Innovation news in brief: Global R&D; Construction; Internet of Things

The proposed Swansea Waterfront Innovation Quarter

Asia tops corporate R&D spend table

Asia has become the top destination for corporate R&D spend in 2015, according to the 2015 Global Innovation 1000 Study by PricewaterhouseCooper’s strategy consulting business.

The research places Asia ahead of North America and Europe, who dropped to third, in a complete reversal from 2007 when Europe was the previous leader.

Key findings of the study:
- China and India lead dynamic R&D growth in Asia region, driven by imported R&D from the US
- Europe suffers lag in domestic and imported R&D, and significant increase in exported R&D, particularly by France and Germany

- The US remains the largest country location for the conduct of corporate R&D, representing the net of domestic, imported and exported R&D.

The report examined the R&D footprint of 207 of the world’s largest corporate R&D spenders.

Funding available for UK-China R&D projects
UK businesses are being invited to partner with Chinese companies on R&D projects that meet challenges in energy, healthcare, urbanisation and agri-food.

Innovate UK, Research Councils UK and the Ministry of Science and Technology (MoST) for the People’s Republic of China are to invest up to £16 million in collaborative research and development projects that propose commercial solutions to critical challenges affecting socio-economic growth and the development of China.

Harnessing innovation in construction
A joint project to find out how innovation can be harnessed more effectively and for longer during a construction project has been launched, reports theconstructionindex.

The project, backed by the government’s official innovation agency Innovate UK, will examine how innovation, often overlooked or ignored as projects develop, can be promoted throughout the supply chain.

Construction contractor Costain, law firm Pinsent Masons and the University of Cambridge have secured funding for the project to commence.

“Under many current industry models, the potential for innovation diminishes as a project develops,” said Adam Golden, legal executive at Costain.

“The aim of this research project is to identify the barriers to innovation and see what steps can be taken to reduce the uncertainty and risk related to innovation. We will then be able to ensure that innovation is maintained throughout the whole life of a project.”

Perseverance pays off for Oaktec
A Lancashire-based R&D engineering company has won a prestigious 'peer-to-peer' competition after it spent 15 years developing its low emissions, low-cost Pulse-R engine.

Oaktec’s small gas-powered engine was judged the innovation most likely to attract investor backing at the recent Innovate 2015 event in London.

IoT incubator to launch at iCentrum
A new 2,500 sq ft energy-focused Internet of Things incubator at Innovation Birmingham’s new £8m iCentrum building has been set up by RWE and its UK subsidiary npower.

The incubator is designed to accelerate the growth of young businesses with a tech product or service offering in the markets of connected smart homes, intelligent energy and the internet of things marketplace.

The new facility will launch when iCentrum, located off the A38M Aston Expressway, opens in March 2016.

Emerging technologies competition open
A competition has been launched to accelerate the commercialisation of promising technologies in the fields of health and wellbeing, energy and environment, food and water and materials.

Winners of the competition – a flagship initiative created by the Royal Society of Chemistry – will receive ongoing, tailored support from the initiative’s multinational partner companies (which include GSK, P&G, AstraZeneca, GE Healthcare, Schlumberger and Croda), up to £20,000, and a number of promotional opportunities.

The competition opens on 11 January 2016.

Green light for Swansea’s Innovation Quarter
Swansea Council has given outline planning permission to a multi-million pound Innovation Quarter proposed by the University of Wales Trinity Saint David on the city’s waterfront.

The master plan for the Swansea Waterfront Innovation Quarter (pictured above) includes proposals to develop purpose-built facilities for learning, teaching and applied research as well as social, leisure and wider recreational spaces.

Cllr Rob Stewart, Swansea Council leader, said: "Together with Swansea University's bay campus and plans for the world's first tidal lagoon in Swansea Bay, these plans have the potential to help transform the Fabian Way and SA1 area into a knowledge economy cluster that will complement the city centre's regeneration, create new jobs and boost Swansea's profile as a city of academic expertise that's at the forefront of new research, development and technology.”