Innovation news in brief: Talent Unleashed; MRC Technology; Engine Shed; Fareham Innovation Centre

The competition seeks to identify the world's best tech start-ups

Wozniak and Branson launch global tech start-up competition

Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak and Sir Richard Branson have been unveiled as the headline judges for the Talent Unleashed Awards, a competition to identify the best technology entrepreneurs and businesses from around the world.

Categories in the 2016 Talent Unleashed awards include:
• Best Start Up – Social Impact
• Best Start Up – Tech Innovation
• Best Digital SME – Tech Innovation
• Most Disruptive CIO/CTO
• Best Tech IPO/Venture Capital Raising

Sir Richard Branson said: “The technology sector will continue to transform and disrupt the global economy for many years to come and importantly can make the world a better place. We must encourage more talented individuals and organisations to become bolder and more active and in the process help drive innovation, invention and more efficiency and change across many sectors.”

Entries are now open, and will close on 27 May 2016. A shortlist of finalists will be announced on 20 June 2016.

More details here

MRC Technology completes move to Stevenage Bioscience Catalyst

Life science medical research charity MRC Technology has completed the move of its Centre for Therapeutics Discovery to new laboratory facilities at the Stevenage Bioscience Catalyst (SBC) campus.

Through the open innovation network of the SBC campus, MRC Technology will have access to increased opportunities to collaborate with industry, charities, universities and health organisations to speed up life science discovery and translation processes.

Dave Tapolczay, chief executive officer, MRC Technology, commented: “This is an exciting phase in MRC Technology’s development. The move provides the increased laboratory space and facilities needed to drive research and development programmes, so we can help more organisations progress innovative medical science and find solutions to some pressing health issues.”

From its inception in 2000, MRC Technology projects have led to 12 drugs on the market including Tysabri, Actemra, Entyvio and Keytruda. The company has generated over £630 million in royalty income for research partners, enabling them to fund additional research.

Engine Shed signs up two more strategic tenants

A games incubator to strengthen the growing sector and a creative skills programme has been added to the Engine Shed offering in Bristol, the innovation hub at the heart of city’s Temple Quarter Enterprise Zone.

Game Boosters – a new, innovative, incubator setting up in Bristol, assisted by Engine Shed – is now seeking talented videogame developers looking for help them achieve success with their game development. Game Boosters breaks the traditional incubation business model and aims to become a leader in publishing, mentorship and incubation in Europe.

Boomsatsuma, currently based in one of the temporary Boxworks units, is taking on 1,000 square feet ft from September to run the first year of their post-16 ‘agency’ programme – a new course for young people offering entry level pathways into creative and high tech industries.

Nick Sturge, director of Engine Shed, commented “This is an exciting new development for us. Having previously hosted, and successfully helped, WebStart Bristol – the privately run internet accelerator – to become established, hosting another early-stage accelerator, this time in the games sector, gives us the opportunity to help this new initiative get a foothold in the city.

"To then also be able to host an innovative skills programme for young people, who can then fuel the growth of the games companies that Game Booster will create, completely fits with our mission.”

Fernando Ortega, CEO and founder of Game Boosters, said: “Engine Shed bring us an enormous opportunity to start our business in the UK. We know there´s a lot of talented developers that need help with the marketing, PR and publishing for their games and we want to help them with our incubation services and also give them better knowledge of different areas related with videogame development through our workshops and mentorship programs. Engine Shed provide their business knowledge and awesome facilities, for us and for developers, to succeed.”

Mark Curtis, creative director and co-founder of Boomsatsuma, added: “Working with Engine Shed has given us the perfect opportunity to meet the aspirations of young people by placing them at the heart of the Temple Quarter Enterprise Zone, growing as the area develops. Providing real opportunity and commercial immersion to inform their subsequent career choices.”

Game Boosters will be resident in Engine Shed from April and BoomSatsuma’s agency programme will be resident from September 2016.

Full house for Fareham

A purpose-built innovation centre in Hampshire is celebrating a “full house” – exactly 12 months after being launched.

Fareham Innovation Centre, which is run by innovation centres operator Oxford Innovation, is now 100% occupied.

Stephen Brownlie, Oxford Innovation's regional manager for the South, said: "The demand for the 24 offices and 15 workshops here at Fareham Innovation Centre has been phenomenal – we are two years ahead of schedule by way of occupancy levels.

"Everyone here has a spring in their step because of the buzzing entrepreneurial atmosphere. There is a strong case for additional, similar business space to be built in the vicinity because demand from incubator and growing business is so strong."

Many of the occupiers are from the marine, aviation, aerospace and engineering sectors, with a further 36 local businesses regularly using the drop-in facilities, including hired conference and meeting rooms.

Bayer and Hamburg University agree research collaboration

Bayer and the University of Hamburg have agreed to enter into a five-year research partnership aimed at jointly developing new, digital solutions for sustainable agriculture based on geoinformatics methods and models.

The project will leverage relevant geobasic data such as soil, climate, terrain and usage parameters for IT-based visualisation of the consequences of agricultural processes.

These models will help farmers all over the world make operational decisions, in particular in regard to selecting the right seed, the targeted use of crop protection agents and agricultural production inputs and appropriate scheduling of site-specific arable farming measures.

Precise weather and soil data are becoming increasingly important in modern agriculture to optimise crop-growing and the deployment of available agricultural resources, and are an important element for further minimizing harm to the environment and avoiding damage to adjacent natural ecosystems when farming agricultural land.