Innovation news in brief: Innovate UK, TomTom, Enterprise Zones; UKSPA

Funding is available for photonics feasibility studies

£2m up for grabs for technology inspired innovation

Small businesses are being encouraged to apply for a share of £2m government funding for feasibility studies in four key technology sectors – advanced materials; biosciences; electronics, sensors and photonics; and information and communication technology.

Studies can be carried out into a wide range of new products and services, from materials for energy and healthcare to new biological products and bio-based solutions, sensor systems, power electronics, use of data and simpler computing experiences.

The Innovate UK-run funding competition aims to ensure that small and micro companies are able to respond to market opportunities across a range of economic sectors.

The competition opens on 18 January 2016, and the deadline for registration is 9 March 2016.

A briefing event for potential applicants will take place in London on 26 January 2016, and there will be additional events in Edinburgh and Manchester

Find out more and apply here

TomTom navigates to Technopole

Navigation and mapping firm TomTom is to relocate a major part of its operation in Scotland to Edinburgh Technopole in Midlothian.

TomTom will rent a floor of the Fleming Building at the science park where it will house approximately 24 staff responsible for upgrading and design of software for the company.

Commenting on the move, Judith Sanderson, Edinburgh Technopole park manager, said: “We are delighted to have attracted a company the size of TomTom to Technopole. We have worked very hard over the years to make sure our infrastructure and support network is amongst the best in the country and is able to support the kind of hi-tech, high-skilled jobs Midlothian has become known for.”

Joe Dixon, VP of advanced development at TomTom UK said: “The staff based at Edinburgh Technopole will be working to ensure that TomTom remains at the cutting edge of software innovation and data management to ensure that our products and services maintain their world class reputation and we look forward to working with Technopole and the other BEST Network sites and companies to make that a reality.”

Nick Sturge takes the Chair

Nick Sturge, director of the Engine Shed enterprise hub and the University of Bristol’s SETsquared Centre, has been named as the new Institute of Directors’ (IoD) South West regional chairman.

A former Bristol IoD committee chair and member for over 10 years, he officially takes over from Richard Ayre in January 2016.

Nick will represent the interests of the IoD’s 2,500 plus South West members at a national level as well as supporting the six regional committees in Bristol, Bath and Wiltshire, Somerset, Devon and Cornwall, Gloucestershire and Dorset.

He said: “The South West is set to experience some significant developments in the near future with Hinkley C and the proposed electrification of the rail mainline between London and Bristol.

“My job, and the job of the Institute of Directors, is to ensure that our members, whether they be SMEs or multinational corporates, can make the most of the opportunities that these developments represent and play an active and influential role in the growth of the South West economy.”

New Enterprise Zones confirmed

The chancellor's recent Autumn Statement has confirmed a number of new Enterprise Zones.

There will be 44 Enterprise Zones in England – 18 new, 24 existing (of which eight have extensions), plus Blackpool Airport and Plymouth Enterprise Zones which were previously announced in the Budget in March 2015.

The new and extended Enterprise Zones include:

Aerohub Extension (Cornwall and Isles of Scilly LEP)

Aylesbury Vale (Buckinghamshire Thames Valley LEP)

Bristol Temple Quarter and Bath and Somer Valley (West of England LEP)

Birmingham Enterprise Zone Curzon Street (Greater Birmingham and Solihull LEP)

Cambridge Compass (Greater Cambridge and Greater Peterborough LEP)

Carlisle Kingmoor Park (Cumbria LEP)

Ceramics Valley (Stoke and Staffordshire LEP)

Cheshire Science Corridor (Cheshire and Warrington LEP)

Didcot Growth Accelerator (Oxfordshire LEP)

Dorset Green (Dorset LEP)

Enterprise M3 (Enterprise M3 LEP)

Enviro-Tech (Hertfordshire LEP)

Great Yarmouth and Lowestoft Enterprise Zone Extension (New Anglia LEP)

Greater Manchester Life Science (Greater Manchester LEP)

Heart of the South West (Heart of the South West LEP)

Hillhouse Chemicals and Energy (Lancashire LEP)

Humber Enterprise Zone Extension (Humber LEP)

Infinity Park Derby Extension (D2N2 LEP)

Luton Airport (SEMLEP)

M62 Corridor (Leeds City Region LEP)

NE Round 2 (North East LEP)

New Anglia (New Anglia LEP)

Newhaven (Coast to Capital LEP)

North Kent Innovation Zone (South East LEP)

Tees Valley Enterprise Zone Growth Extension (Tees Valley Unlimited LEP)

York Central (York, North Yorkshire and East Riding LEP)

The following are extensions:

Aerohub Extension

Bristol Temple Quarter and Bath and Somer Valley

Birmingham Enterprise Zone Curzon Street

Great Yarmouth and Lowestoft Enterprise Zone Extension

Humber Enterprise Zone Extension

Infinity Park Derby Extension

North Kent Innovation Zone

Tees Valley Enterprise Zone Growth Extension

More details here 

UKSPA at Colworth Park

The United Kingdom Science Park Association is holding a conference at Colworth Park, Bedford, on 4-5 February 2016.

The programme will include sessions on the following topics:

• NESTA research on social science parks

• Regional innovation – the view from the LEP

• The business of science parks

• Social enterprises: innovation and incubation

• The future is local - innovation audits and one nation science

• Community engagement and local stakeholders: good practice

More information is available here