Innovation news in brief: Digital London; SETsquared; Horizon; cyber security

London needs to harness the potential of smart technologies

Digital innovation key to London’s future

London must harness the potential of smart technologies to meet the future needs of its citizens, a major new report suggests.

The report by Smart London Board – which is made up of leading academics, businesses and entrepreneurs who advise the Mayor on how digital technology can help the capital function better – says the capital must capitalise on its digital expertise to tackle challenges associated with the city's bourgeoning population which is set to exceed 10 million people by 2036.

Enhancing the capital’s digital connectivity and making the most of data would increase transparency, improve public services, and encourage open innovation, the report argues.

These priorities include engaging Londoners through investment in digital skills, enabling growth through resilient digital infrastructure and open data, and working with businesses to break down barriers and scale up innovation.

It cites examples of leading Smart Cities research and projects, including the Crossrail innovation programme, Innovate 18, which was supported by a team from Imperial College London. Aiming to respond to a growing demand for innovation on major construction projects, it is now on the verge of being established as the foundation of a UK industry wide programme.

Prof David Gann, who chairs Smart London Board, said: “London is leading the way in digital innovation. Our cluster of ideas, talent and capital is unrivalled. Making data open and accessible has unleashed a wave of innovation in our city, empowering businesses and improving the lives of our citizens.

“But there are challenges ahead. London’s rising population is putting our housing, healthcare, transport, and environment under strain. Standing still is not an option. We must do more to create a new data infrastructure and harness the benefits for all who live, work and visit London.”

SETsquared’s ICURe project shortlisted for national higher education awards

Business incubator group SETsquared has been shortlisted for a national award that celebrates the most innovative and original initiatives and teams from higher education institutions in the UK.

The Times Higher Education Leadership & Management Awards (THELMAs) shines a spotlight on teams whose awareness, application and vision create an environment in which staff and students can excel. SETsquared has been shortlisted in the Knowledge Exchange/Transfer Initiative of the Year category, for its Innovation and Commercialisation of University Research (ICURe) programme.

SETsquared, a partnership between universities of Bath, Bristol, Exeter, Southampton and Surrey, is piloting the ICURe programme to offer university researchers with commercially promising ideas the opportunity to 'get out of the lab' and validate their ideas in the marketplace.

Funded by HEFCE and Innovate UK, the £3.2 million programme provides university researchers with training, mentoring and funds, as well as important business contacts, to get their ideas, technologies and products off the ground.

More than 232 participants have benefitted from the programme which has led to 21 new companies being created and securing £12.8 million in funding.

Horizon launches new platform for immuno-oncology research

Cambridge Research Park-based life science firm Horizon Discovery Group has launched a new platform for immuno-oncology research.

The platform consists of several high throughput assays that enable researchers to test thousands of potential anti-cancer drugs that recruit the body’s own immune system to fight cancer.

Horizon‚s new platform enables researchers to study how new drugs are able to activate different types of immune cells as well as increase their ability to kill tumors.

Edward Weinstein of Horizon commented: “Horizon’s new immuno-oncology assays represent a great step forward in this important growth area, building on our experience in high-throughput screening with over ten million unique drug combinations screened.

"The platform allows researchers to test thousands of new immuno-oncology drugs simultaneously, alone or in combination with other drugs.

"Immuno-oncology is an important focus area for Horizon, and we’re excited that these new assays will accelerate and streamline drug discovery, bringing highly effective new drugs to patients faster than before possible.”

Immuno-oncology has rapidly risen as a promising approach to treat cancer, and the market is currently estimated at £25 billion per year and expected to grow to approximately £50 billion per year by 2020.

Personal data threat exposed

Nearly two thirds of UK adults rely on 'auto-fill' to complete the login process for some or all websites and a third login automatically and store their bank card details to shopping sites such as eBay and Amazon – making them vulnerable to financial losses, a new survey by mobile security company BullGuard suggests.

BullGuard commissioned the study exploring the login preferences of 2,000 UK adults when browsing the web on a phone or tablet.

Cyber attack: Less than half of businesses covered

While the majority of businesses believe insurance against cyber attacks is ‘vital’ less than half are covered for both security breaches and data loss, a new report suggests

According to NTT Com Security’s latest Risk:Value report, the majority of global organisations say that it is ‘vital’ their organisation is insured against information security breaches. However, less than half (41 per cent) are fully covered for both security breaches and data loss and just over a third have dedicated cyber security insurance.

Research among 1,000 non-IT business decision makers in organisations in the UK, US, Germany, France, Sweden, Norway and Switzerland also revealed that one in ten (12 per cent) have no insurance cover at all for either eventuality. This is despite most business decision makers admitting that there is an increased cyber security threat. NTT Com Security estimates the cost of recovering from such an attack could start from around £1.2 million.