outcomes and connections ….

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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.

Following Sir Paul’s Nurse’s review, the government has set in motion legislation, which will bring together the Research Councils, Innovate UK and Research England into a single organisation – UKRI. Creating new opportunities to build even stronger connections both between research disciplines and between cross-disciplinary research and innovation.

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.

Read the blog post in full on Innovate UK’s website.

UK Universities focus on delivery and spur economic growth

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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.

 

Bringing FUSION to Nepal

FUSION abroad 2016We 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‘.

DSC_0151Our 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.

logo THETThe 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).

Fusion Diagram 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).

 

Prof. Edwin van Teijlingen

CMMPH

MOD establishes defence innovation initiative

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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.