Future Space Resident 500 More receive Covid-19 Grant

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Future Space resident, 500 More Ltd has won a grant to work with Oxford Brookes University on an Artificial Intelligence (AI) development that monitors how you walk after having Covid-19.

How you walk (or gait) is an indicator of recovery from diseases such as Covid-19. The funding will enable the joint team to develop an app to analyse walking, allowing doctors to track how patients recover. The project utilises state of the art AI to objectively measure walking quality, a key health indicator.

500 More has been selected as one of a number of innovative start-up businesses to receive funding from Innovate UK, the UK’s innovation agency, to fast-track the development of innovations born out of the coronavirus crisis, while supporting the UK’s next generation of cutting-edge start-ups.

Greg Smart, CEO 500 More Digital said: “The DataGait project will help patients who are recovering from Covid-19 by giving them simple walking tasks to perform at home, allowing clinicians to track their recovery safely and remotely.

“This is a great example of our mission to drive purposeful digital innovation. Innovate UK funding will allow us to get this product in the hands of patients and doctors more quickly.”

Read the full story here.

Future Space is part of the University Enterprise Zone. They connect entrepreneurs and tech innovators with scientists, researchers and graduate talent – to spark collaboration, innovation and growth. Find out more here.

UWE Bristol launches Covid-19 recovery offering for businesses

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The University has put together an exciting package of support to help businesses grow and recover through these uncertain times. This includes a £1m Digital Innovation Fund, support for business transformation, and the UWE Business Network.

UWE Bristol is committed to helping businesses navigate through the Covid-19 crisis and beyond.  

Find out more and register here

The Digital Innovation Fund: UWE Bristol £1m Covid-19 Recovery Fund  

  • £1m fund open to SME businesses in any sector within the Bristol, Bath & North East Somerset, North Somerset or South Gloucestershire region looking to find digital solutions and innovate in response to Covid-19. 
  • Offers eligible businesses innovation grants from £10,000 to £40,000 to fund 35% of project costs. 
  • Application Deadline: 8 July 2020.  We will be announcing a 2nd round of funding soon.

Funding and support for small and large collaborative projects that help transform your business 

  • Tailored advice and support to help develop collaborative projects and funding applications.
  • Leadership and management practices; innovative business models; research and implementation; and technology development.

UWE Business Network 

  • Discounts on CPD courses 
  • Regular funding and community updates 
  • Innovation roundtables   
  • Networking events 

Pro Vice Chancellor for Research and Enterprise Martin Boddy commented: “UWE Bristol is delighted to open its Digital Innovation Fund, a £1m pot of grant funding to support businesses in the West of England to tackle new challenges caused by Covid-19.

 Alongside this, SMEs can also access a suite of funding and support for collaborative projects of any size. Our experienced and dedicated Business Development Team can help businesses shape projects and develop applications.

We are also launching the UWE Business Network, providing access to regular updates and events across all of the University’s business facing activities.

In a time of unprecedented change, UWE Bristol is proud of the role it can play to support the region’s SMEs in responding to the pandemic and financial crisis.

To find out more about the Digital Innovation Fund please see here. To find out more about everything else please see here.   

The Digital Innovation Fund funded by the European Regional Development Fund.


Notes to editors:

European Regional Development Fund:

The project (has received) £1,900,000 of funding from the England European Regional Development Fund as part of the European Structural and Investment Funds Growth Programme 2014-2020.  The Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government is the Managing Authority for European Regional Development Fund.

Established by the European Union, the European Regional Development Fund helps local areas stimulate their economic development by investing in projects which will support innovation, businesses, create jobs and local community regenerations.  For more information visit https://www.gov.uk/european-growth-funding.

West of England region: All organisations with a presence in Bristol, Bath, BANES and South Gloucestershire.

Introducing the Digital Innovation Fund: UWE Bristol’s £1m Covid-19 Recovery Fund

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In response to Covid-19, UWE Bristol is launching a Digital Innovation Fund to help businesses to innovate during these turbulent times. 

