Category / innovation

Team BU develop game based app in just 24 hours

photoWell done Team BU (Chi Zhang, Erika Borkoles, Sarah Collard, Gary Head, Barry Squires and Clare Farrance) for taking part in the Sport England hackathon* last weekend. We had just 24 hours to develop our concept and build a prototype app to help 18-25 year olds become more physically active.

We developed a location based game app called ‘Nudge’ and incorporated social gamification strategies to encourage sustained physical activity adherence. We also sought strategies to help those who are already active in this age group encourage their inactive peers to participate.

The hackathon was a great experience and an excellent opportunity to collaborate across BU faculties and services.

A special mention needs to go to Chi who programmed through the night to make sure we had a working prototype.

The winning team will be announced at the Sports Technology Awards in April 2016 and awarded a bursary of £10,000 to help them build the app.

Well done Team BU and fingers crossed for next April!

 

* A hackathon is a portmanteau of the words “hack” and “marathon”, where “hack” is used in the sense of exploratory programming.

The value of university-business collaborations to the UK economy

 

Technology in the hands

 

As organisations make submissions to the government’s Comprehensive Spending Review 2015, Director for Employment & Skills at CBI, Neil Carberry, outlines the case for investment in universities.

Productivity levels and skills are considered  two of the greatest challenges. This is where universities and their graduates – and their relationship with UK business – come in.

The latest CBI/Pearson Education and Skills Survey, Inspiring Growth, illustrates the magnitude of the skills emergency. Two out of three businesses surveyed expect their need for staff with higher level skills to grow in the years ahead, but more than half of them fear that they will not be able to access enough workers with the required skills. Even more disturbingly, it is the high-growth, high-value, high-potential sectors which are under most pressure – including construction, manufacturing, science, engineering and technology.

UK productivity has for a long time lagged behind most other developed countries. There are a number of causes, including low skills levels in many sectors, but a fundamental driver of productivity growth is innovation, where the UK is held back by low levels of public and private investment and an unbalanced ecosystem in which the infrastructure for supporting commercial innovation does not match the world-class research base.

Click here to read the full blog post.

http://blog.universitiesuk.ac.uk/2015/09/22/the-value-of-university-business-collaborations-to-uk-economy/

 

SMART awards – Support for innovative SMEs

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SMART  is a grant scheme which offers funding to small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) to engage in R&D projects in the strategically important areas of science, engineering and technology, from which successful new products, processes and services could emerge.
The scheme supports SMEs carrying out R&D which offers potentially significant rewards and that could stimulate UK economic growth.
Three types of grant are available:
  • Proof of market
  • Proof of concept
  • Development of prototype.
Any UK SME undertaking research and development may apply; applications are accepted on a rolling basis for assessment by independent experts.
 This call closes on 26 November 2015 at 12.00.

Software Verification & Validation for Complex Systems competition

Software verification

Software Verification & Validation for Complex Systems competition has just launched with £580,000 funding available.

Innovate UK and Defence Science and Technology Laboratory (Dstl) are to invest up to £580,000 in technical feasibility studies to stimulate innovation throughout the software development lifecycle (SDLC) while focusing on the verification and validation* (V&V) of two classes of complex systems: cyber physical systems (CPS) and systems with emergent behaviours.

This competition encourages businesses to develop appropriate ‘links’ between the behaviour of a system in the physical world and the software implementing its planned interactions. It also seeks to stimulate development of new engineering methods for systems in which a machine – rather than a human user or operator – drives the decision- making process. Such systems can be trained to recognise complex patterns and to make intelligent decisions based on existing data. They are starting to be used in sectors such as automated and autonomous vehicles, and robotics and autonomous systems (RAS). Our aim is to ensure that small and micro businesses in the UK further develop their early capabilities in this area.

Projects are open to companies of any size, but must be led by a small or micro company, working in collaboration with one or more business or research partners.

View all details.

NERC Green Infrastructure Innovation Projects Call

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The Environment Agency has indicated that they would welcome academic partners to work with them on the priorities in their Working with Natural Processes Research Framework. Details are at the foot of the call webpage http://www.nerc.ac.uk/innovation/activities/infrastructure/green-iip-call/

The evidence needs for Defra, Natural England and the JNCC are also available on the web page.

