Tagged / innovation

RBS & FIG offer over £100,000 to the UK’s most enterprising students

Competitions from RBS and FIG invite enterprising students to enter for cash prizes and investment opportunities

The RBS EnterprisingU competition has launched for the second year, with £40,000 worth of prizes!

The annual competition, created by Find Invest Grow and sponsored by the RBS Group, offers a unique online platform for students to “road-test” their business ideas, while building the framework for a professional business plan at the same time.

It is open to students and graduates of the past 5 years:  they don’t have to be economics grads with business experience – anyone can enter. The platform enables students to explore the viability of their business idea, by asking the right questions and building the appropriate framework.

Investors will be reviewing and judging entrants to decide on the 20 semi-finalists who will be selected to attend the training workshops.  The 10 finalists will be pitching their business ideas to a room full of investors, with the chance of winning prizes of £25,000, £10,000, and £5,000.

The competition is now open, at: http://www.rbsenterprisingu.com

Encourage your students / recent graduates to apply!

The deadline for completed entrants is midnight on 19th July 2013.

Innovation Vouchers – BU joins Universities South West scheme

BU has joined with other institutes in the South West to offer businesses help. Innovation Vouchers are supported by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) South West Competitiveness Programme 2007 to 2013.  

 

In a nut-shell, an Innovation Voucher provides funding for a business to work with an external expert from a University, College or Public Sector Research Establishment for the first time, gaining new knowledge to help their business innovate, develop and grow.

 

Are you in early conversations with a company with whom you have not worked before? Is the company a start-up, micro, small and medium-sized business (as defined by the EC*) located anywhere in the South West England Competitiveness Area (not Cornwall) with an an innovative idea? Do they trade in an ERDF-eligible sector (i.e. not agri-food, textiles or retail)? Would they benefit from up to 40% support for projects with a total value ranging from £3,000 to £10,000 for the business to buy in external expertise to develop ideas and improve performance? Do they need help during the application period – 1 October 2012 to early in 2015?

If so, Innovation Vouchers may be the way to introduce them to what BU has to offer? More information is available on the USW website.

Within BU, please contact your School’s BRO or Emily Cieciura (ecieciura@bournemouth.ac.uk)

____________________________________________________________________

 N.B. The Innovation Voucher  project is part financed by the Competitiveness European Regional Development Fund Programme 2007 to 2013. The Department for Communities and Local Government is the managing authority for the European Regional Development Fund Programme, which is one of the funds established by the European Commission to help local areas stimulate their economic development by investing in projects which will support local businesses and create jobs. For more information visit www.communities.gov.uk/erdf.

New publication on EU innovation which may help you shape your EU proposal impact section

Innovation Landscapes explores the approaches to innovation in the UK, Germany and Finland. The document collects, describes, analyses and compares the national innovation schemes and policies of these countries in order to detect similarities, links or divergences between national and European innovation policies, measures and instruments. 

The document will be used to  inform future initiatives at the EU level but is really relevant for any of you developing the impact section of your EU proposals.

New voucher scheme to stimulate SME innovation

Small UK businesses, from the 24th September 2012 will be able to obtain Government funding to help them develop and grow with the launch of the Innovation Voucher scheme to be managed by the UK’s innovation agency, the Technology Strategy Board (www.innovateuk.org).  The scheme will enable start-up, micro, small and medium-sized businesses to access up to £5,000 worth of advice and expertise from universities, research organisations or other private sector knowledge suppliers.

What are Innovation Vouchers?

Innovation Vouchers are designed to encourage businesses to look outside their current network for new knowledge that can help them to grow and develop. Start-ups, small and medium-sized businesses from across the UK can apply for an Innovation Voucher. A grant of up to £5,000 is available to businesses to work with a supplier for the first time and is used to pay for knowledge or technology transfer from that supplier. The voucher has three key criteria:

  • The idea that you want help with should be a challenge for the business which requires specialist help
  • It should be the first time that the firm has worked with the knowledge supplier
  • The idea should be applicable to one of the three priority sectors – agrifood, built environment or space

Benefits to business

An Innovation Voucher should stimulate a company to explore bringing new knowledge into the business, enhancing its ability to develop innovative products, processes and services and explore new markets.

Examples identified include:

  • Ideas for new or improved products, processes and services;
  • Using design to improve ideas;
  • Managing intellectual property

Innovation Voucher schemes are an ideal way of bringing the University and SMEs together to support activity that can evidence positive impact, provide case material for curricula, and in some circumstances research opportunities. The voucher could also be the forerunner to future bids to the Technology Strategy Board or European competition or grant leading to further shared resource.  The Technology Strategy Board will monitor the scheme’s progress and have indicated that they will consider extending it to other sectors in future.