UWE’s Digital Innovation Fund provides business support and £1m in grants for small and medium sized business in the West of England. 

The scheme, funded by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF), offers eligible businesses innovation grants from £10,000 to £40,000 to fund 35% of project costs.

Grants are open to businesses in any sector that want to innovate and address new challenges that have arisen from Covid-19. Applicants must be small or medium sized enterprises (SMEs) and based in Bristol, Bath & North East Somerset, North Somerset or South Gloucestershire.

Deadlines for application: 8 July.

Apply now

Pro Vice Chancellor for Research and Enterprise Professor Martin Boddy commented: “UWE Bristol is delighted to open its Digital Innovation Fund, £1m  of grant funding to support businesses in the West of England to address  new challenges caused by Covid-19.

Any SME in the area that is undertaking a digital innovation or research and development project should consider applying. We are offering a sliding scale of grants, from £10k to £40k, so hopefully there is a funding option for a range of businesses – from start-ups and micro enterprises, to more established organisations. The application process is straightforward and UWE Bristol staff are available to provide hands-on support through a series of confidential 1:1 drop-in sessions.

Digital Innovation Fund follows on from previous successful grant funding schemes run by the University, which has given £2m of grants to thriving businesses in the West of England, creating over 150 new jobs and over 100 new products and services. We are looking forward to this new fund delivering similar benefits to the local economy, and helping individual SMEs to innovate and grow.

In a time of unprecedented change, UWE Bristol is proud of the role it can play to support the region’s SMEs in responding to the pandemic and financial crisis.

Now is the time to innovate.

The Digital Innovation Fund is funded by the European Regional Development Fund.


Notes to editors:

European Regional Development Fund:

The project (has received) £4,230,000 of funding from the England European Regional Development Fund as part of the European Structural and Investment Funds Growth Programme 2014-2020.  The Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government is the Managing Authority for European Regional Development Fund.

Established by the European Union, the European Regional Development Fund helps local areas stimulate their economic development by investing in projects which will support innovation, businesses, create jobs and local community regenerations.  For more information visit https://www.gov.uk/european-growth-funding.

West of England region: All organisations with a presence in Bristol, Bath, BANES and South Gloucestershire.

Success for virtual CPD course on an Introduction to Zero Carbon Buildings

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The Department of Architecture and the Built Environment within FET at UWE Bristol have seen great success in a recently launched CPD course on an “Introduction to Zero Carbon Buildings” designed and delivered by Patrick O’Flynn (BEng, MSc, FHEA).

Looking to continue to grow their established presence in this remit with the new Massive Open Online Course (MOOC), the course had over 750 applicants for the first iteration and drew a wide audience from the UK and internationally.

 Course Leader Patrick O’Flynn said “In times of such change, we wanted to ensure as a department we could support our industry to transition to a future that embraces Zero Carbon building design. Through offering this MOOC, it allowed both established and early career professionals an opportunity to develop their knowledge and engage with us as a department.”

Attendees came from across the construction industry including Architects, Building Services Engineers, Civil and Structural Engineers, Surveyors and well as those in other roles.

Delivered virtually, the course gave an introduction to a number of zero carbon factors including:

  • Building physics;
  • Renewable Energy & Green Technology;
  • Energy simulation
  • Human factors.

The course worked its way through the topic using weekly online session, preparation reading and follow up exercises to embed knowledge. The course worked its way through the topic using weekly online session, preparation reading and follow up exercises to embed knowledge.

Delegates could catch up in an online café space to discuss the topics covered further.

This course provided an opportunity as a taster session in a range of topics which UWE provides further opportunities to study at a deeper depth.

The next run for this course is confirmed for 12 June. Find out more about the course here.