Please note that this call has £150k for short feasibility projects and internships completing before 31 March 2016 as well as for longer term projects of up to £125K at 80% FEC in value.

Closing Date 4pm 22 October 2015.

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.

Small Business Research Initiative (SBRI) – latest calls

SBRI

 

The Small Business Research Initiative (SBRI) is a well established process to connect public sector challenges with innovative ideas from industry, supporting companies to generate economic growth and enabling improvement in achieving government objectives.

SBRI provides innovative solutions to challenges faced by the public sector, leading to better public services and improved efficiency and effectiveness. It generates new business opportunities for companies, provides small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) a route to market for their ideas and bridges the seed funding gap experienced by many early stage companies. It supports economic growth and enables the development of innovative products and services through the public procurement of research and development (R&D).

The following is the list of recently opened & upcoming SBRI funding competitions.

Investigative imaging in the 21st century: the future in diagnosing spinal pain?

British Chiropractic Association Autumn Conference 2015, Bournemouth

I was delighted to have been invited to speak at the British Chiropractic Association’s Autumn Conference 2015, at the Marriot hotel, Bournemouth, perfectly situated to watch the sun glistening on the Channel. The beautiful weather was fitting for a particularly celebratory occasion with chiropractors travelling from all over the world to gather and celebrate 90 years of the BCA and 50 years of AECC. To be included as a speaker alongside some of the top researchers in the musculoskeletal field, and sharing the stage with no less than Professor Alan Breen, was slightly nerve-racking but also a very great honour.

Look Inside: MRI and quantitative fluoroscopy in the future

Photo taken by Stephen Perle DC

Photo taken by Stephen Perle DC

 

Alan Breen first started experimenting with what is now known as quantitative fluoroscopy (QF), taking measurements from motion x-rays, in the 1980s but it was not until the 2000s that computing power was sufficient to make this a reality. QF has since been found to be accurate and reliable in the measurement of inter-vertebral motion in both the cervical (my PhD work) and lumbar spines, and has been commercialised in the United States. It should start appearing in European hospitals within the next few years – watch this space. What will be possible with QF is a more accurate measurement of spinal stability to better inform surgical decisions and also the potential to better guide conservative treatment. The examples given from a case series during the presentation included showing that suspected lumbar instability is often not confirmed (therefore the potential to avoid unnecessary fusion surgery) and where it is present there is perhaps an increased chance of good surgical outcomes. Also, manipulation/mobilisation might be better targeted at identified segmental restrictions, and exercise therapy better directed where hypermobile or lax joint motion is present.

Alan’s part of the presentation included discussing what was possible with an open-MRI. Aside it being preferable for claustrophobic patients, the ability to image patients weight-bearing has meant the identification of disc hernia in some patients that would have been missed if imaged lying-down, therefore open-MRI is likely to play an important role in improving the diagnosis of persistent radicular pain. He also touched on diagnostic ultrasound which is showing value particularly in the diagnosis of soft-tissue injury of the extremities.

We are only at the beginning of finding out if the potential of QF (and other imaging techniques) will be fully realised, that of improved outcomes for patients with neck and back pain. Its use, like that of MRI, is likely to be restricted to those patients with particularly problematic spinal pain, but it (and open-MRI/diagnostic ultrasound) is a welcome addition to the diagnostic armamentarium of the chiropractor and other musculoskeletal professionals. And it was developed, not by a massive multinational corporation, but by a member of the BCA at AECC, a partner college of BU. Now that is worth celebrating.

Dr Jonathan (Jonny) Branney
Lecturer in Adult Nursing
Faculty of Health and Social Sciences

NB: This is a truncated version of a longer blog that can be found here

EU funding opportunity – are you working with SMEs ?

 

 

 

EU heart

Open call to SMEs and new entrants for industrial experiments Digital Agenda for Europe

The Digital Agenda for Europe will shortly be inviting applications for its second open call to SMEs and new entrants for industrial experiments. The call will open on 28 October 2015 and the closing date is 3 December 2015.  This call aims to initiate new business and innovation opportunities between SMEs and new entrants, major cyber physical system-platform providers, and competence centres. The maximum European Commission contribution for industrial experiments per applicant is €150,000. The funding rate is 70 per cent. The maximum duration of industrial experiment is 18 months.