TSB – Digital Innovation Contest – Culture2

 

Digital Innovation Contest – Culture 2

The ‘Digital Innovation Contest – Culture 2’ – run by IC tomorrow in conjunction with the Design Museum and the Public, is procuring up to two trials – offering a maximum of £24,000 for each successful innovative commercial prototype in response to the following two challenges:
1. ‘Digital campaigning and fundraising challenge’ – set by the Design Museum – 1 award of £24,000.
2. ‘Fun and engaging gallery journeys challenge’ – set by the Public – 1 award of £24,000.

Successful applicants will also benefit from:

  • collaborating with one of the two leading cultural partners
  • an opportunity to promote their prototype via the IC tomorrow programme
  • support in resolving content delivery, licensing and metadata issues related to the service or application
  • retaining their intellectual property.

Register and Apply at:
https://connect.innovateuk.org/web/digital-innovation-contest-culture-2

Deadline for submissions – Noon, Monday 20 August 2012.

Open date: 09 July 2012

Close date: 20 August 2012

Email: competitions@innovateuk.org
Email: support@ictomorrow.co.uk

Phone number: 0300 321 4358

The RKE Operations team can help you with your application.

Current EU tenders open for applications

Europe’s Capacity to Tackle Demographic and Societal Change: The purpose of this call is to support a partnership of not-for-profit research bodies, public institutions and civil society organisations, to focus on collection and dissemination of key facts, figures, trends and policy analysis regarding demographic change across the EU. The ultimate aim of the partnership’s work will be to reach a wide non-specialist audience and to promote a well-informed public debate on its implications and appropriate policy responses among the general public in all Member States and at all levels of government. Deadline 11.09.12

A Profile of Current and Future Audiovisual Consumers: The study should aim at understanding the behaviour, preferences and orientations of audiences for films in general and, in particular, of young audiences. To that end, it should include in-depth interviews with, in particular, 10–15 and 15–25 year olds to learn more about their consumption patterns and their perception of current ways of marketing European films, series, etc.; i.e. could different or earlier marketing change their behaviour? The study should investigate the impact of different marketing tools including the use of social media. Furthermore it should analyse some of the existing film literacy initiatives and their impact on the future consumption patterns. The role of social networks for audiovisual consumption should be analysed. The study should be implemented by experts/consultants, who have in-depth experience with market research. Deadline 13.08.12

Economic Impact of Social Enterprises: The main objective of this call for proposals is to contribute to the availability of reliable statistics on social enterprises at national and European levels and to identify countries interested in collecting this information.  The aim is to provide policy makers and stakeholders with credible, comparable and systematic information and indicators on the role of social enterprises in national economies and to offer usable and practical information to support decision making. The Commission wishes to encourage national statistical offices in Member States to collect this information, so although other organisations dealing with the promotion of social enterprises (including universities and research organisations) are eligible applicants for the call, all proposals must involve national statistical offices. Deadline 07.09.12

Prevention of and Fight Against Crime Programme: Of most interest to BU under this scheme are action grants for transnational and national projects, for which there will be a budget of €78m in 2012. A series of targeted calls for proposals for action grants to support projects concerned with five specific policy areas were recently announced. Each has a deadline for submission of applications in August 2012  In the main, opportunities exist for HEIs to apply for support to undertake studies and analyses in specific areas and to establish networks of expertise. There are also limited opportunities to develop and deliver training courses for law enforcement professionals, prosecutors and judges and to identify and disseminate best practices in relevant fields.

LifeLong Learning Programme- Implementation of the European strategic objectives in Education and Training (ET2020): This call for proposals is for projects to fulfil the objectives for 2012-2014 in two separate parts:-  Part A: Support for raising awareness around and the national implementation of European cooperation in education and training. Part B: Support for the implementation of innovative learning environments using ICT (called ‘creative class-rooms’) in the development and implementation of transversal education and training policy issues linked to the priorities set out in Europe 2020 and ET 2020. Deadline 01.10.12

Pilot project Economy of cultural diversity: In the Communication ‘A Digital Agenda for Europe’ the Commission identified the need to push ahead with the creation, production and distribution of all platforms of digital content. To this end the European Parliament voted a budget line in the 2012 budget for a ‘Pilot project on the economy of cultural diversity’ which ‘would aim to create an open laboratory to test innovative approaches to deal with content for innovation and digital sharing and distribution. It would be therefore a way to explore new business models respecting diversity in the production and distribution chain’.  The aim of this pilot is to highlight and promote 10 to 15 ideas which make innovative use of ICT based technologies to finance, produce, make available, disseminate and/or extract value from cultural contents. Projects should facilitate access to culture (including cultural heritage) and cultural literacy via online devices and promote cultural diversity in the digital environment.

