UWE Researchers test driverless pods at The Mall Cribbs Causeway

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Adapted from this UWE Bristol news article.

Researchers from the Centre for Transport and Society and the Bristol Robotics Laboratory (BRL) at UWE Bristol are currently partners on the Capri Project, the first UK project to trial driverless pods on public roads.

From 20th – 25th January, the driverless pods were at The Mall, Cribbs Causeway transporting members of the public, enabling them to experience connected and autonomous vehicles (CAVs) and understand how they might operate in the future.

Capri is a consortium comprising 17 partners, including lead organisation AECOM, South Gloucestershire Council and UWE Bristol. The Capri trial is the first in the UK without this level of supervision, inviting members of the public to turn up and travel alone in the autonomous pod.

The research used in this trial will help reduce potential barriers limiting the uptake of commercially ready autonomous vehicle services. This also includes overcoming technical challenges, raising public awareness and ensuring sustainable integration into the wider transport systems. This pilot will support the local and UK economy by helping regional and national businesses become more competitive in a growing international market.

Read the full article here.

Knowledge Transfer Partnerships: B-hive Innovations Associate Spotlight

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Photo: (L-R) Dr Robin Thorn (UWE), Barbara Dos Santos Correia (UWE), Mark Wilcox (Branston Ltd), Vee Gururajan (B-hive Innovations)

Based in Lincoln, our Knowledge Transfer Partnership with B-hive Innovations is our longest distance project. Despite this the project, which is now halfway through its two years, continues to move from strength to strength led by our KTP Associate Barbara dos Santos Correia.

This ground breaking KTP is investigating gases emitted by fresh produce and aims to develop a marketable solution for early detection of internal defects, which will ultimately improve crop utilisation and reduce food waste. We caught up with Barbara to find out how she has found the experience so far.

How long have you been a KTP Associate?

I started in January 2019.

What attracted you to the KTP role?

I was fascinated by the project and the option to work in industry with all the academic support. Having access to a £4,000 personal development budget is also great.

How is the partnership between UWE and the company working?

It’s working very well, and I think that’s down to the constant and open communication across the team. The benefits of this knowledge transfer are clear, both between B-hive Innovations and UWE and the knowledge and experience I am gaining.

What are the current challenges of your role?

I’d say the main challenge is translating complex academic knowledge into an industrial solution. But my supervisors Dr Robin Thorn and Professor Darren Reynolds at UWE and Vee Gururajan and Claudia Celemin Pardo at the company are really supportive and we tackle the challenges together.

What do you enjoy most about your job?

No two days are the same! It’s really motivating to know that every day I am leading a project that will potentially solve a real and significant industrial problem.

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

The support I have from UWE and B-hive Innovations is incredible and so much better than I was expecting in my first industrial experience. UWE offers a wide range of expertise and facilities and B-hive Innovations provides the invaluable personnel and confidential information. I feel like the partnership really represents a competitive advantage within the industry.

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. 

 

UK first as Bristol & Bath region creates programme to increase investment into successful start-up community

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Launching today (14/01/2020), UWE Bristol will partner with TechSPARK to deliver a pioneering programme to help catalyse investment into  fast-growing startups in Bristol, Bath and the West of England. The programme is the first of its kind in the UK and will launch activities to increase the flow of money into the area and showcase the region as a leading start-up hub.

The Investment Activator Programme (IAP) will begin as a 2 year pilot bringing together 8 public and private sector organisations who recognise the impact of working collaboratively to strengthen the ecosystem and jointly deliver activity. 

In the last few years Bristol has seen a dramatic rise in the level of investment into the city’s businesses and in 2019 outperformed the likes of Dublin, Zurich, Amsterdam, Oxford and Brussels. However there’s still a long way to go before the regions can compete with more traditional investment hubs like London where over $8.2bn raised this year versus $418m locally.

Investment Activator Briony Phillips said “According to the UKBAA, we have the third largest community of angel investors (early stage) in the UK, behind London and the South East. And yet 85% of the angel investment from our region goes into the golden triangle of London, Cambridge and Oxford.” 