For more information:

https://www.eurocps.org/innovators-projects/open-calls/

 

 

£2.5m funding for Advancing the commercial applications of graphene

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Innovate UK and the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) are investing up to £2.5 million in technical feasibility studies to target the applications of graphene with the greatest commercial potential.

More information on this competition.

Competition briefing & other supporting events:

Several briefing & consortium building events are being held  for this competition. In addition to learning more about the competition and scope, and meeting others working in the graphene industry, you will have the opportunity to pitch for collaborators. You are strongly encouraged to attend one or more of these events.

Event    Date   Location   Link to register 
Competition briefing event 8th September Cardiff Register here
Competition briefing event 23rd September London Register here
Competition briefing event 7th October Newcastle Register here

In addition to  Venturefest Manchester on 22 September a short briefing session on this competition will be given at the graphene breakfast meeting.

Queries

For queries about this competition, please contact support@innovateuk.gov.uk

 

 

Funding available to support R&D – science, engineering and technology

Technology in the hands
SMART is a grant scheme which offers funding to small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) to engage in R&D projects in the strategically important areas of science, engineering and technology, from which successful new products, processes and services could emerge.
The scheme supports SMEs carrying out R&D which offers potentially significant rewards and that could stimulate UK economic growth.
Three types of grant are available:
  • Proof of market
  • Proof of concept
  • Development of prototype.
Any UK SME undertaking research and development may apply; applications are accepted on a rolling basis for assessment by independent experts.

Is the UK good enough at commercialising innovation?

Innovate 2011v4A recent edition of the FT (Financial Times) examined a contentious topic: that the UK is not very good at commercialising the innovations that its universities and startups create. A comment from Hanadi Jabado, who directs a start-up accelerator at Cambridge university’s Judge Business School, sums up the issue under debate: “The UK leads the world in terms of research but if you look at the commercialisation of innovation, the UK lags behind. What we seem to be doing is to develop a concept and then sell it to international companies to optimise. We’re preparing the lunch, we’re cooking the lunch, but someone else is eating the lunch.”

Are we doing enough? Are traditional methods of evaluating the commercialisation of innovation no longer valid? And what more could be done? Read the article in full.

Creative, Digital & Design Business Briefing – September 2015

theme - creative-digitalThis is a monthly publication that provides a digest of useful information about funding, financing, support and events to assist creative, digital and design businesses with their innovation and growth strategies.

Highlights include:

European Funding Guide – Creative Industries

A short KTN guide to help you submit a proposal for the Horizon 2020 funding programme (H2020) & other European funding sources. It provides a brief overview of support, how to apply and useful links.

More information »

Internet of Things Cites Demonstrator

Up to £10 million funding competition to demonstrate the capability of the Internet of Things in a city region. Projects should involve at least one local authority, one local enterprise partnership and several businesses.

More information »

Digital forensics – up to £300K phase 1

The challenge from the Home Office, is to improve the speed, efficiency and effectiveness of recovering and automatically analysing data from the seized digital devices of suspects under investigation. Maximum value of £40K per project.

More information »

Royal Academy of Engineering’s Enterprise Fellowship Scheme – Funding Opportunity !

Royal academy of engineering logo

The Royal Academy of Engineering’s Enterprise Fellowship scheme supports outstanding entrepreneurial engineers, working at a UK university, to spin out a business by providing funding and an intensive, bespoke package of training and mentoring.

Prior experience of commercialisation activities is not essential, 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.

The Fellowships provide £35,000 of salary support and £25,000 for the continued development of the innovation and associated spin-out company.

Applications close 7 September.

For more information on how to apply please visit www.raeng.org.uk/enterprisefellowships

Fancy working on a project with the RNLI?

 

RNLIlogo

Following recent  HEIF funding, this project aims to develop an alternative solution by simulating and visualising the lifeboat launching with unmanned vehicles in an immersive virtual environment. Working with staff members at the RNLI and located within The National Centre for Computer Animation (NCCA) at Bournemouth University this role will offer an exciting opportunity to join the NCCA’s research team and be involved in the design of the next generation lifeboat launching system in order to enhance safety and efficiency.

This vacancy is advertised on BU’s website with a closing date of 20 September 2015.

300K funding for upcoming SBRI competition – Digital Forensics

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Now open  – 24 August 2015 !

The Home Office has annnounced as  SBRI call on the subject of digital forensics and how it is used to support serious crime and counter terrorism investigations.