UWE Bristol secure Management Knowledge Transfer Partnership with Harris Evolution

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UWE Bristol Knowledge Transfer Partnership (KTP) team have secured a new KTP with Harris Evolution, increasing the KTP portfolio to 13 live projects. The project will see Harris Evolution work with the UWE Bristol Business School (BBS).

The application, led by Ellen Parkes from UWE Bristol, was funded under Innovate UKs Management Knowledge Transfer Partnership (MKTP) scheme, which was announced in 2019 following a £25m pledge in funding over the next three years from BEIS (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy).

Based in Kingswood, Bristol, Harris Evolution is a commercial refurbishment company, specialising in quick turnaround projects carried out whilst the buildings are still in occupation. Harris’ work is targeted within three main sectors; Education, Healthcare and Hotel/Leisure.

The 24-month KTP project aims to implement transformational innovation through an Advanced Services approach to contract development and development of leadership capacity and will be led by Dr Kyle Alves , Dr Mel Smith and Professor Gareth Edwards (BBS). Through the collaboration with UWE, Harris will move from a standardised service offer to implementing outcome-based service contracts, tailored around individual customer value.

This partnership received financial support from the Knowledge Transfer Partnerships (KTP) programme. KTP aims to help businesses to improve their competitiveness and productivity through the better use of knowledge, technology and skills that reside within the UK knowledge base. This successful Knowledge Transfer Partnership project, funded by UK Research and Innovation through Innovate UK, is part of the government’s Industrial Strategy.

Find out more about KTP’s at UWE Bristol here .

Launch Space Resident secures funding for business from Deliveroo

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Callum Jenkins at The Big Pitch. Photo credit: Deliveroo

Launch Space resident Callum Jenkins has secured funding from Deliveroo after pitching his business idea to the company’s chief executive and founder.

Callum set up his own business ESNO Media, a commercial drone services company, in 2018 and has been based in Launch Space, part of the University Enterprise Zone since June 2019. Callum has been working as a courierfor food delivery service Deliveroo alongside running his own business.

Callum entered and was successful in securing funding from Deliveroo’s The Big Pitch, which enabled their riders to pitch their business ideas in a Dragons Den style competition.

Callum’s winning pitch focused on providing future Drone services in new sectors and combining this with new forms of technology such as AI and IoT.

Callum commented that The Big Pitchs investment will be hugely beneficial, enabling me to expand ESNO faster and develop our new concept.”

He says the Deliveroo funding will help him invest in “cutting-edge” software, take on specialists and utilise market-leading drones.

This, in turn, will help generate new revenue and expand the business into a technology-based drone company.

Callum also said how helpful being part of the Launch Space has been in terms of broadening his knowledge of technology, as a brilliant sounding board for his business and helped him towards his personal development as an entrepreneur.

Congratulations to Callum on this great achievement.


Located in the new £16m University Enterprise Zone on Frenchay Campus, Launch Space provides physical incubator space and enterprise support for graduate start-up businesses.

Launch Space will receive up to £2,000,000 of funding from the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF), as part of the European Structural and Investment Funds (ESIF) Growth Programme 2014-2020. The Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government (MHCLG) is the programme’s Managing Authority. Established by the European Union, the ERDF helps local areas stimulate their economic development by investing in projects that support innovation, businesses, job creation and local community regeneration.

Bristol Robotics Laboratory manufacture visors for NHS staff

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Original post appeared on UWE Bristol website.

Technicians at Bristol Robotics Laboratory (BRL) are using laser cutting technology to produce protective visors for NHS staff during the coronavirus pandemic.

A team are manufacturing an initial batch of 200 for staff working at Avon and Wiltshire Mental Health Partnership (AWP) NHS Trust. They plan to expand production with the support of 3D printing facilities and technicians across three UWE Bristol faculties.

The cleanable visors are being created using an approved design by University College London. The team also plans to manufacture surgical mask straps, which help prevent masks rubbing against the ears of clinical staff.