Preparatory Action Culture in external relations: The specific objective of this contract is to formulate recommendations for a strategy on culture in European external relations which will build on synergies with existing processes and will involve a high number of stakeholders in Europe and representatives of third countries, including cultural institutes and NGOs. Deadline 17.08.12

Regional Innovation Monitor 2013-2014 – RIM Plus: The EU’s Regional Innovation Monitor (RIM http://www.rim-europa.eu/) serves over 200 EU regions in 20 different countries. Under this call for tenders the Commission wishes to establish a service that will provide regional administrators with a reference framework for the development of more efficient innovation strategies. An inventory innovation strategies at regional level in Europe will be kept updated and made available to those actors involved in developing policy measures in support of innovation.  The service contract will provide users (regional authorities and stakeholders, Member States’ central administrations, the Committee of the Regions, various services of the Commission, experts, businesses and universities) with an overview of the state of development of regional policies and strategies on innovation and on the difficulties and successes of their implementation in the regions. Deadline 31.08.12

Business Innovation Observatory: The European Commission wishes to tender for a service contract to develop a Business Innovation Observatory. The Business Innovation Observatory is a three-year project with the aim to provide European policy makers with analysis and intelligence on latest novel business and industrial innovation trends, activities and models on a regular basis. The emphasis will be placed on the business micro-perspective and how it relates to the wider institutional, political, socio-economic, legal and policy contexts. The analysis will be complemented by the development of appropriate policy recommendations at European and national levels. The tool should be seen as complementary to quantitative analytical instruments, most notably the Commission’s European Innovation Scoreboards. Deadline 10.09.12

 

Multiple Sclerosis Society – Innovative Awards

The Multiple Sclerosis Society invites applications for its innovative awards. These provide support for short-term, small-scale projects to allow researchers to explore new ideas in MS research that might merit further support.

The MS Society is interested in the following research areas:

•care and services research, such as relieving symptoms of MS, developing and evaluating services for people affected by MS or exploring the social and economic impact of MS;

•biomedical research to identify the causes of MS, or identifying and developing disease-modifying therapies.

The society particularly encourages proposals with focus on translational and clinical biomedical research.

Projects should take place in a university, hospital, medical school or other research institution or place of medical practice based in the UK, and may provide for the salary of scientific or technical assistants and researchers, the running costs of the project and the purchase of items of essential equipment. Innovative awards are worth up to £40,000 and last a maximum of 12 months.

The deadline for applications is 12 noon on Tuesday 3 July with funding decisions communicated in December. For details on how to apply please read the guidance for applicants.

All applications should be submitted via the MS Society online application system, available at: https://research.mssociety.org.uk/

For any questions regarding research grant applications please call the MS Society Research Team on 020 8438 0822 or email research@mssociety.org.uk.

The RKE Operations team can help you with your application.

RBS EnterprisingU competition open to students and graduates

The RBS EnterprisingU competition has launched, with £40,000 worth of prizes!

The competition, created by Find Invest Grow and sponsored by RBS Group and LinkedIn, offers a unique online platform for students to “road-test” their business ideas, while building the framework for a professional business plan at the same time.

It is open to students and graduates of the past 5 years:  they don’t have to be economics grads with business experience – anyone can enter. The platform enables students to explore the viability of their business idea, by asking the right questions and building the appropriate framework.

Investors will be reviewing and judging entrants to decide on the 20 semi-finalists who will be selected to attend the training workshops.  The 10 finalists will be pitching their business ideas to a room full of investors,  with the chance of winning prizes of £25,000, £10,000, and £5,000.

The competition is now open, at: http://www.rbsenterprisingu.com

Encourage your students / recent graduates to apply!

The deadline for completed entrants is midnight on the 15th June 2012.

BU sponsors local Young Enterprise team – Dynamix!

Bournemouth University is proud to be one of the sponsors of Dynamix, a Young Enterprise team based at Corfe Hills School in Broadstone. The Young Enterprise charity is a national initiative to forge links between schools and companies to inspire and equip young people to learn and succeed in business. Their flagship Company Programme enables 30,000 15-19 year olds run their own real companies for a year with help from business mentors. Dynamix are taking part in this programme and have put together the text below about their company:

Dynamix is made up of 14 A-level students, all aiming for success within the Young Enterprise competition. We, as a company, meet every Wednesday at the 288 group building for a business meeting, during these meetings we have set up a business and designed, prototyped and manufactured an innovative product; Folderboard. This is a fully customisable A4 ring binder with an integrated whiteboard allowing you to store what’s important and wipe away what’s not!