“Little do they know that Graphcore and Ovo Energy are Bristol-grown unicorns, and Ultrahaptics, Blu Wireless, Immersive Labs and Open Bionics are just a few examples of real power-hitters when it comes to raising investment and making their mark on the global tech scene. The Investment Activator programme will add some much-needed capacity to help solve this challenge.”

The programme will build on some of the work done by TechSPARK and Engine Shed by expanding on the successful Silicon Gorge pitch competition which has worked with over 250 companies pitching for over £150 million between them, and the Quarterly Investment Briefing (QIB) events, which has  brought together over 300 investors to network, share knowledge and learn about potential investment opportunities.

The IAP has three areas of delivery – Events / Content and Community / Data and Connections – with the core objectives being:

  • To accelerate and catalyse the investment ecosystem 
  • To make investment support more accessible for founders
  • To build the network of investors and founders or leaders locally

The programme will deliver over 30 targeted investment events, articles and tools to support founders raising money. It will offer a relationship management programme to build connections with investors across the UK and showcase the opportunities in the West on a national stage.  

Tracey John, Director of Business and Innovation at UWE Bristol says: “We are really excited to be supporting the new Investment Activator Programme. The start-up ecosystem in the West of England needs initiatives that bring startups and early stage companies together with investors; investors who not only provide access to funds, but also offer real business experience that is invaluable to any early stage growth company. We have over 85 high tech businesses in the University Enterprise Zone at our Frenchay Campus and are excited to see the IAP support their growth.”

Other specialist partners for the programme include Delaware (enterprise software), Engine Shed (economic development), Rocketmakers (Venturetech), Sanderson (talent), Smith & Williamson (accounting), TLT (legal) & the West of England Combined Authority (Business Support). 

What is a Knowledge Transfer Partnership?

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Knowledge Transfer Partnerships have been helping UK businesses innovate and grow for over 40 years and are one of a range of funding initiatives made available through Innovate UK (the UK government’s Innovation Agency).  

Linking businesses with an academic or research organisation and a graduate, a KTP enables a business to bring in new skills and the latest academic thinking to deliver a specific, strategic innovation project through a knowledge-based partnership.

The academic or research organisation partner will help to recruit a suitable graduate, known as an Associate. They will act as the employer of the graduate, who then works at the company for the duration of the project.

A short video explaining Knowledge Transfer Partnerships and the benefits they could have for your business

The scheme can last between 12 and 36 months, depending on what the project is and the needs of the business.

All of the knowledge gained during this time is embedded in the business, providing a valuable base to build on long after the project has finished. (A very high percentage of Associates are retained as employees, demonstrating the value they bring to the business).

Knowledge Transfer Partnerships can benefit businesses of any size and in any sector looking to address a core strategic challenge.

For more information or to view case studies please visit the Government webpages on KTPs.

Knowledge Transfer Partnership news:

Management KTP (MKTP) – Innovate UK have announced there is additional funding available for Management KTPs. The focus is to increase management skills and embed management strategies into your business. For more information visit our website or contact us on KTP@uwe.ac.uk

KTN have launched a new website, where you can discover more about KTP and potential associate vacancies as well as access the latest information on the Management KTPs

UWE Bristol awards grants to local businesses as part of Scale up 4 Growth Initiative

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Scale Up 4 Growth (S4G) is a free programme of support, being delivered by UWE Bristol, NatWest and Foot Anstey, for businesses in the West of England that are looking to grow, expand and scale. As part of this ERDF funded programme, 27 successful businesses have been awarded grants ranging between £10k and £40k to help their businesses grow.

Since launching last year nearly 350 businesses have registered for S4G support, which also includes fully funded workshops and 1-to-1 expertise. The companies who applied for S4G grant funding were rigorously assessed through a competitive process. The 27 selected businesses received grants totalling £800,000.

The successful businesses have come from a big range of sectors and areas including digital, data, health tech, waste, recycling, media, microelectronics, b2b, social enterprise, as well food and drink businesses. The list ranges from an award-winning, independent, artisan bakery and café, to a company who have developed the world’s first chemical-free pool filter

Find out more about the Scale Up 4 Growth programme and hear from some of the businesses that were successful in receiving grants

See the website for the list of all successful businesses.