Gareth Griffiths, a Senior Engineering Manager in BRL’s Robotics Innovation Facility (RIF), said: “The trust approached us asking if we could supply PPE and we were very happy to use our facilities and expertise to help with their request.

“The visors can be made very quickly, with the manufacture process taking about two-and-a-half minutes for each visor. They are made from smooth laser-cut plastic so they can be easily cleaned and reused if necessary.”

Read the full post here.

UWE Researchers’ ‘Real Time’ Response to Covid-19

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Guest blog: Ben Mitchell, Research Impact Team

As a result of their expertise in Public Health, Emergency Medical Care, Knowledge Mobilisation, Maths and Computer Modelling, and other such related areas, a number of UWE researchers have been approached or volunteered in assisting with the country’s efforts to tackle Covid-19. A selection of these researchers can be found below. This is by no means an exhaustive list.

UWE Researchers and the Clinical Commissioning Groups

As part of UWE’s response to Covid-19, researchers from UWE have been working with the local Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCG) to provide evidence to support rapid decision making. The CCG are the people charged with making healthcare decisions locally and they are currently grappling with things such as: what do we need to do? where do we need to pool our resources? what types of treatment are needed? how do we need to respond? The local CCG includes healthcare providers in Bristol, North Somerset and South Gloucestershire.

Professor Nicki Walsh

Within the local CCG ‘cells’ have been established, acting as working groups purely in response to the impact that Covid-19 is having on current healthcare. Many issues have come up including: home monitoring of symptoms, impact on mental health and impact of healthcare workers’ absenteeism. These issues have come up as people look to manage problems most effectively and efficiently. The Research and Evidence Team at the CCG, along with Professor Nicki Walsh who works across UWE, the CCG and the Applied Research Collaborative (ARC-West) are working with the local commissioners to manage these requests. These important questions are then fed to the Applied Research Collaborative West team, who co-ordinate researchers from UWE and the University of Bristol, creating a rapid response team to retrieve and synthesise evidence, or provide other advice to support evaluation, healthcare modelling, statistics and economics.

The emphasis of this approach is the rapid turnaround system. Most requests are processed within 48 hours from the point of the CCG submitting a question, to the academic providing that support and reporting back to the CCG. Nicki is the overall co-ordinator at UWE for all this because of her work across the different partner organisations.

In place, there is now a good pool of UWE and UoB researchers ready to respond to calls for assistance as and when they come in. Nicki says the response from academics has been excellent and hugely encouraging:

“This service requires academics to work in such a different way. Because it’s quick and by necessity not as in depth as traditional evidence reviews. Traditionally things can often progress quite slowly, but it’s been a totally different response and things are getting turned around quickly”.

An example of the CCG requests came at the start of April, concerning the accuracy of self-monitoring heart rate, respiratory rate and oxygen saturation in patients with symptoms suggestive of COVID infection.  Other reviews that UWE researchers have been involved in include: the potential impact of COVID-19 on mental health outcomes and the implications for service solutions, Dr Faith Martin, and how to retain infection control amongst residents with dementia and a tendency to walk with purpose, Professor Rik Cheston.

Nicki explained in more detail how resources were best pooled:

“All academics involved have suggested what their skill set is so we have a really good idea who can do what. If it’s something incredibly specific like health economics for example, there may only be quite a small pool of people who can contribute to that. But for things like evidence synthesis most academics are able respond to these requests. The emphasis at the minute is ensuring that we’re able to provide good enough evidence to help with decision making in a rapid responsive way.”

Nicki also suggested how the work could benefit future collaborative research opportunities:

“I think it’s really innovative and supportive to our NHS colleagues. It also potentially creates further questions that could be researched later.”

The evidence syntheses are being regularly updated and are openly available here.

Professor Julie Mytton

Julie Mytton is a Professor of Child Health and a member of HAS’s Centre for Health and Clinical Research. She has specialised in public health research since 2006, with a particular interest in injuries and injury prevention. She is also a qualified medic.

