Innovation news in brief: Digital Catapult; entrepreneurship; TeeGene; civil engineering


Data driven innovation has the potential to create £200bn of economic value

Digital Catapult launches call for new centres

The Digital Catapult has launched an open call to select new centres to join its growing UK network.

Set up by Innovate UK, the Digital Catapult’s previous open call for centres led to the opening of centres in Brighton, North East & Tees Valley and Yorkshire.

Since their launch in March 2015, Digital Catapult Centres have had more than 1,500 visitors, held 60 events and engaged with 300 SMEs, including a series of collaborative projects working with blue chip organisations such as Barclays, Nissan and American Express.

Data driven innovation is estimated to have the potential to create £200bn of economic value. From running pilot projects through to large scale initiatives, the centres are designed to enable communities to work, meet, showcase and collaborate on breakthroughs in data sharing, aligned with the Digital Catapult’s four focus areas; the sharing of closed data between organisations, the sharing of personal data in a way that’s secure and trusted, more simply sharing content and licensed data, and the sharing of data generated across the Internet of Things.

Neil Crockett, chief executive, the Digital Catapult said: “The UK has reached a pivotal point, ready to maximise the huge potential of sharing proprietary data. This is an exciting time for the Digital Catapult as we grow our network of existing centres and extend our reach and collaboration throughout the UK. We are calling on the amazing talent of the UK’s digital community to drive innovation and create more breakthroughs for the UK’s data sharing movement. The new centres will not only create significant impact and business opportunities locally, but will help support the UK in becoming a digital leader.”

The deadline for applications is April 25 2016 and appointments will be announced on 6 July 2016.

More details here.

Entrepreneurs should invest more time, not money

Entrepreneurs spend too much time trying to solve problems that could have been avoided if they’d invested the time earlier, new research from UCL School of Management finds.

Identifying the bottleneck issue that’s restricting output, and improving it, significantly boosts a start-up’s growth as any subsequent advances could have maximum success.

By investing time to reduce this waste, more time would be available in the future.

Assistant Prof Onesun Steve Yoo said:  “Unlike investing money, which brings in more money, people can’t see tangible benefits from investing time. Busy people may view this as a waste when they should really be prioritising these activities.

“Opportunity to create time is everywhere, for example, starting an exercise routine when you’re busy may seem unimportant, but if you account for the reduction in sick or less productive days, you have a positive return on time investment. You have created time.”

Dr Yoo suggests that entrepreneurs monitor where their time is going and pay as much attention to time as money. He has developed a tool that calculates ‘return on time invested’ that uses the method employed by the financial valuation of ‘return on investment’, enabling entrepreneurs to create a time allocation strategy.

TeeGene develops R&D links with New Zealand

Teesside University’s biotech spinout TeeGene has taken part in a British High Commission R&D mission to New Zealand to establish collaborative links in agriculture, food and biotechnology.

The international visit, sponsored by the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills, sought to establish links with New Zealand’s key research institutes.

TeeGene Founder Dr Rahman Pattanathu said: “It was fantastic five days in New Zealand and we identified some key areas for R&D and technology transfer during this visit."

TeeGene was recently awarded the Enterprise Project of the Year 2016 award by Teesside University.

Academic appointed to turn civil engineering knowledge into action

The Institution of Civil Engineers (ICE) has appointed University of Warwick Prof Ian Guymer to turn civil engineering knowledge into action as part of its Shaping the World initiative.

Taking up the post as ICE’s first academic in residence, Prof Guymer will work with ICE members and industry leaders to identify new areas where civil engineers can offer contributions to the major global challenges. He will draw on his experience as joint lead of University of Warwick’s Sustainable Cities Global Research Priority team to engage across the boundaries with other disciplines such as social sciences, economics, planning and computer sciences.

ICE’s Shaping the World initiative brings together the greatest civil engineering minds to address the major infrastructure challenges of our time. Prof Guymer’s work will focus on projects that trail blaze new civil engineering interventions and work in partnership with others to pilot new ideas.

Prof Guymer’s insight will help catalyse the initiative’s future programme of work, which will inform ICE’s thought leadership in priority areas such as resilience and innovation.

Auto firm to create new R&D facility at Millbrook Technology Park

Automotive firm Calsonic Kansei is creating a new R&D centre at Millbrook Technology Park.

Calsonic Kansei supplies heat exchange, air conditioning, exhaust, interior, and electronic automotive components, which would fit Millbrook Technology Park’s existing tenants and customers, whose focal point is innovation and technology within the automotive industry.

Alex Burns, CEO of Millbrook Group explained: “Millbrook Technology Park boasts a strong and varied vehicle engineering community. It is home to technology companies, who benefit from access to Millbrook’s test facilities and expertise, forming an integral part of the UK’s automotive cluster. I am very pleased that Calsonic Kansei is creating this new facility at Millbrook and look forward to welcoming them on site soon.”

Neil O’Brien, head of R&D at Calsonic Kansei, said: “We are excited about the future prospects that the new R&D centre based at Millbrook will bring. With easy access to Millbrook’s services and to numerous automotive customers, we feel it is the best location for our UK R&D facilities”