The aim of this funding call is to seek innovative proposals to enhance the capability of law enforcement to quickly recover and thoroughly investigate information stored on the seized digital devices of suspects under investigation.

More information on this funding opportunity.

Competition briefing event, 1​4th September, London

The event, which is free to attend, is an excellent opportunity for you to receive first hand information about the competition- application process, key dates etc. as well as meet and network with peers, potential partners, market leaders & innovators in the industry.

More information on the briefing event.

What does Safety, Reliability & Durability mean to you?

You must have heard about the recent tragic accident at Alton Towers. Unfortunately it involved one of the most popular rides, the Smiler. Accidents are bound to happen due to various reasons e.g. human error or faults in mechanical, electrical, electronics or control systems/components. Some of the accidents are catastrophic and involves the loss of human lives that includes today’s (Saturday August 22, 2015) vintage plane crash at the air show at Shoreham.

Among several reasons, corrosion is one of the major phenomena which plays an important role in structural deterioration and compromising reliability and durability of components, systems within petrochemical & process industries, automotive, locomotive and aircrafts.

Special attention to corrosion in terms of design, detection and prediction of failures is needed especially where human lives are involved. Here are some of the images from major international and home theme parks where there are visible signs of structural deterioration. Although corrosion initiation, its propagation and affects on structural deterioration may not be physically and visually very prominent, it needs full attention to avoid accidents. IMG_4234 IMG_4235 IMG_4386 IMG_4387 IMG_4388

A significant portfolio of research & development in corrosion has been developed at BU, which responds to structural integrity issues. Earlier work [15-17] in corrosion fatigue has led to a successful research portfolio in corrosion at BU [1-17]. We have developed a meso-mechanics based approach incorporating fracture mechanics and electrochemical processes to predict corrosion through a novel holistic modelling tool.

A PhD degree research in sustainable methodology of conserving historic military vehicles subject to structural deterioration due to corrosion [13, 14] has been successfully completed. This research was conducted in collaboration with The Tank Museum at Bovington. Controlled environment within the newly designed VCC (Vehicles Conservation Centre) is informed by the outcomes of this research. In addition NASA [13] has also been collaborating in corrosion research at BU along with BAE Systems and Analatom Inc. Discussions with Analatom are currently in progress for further collaboration in corrosion sensors technology.

A second project in corrosion monitoring techniques in collaboration with Defence Science & Technology Laboratory Ministry of Defence, through a match funded PhD is currently in progress [1-5]. Recent publications [2-4] from this research have made to the Taylor & Francis top 20 most read articles list. This is an evidence of novel contributions to corrosion and corrosion modelling techniques.

A third project in collaboration with Defence Science & Technology Laboratory Ministry of Defence through BU match funded PhD programme has been awarded to look into wireless corrosion monitoring techniques.

In addition nano coatings (in collaboration with Schaeffler, a major industrial partner) have been developed at BU incorporating corrosion issues to solve current corrosion problems within industrial applications.

A collaborative research project with National University of Science & Technology & Future Energy Source Ltd (the overall portfolio includes 2 x fully funded PhDs, 2 x match funded PhDs and 1 x Post Doctoral Research Assistant, PDRA) is currently underway to investigate corrosion issues within thermal storage applied in renewable technologies.

We have state of the art corrosion bench testing (environmental simulation) and modelling tools. We have micro LPRs (Linear Polarisation Resistors) & MEMS (Micro Electrical Mechanical Systems) based live corrosion monitoring stations for large stationary and moving vehicles.

Please contact Zulfiqar Khan (Associate Professor) if you would like to know more about the research activities or have interests in corrosion related issues,