Julie is one of many other UWE academics working with the Centre for Public Health and Wellbeing who are receiving calls for work from the CCG (via Nicki Walsh). She has also been in contact with University Hospitals Bristol NHS trust, and as a medic has joined their bank staff, providing clinical care support as and when needed.

Julie also noted that there is a Public Health Registrar, Alasdair Wood, based at UWE to offer further support.

Professor Jonathan Benger

Jonathan Benger, a Professor in Emergency Care and a Consultant in Emergency Medicine at the University Hospitals Bristol NHS Foundation Trust, has been released from his current clinical and academic duties, at the request of the National Medical Director, to assist in leading the national response to Coronavirus in his role as interim Chief Medical Officer at NHS Digital.

Professor Jo Michell

Jo Michell is an Associate Professor in Economics. His current research interests include macroeconomics, money and banking and income distribution. As soon as the nationwide lockdown was announced, Jo co-wrote a paper for the journal Autonomy outlining how “in order to cope with the increasingly severe reduction in economic activity in the UK, guaranteeing the incomes of all those who are eligible for in-work or out-of-work benefits is rapidly becoming a necessary policy lever.

This idea was picked up by John McDonnell (the then Shadow Chancellor), and it’s possible it may have played a role in influencing Rishi Sunak’s (the Chancellor) subsequent announcements. A follow up letter by Jo and 97 other economists was penned to The Times, and published on Monday 23rd March, “insisting that the government goes significantly further in its economic response to the Covid-19 crisis.”

Professor Matthew Jones

Matthew Jones is Associate Professor in Public Health. His research specialises in the contribution that third sector and civil society initiatives make towards promoting public health and wellbeing. Mat and other colleagues in the Centre for Public Health and Wellbeing (CPHWB) have authored a report entitled Apart but not Alone: Neighbour Support and the Covid-10 Lockdown.

Carried out in Bristol and the West Country between 6th-12th April 2020, over 500 respondents reported back on neighbourhood initiatives during lockdown restrictions. A whole range have sprung up in recent weeks: social media support groups, food and medication collections, telephone calls, Zoom chats, leafleting. Interestingly, many neighbourhood groups were already in place before formal local/national efforts had been mobilised.

Of those who responded, the overwhelming majority felt that neighbours were supporting each other well. Mat Jones et.al did note however contrasting answers from those based in areas of high social disadvantage, with an emphasis on such neighbours supporting people with financial difficulties, those with disabilities or mobility issues, and people without easy access to outdoor spaces.

Perhaps most noteworthy were the gender in-balance responses (80% female): “an important issue is whether the practical and emotional work of supporting neighbours is falling disproportionately on women.”

Professor Sue Durbin

Sue Durbin is Professor in Human Resource Management and is a member of the Centre for Employment Studies Research in FBL. Sue has researched and written on gender and employment, specialising in women who work in male dominated industries. She is a co-founder, along with Airbus, the Royal Air Force and the Royal Aeronautical Society, of the alta mentoring scheme, a bespoke industry-wide mentoring programme designed for women/by women. Mentors and mentees can connect to this mentoring platform online or in person.

It is within the context of Covid-19 that alta can be seen to play a crucial role, with existing and new members utilising its online tool. Indeed, the value of online mentoring has never been so important, as Sue explains:

“It may become a time for mentors and mentees to take stock of where they are in their careers and where they would like to go.

Mentors can therefore best be utilised via the alta platform, at a safe distance but offering comfort and advice to women who may be feeling especially isolated, vulnerable or lacking confidence if their roles have been furloughed. Or they may simply want to reach out and turn the current situation into a more positive one.

“During the current pandemic, the restrictions on movement and new ways of working remotely have resulted in a physical disconnect from family, friends and colleagues. For those who already have an established mentoring relationship, this can be a crucial source of support, facilitating an opportunity for both mentor and mentee to discuss concerns and keep connected during this unprecedented time.”