Folderboard is the first product within our Inspirationery brand, we are developing other products within this brand, these include an A5 Folderboard, a Folderboard with a pad of paper included and even an iFolderboard, a folder with an integrated iPad holder.

With this concept, we are competing against other companies like us in Young Enterprise competitions. This requires us to write a company report, organise a trade stand, create and deliver a presentation on our business and product and be interviewed on all aspects of our journey by a panel of judges. We have had great success with the most recent competition, performing well in all of these areas and moving through to the next stage in the competition.

Dynamix has so much potential, we have received a lot of positive feedback from judges, we have the skills and the determination to go all the way through the many stages of the competitions to the international finals and we hope to do so.

You can visit the Dynamix website here: http://inspirationeryuk.com/ where you can read more about the company and order their products.

 

We wish them the best of luck in the Young Enterprise competition!

Thinking of applying for FP7 Transport? Then you should attend this Maritime Transport and Innovation Brokerage Event

The Maritime Transport and Innovation Brokerage Event, MIBE2012, will take place in Santiago de Compostela, Spain on 20-21 June 2012.

From the Atlantic Area, a Pan-European conference on the latest innovation and development within the European Maritime Industry, showcasing a selection of leading EU projects.

This is a unique opportunity to network and find out how to participate in FP7 funded projects, in particular the latest Transport Call for Tenders, with a total budget over €20M.

SMART Awards – University as Sub-contractor

Pre start-ups, start-ups, and small and medium-sized businesses, from all sectors, may apply to the Technology Strategy Board  for three types of grant :

– Proof of market grant

– Proof of concept grant

– Development of prototype grant

While universities may not apply directly, they may act as a sub-contractor to an applicant. Consequently this is a further source of  funding for business/university collaborations.

The purpose of these awards is to assist businesses engage in research & development projects in the strategically important areas of science, engineering and technology, from which successful new products, processes and services can emerge. 

 The maximum grants vary between £25k and £250K. The Government will fund up to 60% of the project costs.

 For an overview of the SMART programme click here:

For more detail click here:

 

 

2 EU events: Clean Sky Info Day and Social Innovation conference (covering social media) – registration open!

Clean Sky JTI Workshop and Information Day: The Clean Sky Joint Technology Initiative (JTI) will be holding a workshop on selected topics of the Clean Sky Call for Proposals 11 on 19 January and an information day on the Clean Sky Call for Proposals 11 on 20 January. Both events are in Brussels, with free participation, but registration is compulsory. The workshop on selected topics of the Call will focus on those topics which are critical to the progress of the programme or are complex. Applicants will have the opportunity to seek clarification on the list of selected topics.  The information day  on the Clean Sky Call for Proposals will include presentations on the topics included in the calls; discussions on the evaluation procedure and contractual agreements; and advice and tips on submitting a successful proposal. There will also be the opportunity to have a short meeting with Clean Sky Joint Undertaking staff during the information day.

2012 EU Research Forum Stakeholders’ Conference on Research and Social Innovation : The European Foundation Centre (EFC)’s Research Forum will hold its next Stakeholder’s Conference in Barcelona on 9-10 February 2012.The theme for the conference will be ‘Research and social innovation: the potential for European foundations to pave the way’. The conference will include sessions on:

  • The potential for foundations to spearhead socially innovative research;
  • The impact of social media and networks on research and social innovation;
  • Open Access and the challenge of quality assurance; and
  • Public participation in science: new modes of interaction.

Registration is on the European Foundation Centre’s website.

New plans for Partnering in Research & Innovation

The EC recently published  Partnering in Research and Innovation which sets out the different types of partnering and aims to progress partnering activities across the EU. The report acknowledges that the existing partnering activities they currently have (such as Public-Private Partnerships) work well as the mutual trust built within them creates excellent research which in turn makes Europe a more attractive global partner in addressing major societal challenges.

More relevant for BU as we tend not to participate in these partnering activities, is that the report acknowledges the need for Horizon 2020 to develop a framework to encourage and support future partnerships and capitalise on these early indications of success. The Active and Healthy Ageing EIP pilot which is designed to ensure that ideas are successfully developed and brought to market in the most coherent way possible is indicative of this.

In order to strike the right balance for Horizon 2020, the EC will soon launch a strategic exercise to determine where and how the partnering approach can be applied most successfully and the types of initiative to which the instruments are best suited. I will keep you informed when further information on this is released.