Publications in Corrosion

  1. Nazir, M. H., Khan, Z., & Stokes, K. (2015). A Holistic Mathematical Modelling and Simulation for Cathodic Delamination
Mechanism – A Novel and an Efficient Approach. Journal of Adhesion Science and Technology. doi:10.1080/01694243.2015.1071023
  2. Nazir, H., & Khan, Z. (2015). Maximising the interfacial toughness of thin coatings and substrate through optimisation of defined parapmeters. International Journal of Computational Methods & Experimental Measurements, 1-13. doi:10.2495/CMEM-V0-N0-1-13
  3. Nazir, M., Khan, Z., & Stokes, K. (2015). Optimisation of Interface Roughness and Coating Thickness to Maximise Coating-Substrate Adhesion – A Failure Prediction and Reliability Assessment Modelling. Journal of Adhesion Science and Technology, 29(14), 1415-1445. doi:10.1080/01694243.2015.1026870
  4. Nazir, H., Khan, Z., & Stokes, K. (2015). A Unified Mathematical Modelling and Simulation for Cathodic Blistering Mechanism
incorporating diffusion and fracture mechanics concepts. Journal of Adhesion Science and Technology, 29(12), 1200-1228. doi:10.1080/01694243.2015.1022496
  5. Nazir, H., Khan, Z., & Stokes, K. (2014). Modelling of Metal-Coating Delamination Incorporating Variable Environmental Parameters. Journal of Adhesion Science and Technology, 29(5), 392-423. doi:10.1080/01694243.2014.990200
  6. Nugent, M., & Khan, Z. (2014). The effects of corrosion rate and manufacturing in the prevention of stress corrosion cracking on structural members of steel bridges. The Journal of Corrosion Science and Engineering JCSE, 17(16). Retrieved from http://www.jcse.org/
  7. Wilton-Smith, K., Khan, Z., Saeed, A (2014). Accelerated Corrosion tests of Waste-gated Turbocharger’s Adjustable and Fixed End Links. In High Performance and Optimum Design of Structures and Materials Vol. 137 (pp. 501-508). Southampton: Wessex Institute of Technology, UK. doi:10.2495/HPSM140461
  8. Ramesh, C. S., Khan, S., Sridhar, K. S., & Khan, Z. (2014). Slurry erosive wear behavior of hot extruded Al6061-Si3N4 composite. Materials Science Forum, 773-774, 454-460. doi:10.4028/www.scientific.net/MSF.773-774.454
  9. Ramesh, C. S., Khan, S., Khan, Z., & Sridhar, K. S. (2013). Slurry Erosive Wear Behavior of Hot Extruded Al6061-Si3N4 Composite. Materials Science Forum, 773-774(2014), 462-468. doi:10.4028/www.scientific.net/MSF.773-774.462
  10. Chinnakurli, R., Adarsha, H., Pramod, S., & Khan, Z. (2013). Tribological Characteristics of Innovative Al6061-Carbon Fibre Rod Metal Matrix Composites. Materials and Design, Volume 50(September 2013), 597-605. doi:10.1016/j.matdes.2013.03.031
  11. Dobson, P., & Khan, Z. (2013). Design considerations for carbon steel pipes materials’ selection applied in fossil powered plants subjected to wet-steam flow accelerated- corrosion review paper. Journal of Corrosion Science and Engineering, 16, 1-13. Retrieved from http://www.scopus.com/source/sourceInfo.url?sourceId=12326&origin=recordpage
  12. Denham, L., & Khan, Z. (2013). The prevention of corrosion and corrosion
stress cracking on structural members of
fixed deep sea oil rigs. The Journal of Corrosion Science and Engineering, 16, 1-13. Retrieved from http://www.jcse.org/
  13. Saeed, A., Khan, Z., & Montgomery, E. L. (2013). Corrosion Damage Analysis and Material Characterization of Sherman and Centaur – The Historic Military Tanks. Materials Performance and Characterization, 2(1), 1-16. doi:10.1520/MPC20120016
  14. Saeed, A., Khan, Z. A., Nel, M., & Smith, R. (2011). Non destructive material characterisation and material loss evaluation in large historic military vehicles. Insight – Non-Destructive Testing and Condition Monitoring, 53, 382-386. doi:10.1784/insi.2011.53.7.382
  15. Khan, Z. A., & Zhen, P. J. (2001). Corrosion Fatigue & Remaining Life Assessment Techniques of 16MnR Pressure Vessel Steel (96-918-02-04). Shanghai: Ministry of Labour, Government of the Peoples’ Republic of China.
  16. Khan, Z. A., & Zhen, P. J. (2000). Corrosion fatigue of 16Mn pressure vessel steel in H2S environment. American Society of Mechanical Engineers, Pressure Vessels and Piping Division (Publication) PVP, 413, 49-54.
  17. Zhen, P. J., & Khan, Z. A. (2000). Pressure Vessel Materials: Handbook (1 ed.). Beijing, PR China: Industrial Equipment and Information Engineering Centre.