Knowledge Transfer Partnerships: Powerline Technologies Ltd Associate Spotlight

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Photo: UWE KTP Associate Minh Trang

Based in Bristol, Powerline Technologies Ltd deliver next generation Smart Grid distribution automation solutions to utilities and Distribution Systems/Network Operators (DSO/DNO) worldwide. Since starting in June 2019, the Knowledge Transfer Partnership with UWE Bristol has been working to create a novel simulator of electrical distribution assets for Smart Grid application development.

Minh Trang has been leading the project as the KTP Associate. We spoke to Trang, 9 months into the project to find out how she has found the KTP so far:

How long have you been a KTP Associate?

I started the role in June 2019 so I’ve almost been in the post for a year.

What attracted you to the KTP role?

I came from a PhD and what I liked about the KTP was the possibility of continuing to manage my own project whilst working for a local company with the potential to be employed with the company on completion. The KTP also offers great opportunities for continuing professional development alongside the project via the £4,000 development budget.

How is the partnership between UWE and the company working?

It’s been working really well. I’ve been learning a lot from UWE Power Systems Research Laboratory about algorithms and methods for analysing and driving the project and Powerline Technologies have been supporting me with the practical knowledge for running the project more efficiently.

What are the current challenges of your role?

The challenges have mostly been technical, ensuring the correct application of data, getting used to new software packages and determining the most effective models for the project. However, I have been supported by my company and academic supervisors throughout all of this, which I’m really grateful for.

What do you enjoy most about your job?

It would have to be the experience that I’m gaining in managing a challenging, real-life project, which I think is a vitally important skill for my future career plans.

What do you think about the support available from UWE and the Company?

It’s been great, my Academic Supervisor (Hassan Nouri) is really knowledgeable and has deepened my understanding of the field. I also feel really engaged with the team at Powerline and enjoy being part of their working environment.

To find out more about the Knowledge Transfer Partnership opportunities at UWE, visit our website


Knowledge Transfer Partnerships (KTPs) are funded by UKRI through Innovate UK with the support of co-funders, including the Scottish Funding Council, Welsh Government, Invest Northern Ireland, Defra and BEIS. Innovate UK manages the KTP programme and facilitates its delivery through a range of partners including the Knowledge Transfer Network (KTN), Knowledge Bases and Businesses. Each partner plays a specific role in the support and delivery of the programme.  

Grants 4 Growth: Receive funding for research collaboration projects with UWE Bristol

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The Grants 4 Growth programme (G4G) is an initiative which helps to fund projects worth up to £10,000 for businesses looking to collaborate with UWE Bristol researchers and access research facilities. It is a joint application process between the business and the academic staff at UWE Bristol.

The funding is available explicitly for projects that will help lead to deeper university-business collaboration, as it is sourced from the Government’s Industrial Strategy. Follow on projects could include Knowledge Transfer Partnerships (KTPs) and InnovateUK collaborative R&D calls.

Andy Ben-Dyke from LuJam Cyber talks about his experience with the scheme below:

The UWE project was a major milestone for LuJam Cyber. From a LuJam perspective, the work clearly identified issues with our approach to protecting small to medium sized business and helped us to pivot our solution to significantly better protect our customers. This has helped us stay in business and, in fact, thrive.  I cannot overstate how important this was for our company.

The UWE work was carried out in a timely and professional manner, and it was a pleasure to work with the team.  The approach taken throughout the project was innovative and far exceeded what we could have achieved in-house.  We’d strongly recommend this type of collaboration to other companies

This is an open call, therefore applications can be made to this funding all year round. However the decision making panel will review applications 4 times a year, so it is advisable to be aware of those timescales when liaising with the business you hope to work with. Completed applications should be sent 2 weeks before the decision panel meet.

If you’d like to find out more or would like help to be paired up with an academic, get in touch today Grants4Growth@uwe.ac.uk