Innovation news in brief: Climate change; space innovation; construction; drug discovery

The government wants to focus on "cheap and green technologies" to tackle climate change

Energy Minister wants “cheap and green” technologies

Energy Minister Lord Bourne has said investment in green innovation is "crucial" to tackling climate change, but the focus of public investment in R&D should be on technologies that are "both cheap and green", reports BusinessGreen

In a speech delivered to the Cleantech Innovate conference earlier this week, Lord Bourne reaffirmed government commitments to double the five-year budget for clean energy research, development, and demonstration to £500 million, which were first announced in the Spending Review in November.

New UK space innovation congress announced

A new UK space industry conference and expo event, Space Innovation Congress, is taking place in London in April.

The event, covering the key issues across the space exploration and Earth observation industries, will take place on April 7-8 2016 at St Paul’s, Aldersgate in London.

The Space Innovation Congress will feature innovators and thought leaders representing satellites, big data, crop monitoring, earth observation, space debris, maritime surveillance, space weather and its impact on banking systems, biomedical, commercial space collaboration and telecoms.

Speakers already confirmed include:

  • Magali Vaissiere, director of telecommunications and integrated applications
  • European Space Agency
  • Michele Franci, CTO Inmarsat
  • Dr David Kendall, Chair United Nations COPUOS, 2016-17
  • Mark Rawlins, director of communication system operations, Eutelsat
  • Jonathan Firth, executive vice president, spaceport and program development, Virgin Galactic
  • Dr Alice Gorman, space archaeologist, Flinders University, Australia
  • Prof Chris Welch, Prof of Spacecraft Engineering - International Space University, vice-president - International Astronautical Federation
  • Tony Azzarelli, vice president regulatory affairs, OneWeb

For more information, visit:

Wanted: Construction innovation

Construction materials supplier Travis Perkins is looking to unearth relevant construction innovation to find the next big thing in the construction industry.

Anyone with a good idea can apply – inventors, students, university research groups, suppliers – and including Travis Perkins employees.

Awards include financial support of up to £10,000, an opportunity to trial an innovative product in selected Travis Perkins locations around the UK, business mentoring and commercial support.

Judging will take place between July and August 2016. Winners will be announced by the end of September 2016

Visit for more details.

Digital health technologies boost for London

A new initiative to boost London’s position as a global centre for commercialisation of pioneering digital health technologies has had its official launch in London this week, reports PharmaTimes Digital

DigitalHealth.London, a collaboration between MedCity and London’s three Academic Health Science Networks - Imperial College Health Partners, UCLPartners and the Health Innovation Network - aims to accelerate the use of new digital health technologies by bringing together clinicians, healthcare providers, research institutes, entrepreneurs and industry.

Mayor of London Boris Johnson MP said: “This initiative will position London at the forefront of digital health innovation - bringing together the city’s world-class strengths in life sciences and digital technology and channelling that innovation to develop new ground-breaking products.”

Optibrium helps tackle neglected diseases

Cambridge Research Park–based Optibrium Ltd, a developer of software for small molecule drug discovery and optimisation, has announced it will make its StarDrop technology available to an international consortium of academic and not-for profit organisations.

Under the agreement, licensed access to StarDrop software will be provided to support drug discovery projects as part of a global health programme focused on developing new treatments for neglected diseases.

Consortium partners are involved in projects to facilitate and speed up the development of therapies for the treatment of so-called ‘neglected’ diseases such as leishmaniasis, sleeping sickness, Chagas disease, malaria, tuberculosis and paediatric HIV.

StarDrop’s unique optimisation and compound selection capabilities will help researchers to efficiently focus their efforts on researching candidate drugs with the best chance of success in becoming effective therapies in the treatment and prevention of these diseases.

Visit for more details.