Northumbria University – Innovation Project Awards

Design Process by Mazzarello Media and Arts CC BY-NC-SA 2.0Northumbria University has recently announced a new Innovation Project Awards scheme which enables the provision of up to £6000 of University funding towards qualifying R+D projects conducted by our research and consultancy staff.

Successful projects will be eligible for a 50% subsidy against the full project cost – maximum project value £12,000. The scheme is primarily aimed at attracting interactions with SMEs for work that is aligned with the expertise and research interests University.

The Innovation Project Award scheme is designed to promote collaborative innovation between the University and UK businesses.  This is a competitive fund managed by the University – there is no application or claim process for the business. The awards will be allocated to successful SME applicants who wish to engage with the University and its academics in helping to develop new products or services. Successful applications are expected to mainly fund small research projects, but could also include consultancy and technical services.

The first step is to contact our Business Team with your ideas. We will then review with colleagues in the appropriate research area and develop a project proposal to meet your requirements. The funding will be awarded following a University review process: preference will be given to those projects that could lead to future collaborative interactions.

Typical project length is between 1-3 months.  Please note that in-kind contributions cannot be accepted as part-payment. The business will be invoiced for 50% of the project value, up to a maximum of £6000 + VAT.


NESTA – Social frontiers: the next edge of social innovation research – Call for Research Papers

social innovationNESTA, the UK’s Innovation Foundation,has issued a call for abstracts for research papers that go beyond the current state of knowledge on social innovation, identify and address gaps in knowledge and generate hypotheses that can shape future research agendas in this field. NESTA are looking for proposals that push the boundaries of current knowledge, look to other disciplines for insight, develop a useful evidence base for social innovation that can inform policy and form new hypotheses to set a collective research agenda for the next ten years.

Successful proposals will be invited to present at a major international research conference to be held in the UK (in London or Oxford) on 14– 15November 2013.

For further details see the NESTA website.


Materials Science and Engineering Network Issues Calls for Proposals is a European network of public funding organisations and funding programmes in the areas of materials science and engineering research. The network provides a coordinated approach to these topics by issuing calls for transnational research proposals to support the exploitation of knowledge from basic research to applied innovation.

The first joint call for proposals was opened in late September 2012 and covers the following topics:

  • Integrated Computational Materials Engineering (ICME)
  • Secondary raw materials
  • Design of new interfaces, surfaces and coatings
  • Hybrid composites
  • Materials for energy systems

The call is a two-stage process and the pre-proposal deadline is 27th November 2012, 12 noon Brussels time.

UK involvement is funded through the Technology Strategy Board and is limited to applied research in Integrated Computational Materials Engineering; Design of new interfaces, surfaces and coatings; and Hybrid composites. Other countries may focus on basic or applied research in these areas and other criteria may apply so please be sure to check each country’s funding regulations.

Full details about these thematic priorities are given in Annex 1 of the call for proposals document [PDF] alongside expected impact and target groups.

Project consortia consisting of at least 3 parties from 2 different participating countries in the M-ERA.NET call 2012, or 2 regions in different countries can apply for funding. The consortia may involve as many partners as necessary to carry out the project.


Technology Strategy Board Innovation Voucher Scheme

The Technology Strategy Board has unveiled a new Innovation Voucher scheme which provides funding for businesses to work with an external expert for the first time, to help them gain new knowledge in order to innovate, develop and grow. Businesses can work with a range of expert suppliers including universities.

The vouchers, which should help businesses develop ideas and improve performance, can support all types of innovation – for example, ideas for new or improved products, processes and services, using design to improve ideas or managing intellectual property.

Innovation vouchers are available to SMEs and should be applicable to one of the priority sectors:  Agrifood, Built Environment and Space.  They can provide up to £5,000  to pay for the expertise (up to £8k for Space).

The scheme opens on the 24th September when further information, including full guidance for applicants, will be available from the TSB website.  Please see below the Innovation Vouchers flyer.

If you would like to provide expertise under the scheme, get in touch with Research and Business Services, who can help identify and approach suitable businesses for the scheme.

