Manchester University wins EPSRC knowledge transfer challenge

Materials World magazine
1 Jan 2007

The University of Manchester has beaten off competition from several other UK universities to win the final of a Dragon's Den style competition.

Hosted at the Institution of Civil Engineers, London, UK, on 21 November 2006, the EPSRC's inaugural Knowledge Transfer (KT) Challenge awards focused on innovative approaches to turning current research into future products and services. The competition was launched earlier this year to celebrate examples of knowledge transfer from the academic world into industry and the public sector.

The EPSRC originally invited over 50 universities to enter the KT Challenge to demonstrate the best investment for the prize money and show the judging panel that they had novel ideas for understanding future knowledge transfer activity.

In the final were Aston University - improving the effectiveness and cutting the cost of wound care, the University of Edinburgh - spearheading innovation in electronics, the University of Leeds - mobility units for detection of counterfeit banknotes, the University of Manchester - advances in communication between computer systems, and Newcastle University - tackling pollution legacies of disused mines.

Congratulating the winners, Alistair Darling, Secretary of State for Trade and Industry, says, ‘The high calibre of the five finalists shows the tremendous strength of UK research in engineering and the physical sciences.

He adds, ‘The winners have a proven track record in taking their research all the way through to developing viable businesses, which is exactly the kind of work we want to encourage.

The winning university received £500,000 and an EPSRC CASE award worth more than £60,000. This provides funding for a student to work in partnership with industry for three and a half years to turn the proposed projects into reality.

The runners-up each received £100,000, which will be used to pursue their proposal for the competition.

The panel of judges included Lord Alec Broers, Chair of the House of Lords Select Committee for Science and Technology, Dr Catherine Beech, DTI Technology Strategy Board, Dr David Clark, Chair of EPSRC User Panel, Professor Peter Grindrod, President of the Institute of Mathematics, and Dr Randal Richards, Director of Research and Innovation at EPSRC.

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