Innovation news in brief: aerospace; coating technologies; HPT&M, healthcare technologies

The government has committed £900 million for aerospace R&D

UK aerospace hub for Loughborough University Science and Enterprise Park

Loughborough University has been awarded almost £10 million of government funding to create a new aerospace hub.

The National Centre of Excellence in Gas Turbine Combustion Aerodynamics will allow UK industry to access state-of-the-art facilities and will lead research and technology development in gas turbine combustion – a central feature of large jet engines.

Business Minister Anna Soubry said: “Loughborough University is renowned for its world-leading research in aerospace and engineering. This new Centre of Excellence will deliver the next generation of greener, more efficient gas turbine engines and new projects like this will help maintain our position as a world leader in aerospace and help the industry to maintain its sky high success.”

The funding comes after the government committed an extra £900 million for aerospace R&D. The government money will be match-funded by industry.

Preliminary work began on the new facility in August 2015 and it is expected that the centre will be operational in early 2018.

KTM moves to Silverstone

The world’s leading manufacturer of off-road motorcycles, KTM Sportmotorcycle UK, is to relocate its UK headquarters to new premises on the high-performance technology and motorsport (HPT&M) business estate at Silverstone Park.

The Austrian-founded company is currently busy fitting out more than 13,000 sq ft of property at Silverstone Park to include offices, brand rooms, a conference suite, workshops, an internal ‘bike wash’ facility and a sales and marketing centre to work with its 38 dealerships across the UK.

The new HQ will also be home to its Husqvarna motorcycle brand when it completes the move in April.

Wanted: innovative emerging technologies

The Royal Society of Chemistry’s has launched its annual innovation initiative that helps turns promising ideas into commercial reality.

Now in its fourth year, the Emerging Technologies Competition aims to accelerate the commercialisation of innovative technologies in the following areas:

  • Health and wellbeing
  • Energy and environment
  • Food and water
  • Materials

The competition is free to enter and open to small companies, universities, and research institutions. RSC welcomes ideas at any stage of development from across the UK and Europe.

The deadline for applications is 14 March 2016.

For more information, and to apply, click here

Exeter businesses to benefit from technology boost

Businesses in Exeter could soon be benefiting from the creation of a new technology and research facility at Exeter Science Park.

Exeter City Futures, a consortium of local stakeholders in Exeter, has designated key sites within the city for the development of a research and technology facility and are in discussions with Exeter Science Park to create a new building on the campus.

Glenn Woodcock, Director of Exeter City Futures, said: “Exeter City Futures is committed to making Exeter a nationally-leading hub for technology and innovation and we are looking at sites where we can bring this vision to life. The Science Park offers a fantastic opportunity for the creation of a world-class hub and we are actively working with the team to bring our vision to life.”

SETsquared unveils £90m investment

Business incubator group SETsquared has revealed how it is helping to make a significant economic impact in the South.

SETsquared, a partnership of the universities of Bath, Bristol, Exeter, Southampton and Surrey – has supported over 250 high growth potential technology companies and in 2015 alone its companies raised over £90m in investment.

SETsquared announced the news at a reception at the House of Commons recently.

A range of SETsquared-incubated companies exhibited their technologies at the event, including:

  • Sherlock – which has developed a GPS-based anti-theft device that allows cyclists to precisely locate their bicycle at any moment, as well as send a theft report to police
  • Green Running Ltd – which provides a range of products to help people monitor, analyse and manage energy consumption, enabling users to make savings, lower their carbon footprint and achieve sustainability targets
  • Pelipod – which has developed an intelligent parcel box that allows the use of unique codes for safe, audited and notified delivery of products and parts for field-based staff and home-based workers
  • BioSystems Technology – which provides low cost, ethical solutions for researchers who require alternatives to animal testing
  • Nquiringminds Ltd – which builds products, from software to hardware, that make cities better at capturing, securing and using data. It helps cities to run smarter.

Coating technology competition launched

Innovate UK is to invest up to £2 million for feasibility studies into new surface engineering and coating technologies for advanced manufacturing.

The competition covers new technologies that could enhance the way components perform, such as improved anti-fouling, corrosion-protection and wear-resistance.

Coatings applied in the UK’s advanced manufacturing industry are already worth £11 billion a year, and the sector represents a significant opportunity for further growth.

The competition aims to stimulate innovation in:

  • Creation and evaluation of of innovative and accessible real-time process control technology
  • Process informatics
  • Improved characterisation techniques
  • The measurement of critical coating and surface properties
  • Integration of existing surface engineering and coating technologies with digital manufacturing technology

The deadline for registration is at noon on 9 March 2016.

For more info and to apply, click here

Regional healthcare technology boost

The Creative England Regional Growth Fund has extended its Interactive Healthcare Programme, pledging £750k in funding for digital companies to develop innovative healthcare technology and solutions.

Repayable contributions of between £25,000 and £50,000 are available to small creative and digital businesses to cover up to 50% of project costs. Eligible applicants must be based in England, outside of Greater London, with fewer than 250 employees.

The current intake rounds are seeking innovative concepts or prototypes using digital technology to improve patient care and health services in the Greater Manchester or West Midlands areas, and will close on September 30 2016.

Creative England also offers funding for film and video game production, as well as access to loan and investment programmes, for the creative and digital industries outside of London.

Contact Jon Ion at (0)203 435 6853 or by email at for more details.

Embed driving forward at University of Warwick Science Park

A Coventry systems and software consultancy specialising in the automotive industry is expanding into larger offices on the back of record growth.

Embed, which develops automotive electronics and systems as well as embedded software, has effectively doubled the size of its premises at the University of Warwick Science Park after winning new business with a number of industry giants.

The extra space has enabled the business – which works with several major firms including Jaguar Land Rover and Bentley – to install a new vehicle electronics integration laboratory which allows the team to work on vehicles and on bigger and more complex projects.

Company director Ivan Wilson hopes Embed, is now hoping to break into break into new markets – including the rail sector. “We recently won a large research project with the Rail Safety Standards Board, and we are currently working on developing a new on-board computer for trains, we are bringing automotive technology to the rail industry.”

He added: “This is a very exciting period for Embed, and the grant has helped our expansion into larger premises which has been a key milestone in terms of continuing the growth of the company.”