Contact:  Dr Stephen Oyston, Business Development Manger, Research and Business Services.,  0191 243 7667, 07557 085737.


Innovative Engineering for Health – Wellcome Trust/EPSRC call

The Wellcome Trust and EPSRC this week announced a £30M call for research and development on innovative engineering solutions to healthcare problems:

Innovative Engineering for Health

The Wellcome Trust and the EPSRC are looking to support a limited number of innovative, multidisciplinary projects designed to address a defined need in healthcare for which current solutions are inadequate or lacking. Priority will be given to projects with the potential to impact on particularly intractable problems in medicine or public health using exciting engineering concepts. Projects must address the full translation pathway from high-quality basic research through to adoption into practice, together with full analysis of routes to market. Up to £10M over 7 years is available for the projects.

What are they looking for?

Three potential healthcare challenges are highlighted in the call and press release, but these are indicative only:

  • engineering approaches to mental health, with particular emphasis on psychiatric conditions and mood disorders;
  • solutions to facilitate neonatal and paediatric care that accommodate the challenges posed by growth and development;
  • technologies with the potential to mitigate rare diseases

What’s the process?

Applicants must contact the Wellcome Trust first for feedback on their proposed concept – following which a preliminary application form will be sent. The deadline for the preliminary application is 10th December 2012. Proposals will be shortlisted in January and full applications will be due by April 2013. Given the scale of the call (both in terms of funding and scope), competition is likely to be intense, with only the very highest quality applications receiving funding. Potential applicants from Northumbria are therefore strongly advised to discuss their ideas with RBS at an early stage.


Workshop on Catapults, Local Enterprise Partnerships, and Research Data

The Modern Universities Research Group is advertising a workshop on Catapult Centres, Local Enterprise Partnerships and Data Usage in Research. The event takes place at Goodenough College, London on Friday 28th September. You can find more information and book at the link below:

MURG September Workshop

Topics and speakers include: Innovation projects for SMEs (Chris Birch, University of Greenwich), Best practice for data sharing (Veerle Van Den Eyden, UK Data Archive), and the High Value Manufacturing Catapult Centre (Nigel Perry, Centre for Process Innovation).

Although Northumbria University is not a member of MURG, non-members can still attend for an additional fee.


Knowledge Transfer Partnerships: What, When, How?

Bill Frain, the University’s KTP Manager, provides support for Knowledge Transfer Partnerships, from initial ideas and proposal development through to management of successful projects. If you’ve never considered KTPs before and want to know how they can enable you to develop links with companies and lead to innovative products and services, here’s a reminder from Bill on the basics of the scheme:

Knowledge Transfer Partnerships (KTP) is a UK-wide scheme that supports UK businesses wanting to improve their competitiveness, productivity and performance by accessing the knowledge and expertise available within UK Universities.

A KTP involves the recruitment of a high quality graduate by the university to work in the business under academic supervision, delivering a strategically important project that will make a step-change in the company’s performance. Government funding pays up to 67% of the project cost.

You can apply for a KTP at almost any time throughout the year. The Partnerships Approvals Group meets approximately every six weeks. Your Knowledge Transfer Partnerships Adviser must be satisfied that your proposals meet the Knowledge Transfer Partnerships criteria before a submission is made.

If you’re still not sure and want to get an idea of what kinds of projects are possible through KTPs, why not check out the following case study of one successful Northumbria project:

Company: Renown Engineering Ltd – Integrated Business & Marketing Development Strategy

Academic partner: Northumbria University, Newcastle Business School

The company planned to expand and transform itself from a traditional manufacturing company into a high tech, high value-added company with its own products and brands.

The company recognised that its expansion through acquisitions, though successful, had been risky and now needed to take a more strategic approach to business development. They believed that their products could supply a variety of markets but needed the strategic business and marketing expertise to exploit this fully. They turned to Northumbria University’s Newcastle Business School to transfer and embed these skills through a Knowledge Transfer Partnership.

Read more [PDF]

If you want to find out more, please contact Bill or any of the Business Development Managers for a discussion.