Innovation news in brief: Innovate UK; health; MRC Technology; eFOLDi; plasma accelerator

Innovate UK said it will take a more “focused and efficient approach” to supporting innovative UK companies.

Innovate UK publishes £561 million Delivery Plan

Innovate UK has published its Delivery Plan for the year 2016/2017. The government’s official innovation agency said it will invest £561 million in innovation over the next 12 months and take a more “focused and efficient approach” to supporting innovative UK companies.

The Delivery Plan for the year 2016 to 2017 includes:

  • A new sector focus that is easier for industry, investors and government to work with
  • A 5-point plan to underpin activity across these sectors and drive productivity growth
  • Clearer funding programmes that are easier to navigate
  • Improvements to the way Innovate UK connects businesses to knowledge and partners
  • A stronger regional presence

Chief executive Dr Ruth McKernan said: “To be globally competitive the UK must innovate and grow. Innovation is responsible for 50% of all productivity growth and the mission of Innovate UK is to help make this happen."

The Delivery Plan is available to download here

Pioneering medical breakthroughs on show at Sheffield’s health festival

A unique festival of health that gives members of the public the chance to explore and discover groundbreaking research is taking place across Sheffield next week (16-24 April 2016).

The Life: A Festival of Health, From Head to Toe event is being hosted by medics and scientists from the University of Sheffield.

The free nine-day event will include interactive laboratory demonstrations and lectures.

Prof Allan Pacey of the University of Sheffield’s Medical School, said: “The Life Festival is all about the fantastic research we do in Sheffield.

“We have all kinds of things taking place including lab tours which give you a behind-the-scenes glimpse of what happens in revolutionary medical research, we’ve got film screenings, a story telling evening, and a chance to hear from a world-leading gastroenterologist.

“We are really eager to tell the world what we are doing, engage with the local community and to help share our expertise about healthy living.”

More details here: www.sheffield.ac.uk/life

MRC Technology signs Chinese collaboration agreement

Life science medical research charity MRC Technology and the Institut Pasteur of Shanghai, Chinese Academy of Sciences (IP-CAS) have signed a collaboration agreement to develop new therapeutic antibodies from research originating in China.

IPS-CAS is well regarded for their cutting-edge research in infectious diseases and capability generating antibodies and MRC Technology has proven expertise in progressing promising research towards the clinic.

The two parties have created the IPS-MRCT Joint Centre for Therapeutic Antibodies in order to combine their expertise in research and development, intellectual property (IP) protection and management, and commercial acumen for more precise and efficient technology transfer.

Monoclonal antibody-based drugs have been established as one of the most successful therapeutic strategies for the treatment of infectious diseases, cancers and autoimmune diseases.

“The promise of immune check-point antibodies and broadly neutralising antibodies against pathogens brings a boom in research and research development across the world, which makes this collaboration all the more significant and important,” said Prof Sun Bing, the director of IPS-MRCT Joint Centre for Therapeutic Antibodies.

Dr Dave Tapolczay, chief executive, MRC Technology, said: “MRC Technology uses the potential of science to change lives. Our projects have led to several approved drugs which are improving patients’ lives across the world. Biomedical research is flourishing in China and we are pleased to work with IPS to progress the science towards worldwide benefit.”

eFOLDI wins British Inventors’ Project

A lightweight foldable scooter which the potential to make life easier for people with limited mobility has won the final of a prestigious British inventors competition.

The eFOLDi, designed by Surrey resident Sumi Wang and her father, Chinese engineer Jianmin Wang, won the Gadget Show Live British Inventors’ Project.

As well as winning the title of the British Inventors’ Project, eFOLDi have also won a stand at the 2017 Gadget Show Live and a cheque for £1,000 from the event organisers. Sumi Wang, from Redhill, Surrey said: “We are over the moon to win the British Inventors’ Project at Gadget Show Live. I must thank everyone involved in the project and Gadget Show Live. The other 19 inventions on show are fantastic, so this makes me feel very proud.”

In addition to winning the prize, Sumi also launched the first Kickstarter campaign at the event to raise investment for eFOLDi.

The goal is to raise £90,000, with which Sumi can get the first production run of eFOLDi under way. To date the campaign has raised more than £33,000.

Scientists to build world’s first plasma accelerator

Accelerator scientists from across Europe are collaborating to design the world’s first high energy plasma-based accelerator, which will be stronger and more compact than the current accelerators used by industry today, opening up the opportunity to use the beams for entirely new types of application.

The consortium, called EuPRAXIA, brings together 16 institutions and 18 associated partners from more than eight countries.

The accelerator would use extremely powerful lasers to generate a plasma, ‘the fourth state of matter,’ to propel electrons at the speed of light, and provide a high energy electron beam of industrial quality. Two user areas will be incorporated to investigate potential applications, for example in the generation of ultra-bright light, the development of new materials or non-destructive testing for aircraft or nuclear facilities.

More details here