Leading Academic encourages UK government to adopt German model of Innovation

David Payne, Professor of Photonics and Director of the Optoelectronics Research Centre at the University of Southampton has warned in a comment in the Daily Telegraph that substantial and sustained investment is necessary if the UK government wants to restore the country’s manufacturing base. After assessing the challenges faced in converting excellent research into commercial successful products, Professor Payne welcomed the Government’s support for 6 Technology Innovation Centres which will nurture links between academia and industry. However more funds are needed as the £200 million pledged to date is tiny compared with the £1.45 billion a year provided for the network of Fraunhofer centres in Germany which form the blueprint for the proposed UK network. “It would be a shame if this led to distributed ‘virtual centres’ of expertise to appease regional political interests with the consequent management headaches, rather than the single-centred and single-minded Fraunhofer model…I fear we are about to repeat the British thing and spread the money so everyone gets a prize,” he said.

Horizon 2020: Will it take us from basic research to innovation?

Horizon 2020 signals a range of big changes to the way research is funded in Europe. The biggest change is the increased focus on the full innovation cycle – from research to market uptake.

The EU wants to annihilate USA and Japan in the research innovation stakes and wants to ensure Brazil, Russia, India and China stay behind them.
By removing barriers between the former programmes for Cohesion, Competition, and Innovation and Research the EC hope to improve the innovation pathway by covering all areas.

Naturally we’re all concerned that the balance of funding between research and innovation is appropriate, and wonder what influence and impact the concept of full-cycle funding will have across the new programme. This does of course also raise concerns for the social sciences, where ‘products’ to sell to market aren’t often produced. Rise is a European group of higher-education institutions formed to act as an independent voice for the social sciences, conscious of the need to look beyond the traditional view that innovation is about technology.

All developments on what the future Horizon 2020 will look like will be posted on the blog.

SME involvement in Horizon 2020: new report from EC

The EC has published a report of two recent workshops on Innovation in Small and Medium-Sized Enterprises (SMEs) within Horizon 2020. The workshops were held to gather ideas and feedback on how Horizon 2020 could benefit and be accessible to the widest range of SMEs in their efforts to innovate and be competitive. The first workshop looked at which type of support SMEs need from the EU and the second on options for implementing an SME strategy which would facilitate their involvement Horizon 2020.  Key messages from the workshops are below:
  • Overwhelming support exists for SMEs as important players within Horizon 2020
  • All innovative SMEs should be able to benefit from support at EU level
  • Adequate SME involvement should be ensured  through dedicated actions corresponding to SME needs (including all forms of innovation and the entire innovation cycle from idea to market)
  • This innovation capacity of SMEs should be strengthened 
  • Strong support for a bottom-up approach of the SME specific measures exists
  • Support  exists for more demonstration and market replication activities and links to financial instruments which close the gap to the market
  • For SME’s, simple rules and administrative procedures (e.g. open calls) and a short time-to-grant corresponding to the short innovation cycles of smaller companies should be in place
  • It is important to ensure a clear delimitation and definition of EU action based on European added-value
  • Proliferation and overlaps of programmes should be avoided; but cooperation and pooling of resources needs to be continued and reinforced

Secure, Clean and Efficient Energy Challenge: Report from Horizon 2020 Stakeholder Workshop

The EU’s proposed Horizon 2020 Framework Programme for Research and Innovation will run from 2014-2020, replacing FP7. Over the coming months, the EC is preparing the proposals for the Programme and as part of this, holding stakeholder workshops on the proposed ‘societal challenges’ of Horizon 2020.  The discussion focused around these questions:

Are there new and emerging  areas in addition to those identified in the EU’s Strategic Energy Technology Plan that should be supported? It was agreed that a systematic approach will be used when analysing the future development of energy technologies, taking into account EU energy and climate policies and ways to enhance Europe’s global competitiveness. The Challenge should cover the whole innovation cycle (basic research, applied research, demonstration and market introduction) and more support is needed for energy storage, renewable heating and cooling, marine energy, geothermal energy and materials. 

How can research, demonstration and innovation targeting energy efficiency be reinforced and how can ICT contribute most effectively? It was agreed that better coverage of the energy efficiency deployment chain, work on risk management and research combining technology, market and social aspects of energy systems were seen as important. ICT is important to support smart grids, energy efficient buildings and neighbourhoods. European research can be made more attractive to industry through measures related to ‘technology push’ and ‘demand pull’. Having a stable environment in Europe, in terms of policy objectives, regulation and support, was seen as important. European Innovation Partnerships (EIPs) could be a possible way forward. The need to optimise the interaction between EU and national programmes was also emphasised, for example through Joint Programming.

 A summary report of the stakeholder workshop on the ‘Secure, Clean and Efficient Energy Challenge’ has been published.