Innovation news in brief: Nuclear fusion; healthcare; SETsquared; AgTech

Nuclear research in the UK has been descibed as "world class"

Review backs UK’s "world-class" fusion programme

An independent review into nuclear fission and fusion research in the UK has backed the UK Atomic Energy Authority’s "world-class" fusion programme.

The Engineering & Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) commissioned the review to guide its future strategy. The review panel consisted of nine UK and international nuclear experts and interviewed a range of representatives from the research community, industry and government in the course of its assessment.

The review found the magnetic confinement fusion programme in the UK, based at Culham, to be of “world-class quality, in facilities, people and impact.” The JET facility, which UKAEA hosts on behalf of the European Commission was found to be “of the highest level of international importance”.

UKAEA is current undertaking a major upgrade to its MAST fusion experimental reactor, which includes a new cutting-edge fusion exhaust system. The panel said that the upgrade “will result in a facility that is world-leading in its particular design space.” It also praised the well-integrated links with fusion research at British universities.

New activities in materials research, remote handling and fusion system design are described as “wisely chosen with a view to the long term leadership of the UK fusion programme.”

The key role that the new materials research facility and Remote Applications in Challenging Environments centre will play in fusion and wider areas – including fission – is also strongly supported.

Download the full review here

National Information Board hosts leadership summit

The National Information Board (NIB) will hold its next leadership summit on April 20 as part of eHealth Week.

Life sciences minister George Freeman MP will deliver a keynote address while chief executives from across the health and care system will consider the portfolio of programmes designed to implement Personalised Health and Care 2020 and support the Five Year Forward View.

NIB will also agree proposals for the future work programme and there will be an update on the NIB annual report.

The NIB Leadership Summit will take place between 10:00am and 1:15pm at eHealth Week on Wednesday 20 April.

The event will be streamed online, so you can watch it here live.

MPs support SETsquared’s Healthcare Innovation Programmes

MPs from Bath and Southampton have shown their support for SETsquared’s Health Innovation Programme, run in partnership with the Academic Health Science Networks (AHSNs), by visiting their local programmes.

The West of England Health Innovation Programme provided 16 innovators from 13 healthcare ventures with an intensive course in taking innovations to market and culminated in a certificate presentation attended by Bath MP Ben Howlett.

The business ideas that entrepreneurs were developing on this course ranged from apps that allow patients to track their symptoms, through to a way for music, objects and photos to help people with dementia and their families.

Ben Howlett MP said: “It was an honour to be invited to the last day of the Healthcare Innovation Programme and hear the original ideas of the participants. I’m so pleased that SETsquared and the West of England AHSN continue to bring this course to Bath as it’s a fantastic resource for those working on innovations that will hopefully go on to benefit many aspects of healthcare.”

Bayer and Trendlines launch £10 million AgTech fund

Bayer and Trendlines, an Israeli innovation commercialisation company, have joined forces to invest in agricultural technologies through the establishment of the Bayer Trendlines Ag Innovation Fund.

The five-year partnership agreement includes a $10 million investment from Bayer, which will be managed by Trendlines. The partnership couples Bayer’s experience in agricultural science, innovation and regulatory affairs with Trendlines’ expertise in investing in early-stage medical and agricultural technologies.

"Israel is a hotspot of innovation and Trendlines offers the right combination of regional know-how and technical experience to be a compelling partner for us," said Adrian Percy, head of R&D at Bayer’s division Crop Science.

He added: "The agricultural market is ripe for groundbreaking innovation and Trendlines, with its focus on developing startups and new technologies beyond a one-time investment, shares our commitment to supporting productive and sustainable agriculture."

Phasefocus launches new cell imaging system

Phasefocus, a Sheffield-based life science company pioneering a novel method for high fidelity label-free quantitative imaging, has launched Livecyte, a new complete live cell imaging system for kinetic cytometry.

Livecyte will enable cell biology researchers to achieve a deeper understanding of the phenotypic and kinetic behaviours of both individual and populations of cells in a label free environment and, uniquely, will allow users to interleave fluorescence measurements during different drug treatments or across cell types within a single experiment.

Martin Humphry, CEO at Phasefocus, said: “For Phasefocus it is not only testament to our R&D expertise and our continual drive to develop the very best systems for live cell cytometry, but also highlights the adaptability of our technology platform.”