Programme Director, Tracey John commented:

“Scale Up 4 Growth is the in region to support the businesses that need some help to grow. It’s been great to work with the successful businesses that have got some exciting growth plans but just need that extra little bit of support that the University can give. Working with NatWest and Foot Anstey as partners on this programme has been fantastic and they have been hugely supportive throughout.”

Director Commercial Banking at NatWest, Matt Hatcher commented:

“NatWest has thoroughly enjoyed working with UWE and Foot Anstey on the S4G programme, helping SMEs get access to quality coaching, knowledge and funding to support their ambitious growth plans”.

Partner at Foot Anstey, Nathan Peacey commented:

“Foot Anstey have found the S4G programme both inspiring and rewarding”

The successful businesses met for the first time at a celebration event held at UWE Bristol’s University Enterprise Zone on Wednesday 23 October. The breakfast event gave the businesses the opportunity to meet other successful businesses and share what the money means to them.

The Scale Up 4 Growth team continue to work with the successful businesses. To find out more about potentially funding opportunities and how we could help your business sign up to the Research, Business and Innovation newsletter from UWE Bristol or email uwebusiness@uwe.ac.uk

To find out more about S4G please visit the website.

Notes to Editors:

Scale Up 4 Growth will receive up to £1,200,000 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.

Women Researchers Mentoring Scheme (WRMS)

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The Women Researchers Mentoring Scheme (WRMS) aims to promote and facilitate professional development for women researchers working at UWE Bristol, helping them reach senior research roles.

Applications for the 2020/21 scheme are now open and will close on Wednesday 15 January 2020 at 5pm.

The scheme is open to all women in academic and research roles, employed by UWE, who wish to develop their careers.

The benefits of being involved in the scheme by becoming a mentor or mentee could assist your development and progression. The scheme will entail a nominated woman researcher being matched to a mentor, who can be a woman or man. Training will be provided to all new participants. The application deadline is Wednesday 15 January 2020.

How to apply
Applications are now invited for both mentors and mentees. For access to the online application system, please email the Scheme Co-ordinator, Fiona Watt

Outcomes will be notified to applicants by early March 2020.

A half-day workshop will be run which is compulsory for mentees and highly encouraged for mentors as part of the scheme. This is a vital opportunity for all those participating in the scheme to network with each other, learn about the importance of women progressing in research roles and the support available, and share experiences and ideas.

In your application, please select whether you would like to apply for the afternoon session on Tuesday 3 March 2020 or the morning session on Thursday 12 March 2020.

Further details of the workshops will be notified to applicants who are matched for mentoring relationships running in 2020-21.

Knowledge Transfer Partnerships: Craven Dunnill Jackfield Associate Spotlight

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[Photo (L-R): David Huson (UWE), Richard Lamb (Innovate UK), Jed Leonard-Hammerman (UWE), Dr Russ Bromley (Knowledge Transfer Network]

UWE Bristol are currently working on a twenty-seven month Knowledge Transfer Partnership (KTP) with Craven Dunnill Jackfield. Founded in 1872, Craven Dunnill Jackfield (CDJ) has since produced ceramic wall and floor tiles in the oldest surviving purpose-built tile factory in the world, based in Ironbridge.

The KTP will introduce a range of 3D digital fabrication technologies to innovate the design and modelling process for specialist ceramic tile production and architectural restorations. We spoke to Jed Leonard-Hammerman, who is the KTP Associate leading the project:

What attracted you to the KTP role?

Lots of things, but mostly the opportunity to work with a university whilst gaining paid experience with a company.

How is the partnership between UWE and the company working?

Really well! We meet monthly to discuss progress and I spend most of my time at the Company but visit UWE about once a month to use the facilities and catch up with my Supervisor. It’s great working alongside and learning from the experts at both UWE and Craven Dunnill Jackfield.

What are the current challenges of your role?

Implementing ideas that have never been tested is quite daunting but also really exciting!

What do you enjoy most about your job?

I love managing the project, having the freedom to direct it and plan how my time is spent as well as the budget. I get to visit a lot of trade shows and exhibitions and enjoy speaking to industry representatives about applying their technology to the ceramics industry.

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

It’s great! My project is split into three elements (3D printing and CAD/ceramics/finance and project management) and I get all the support I need from my Academic Supervisor, the team at CDJ and the KTP Team at UWE. I’ve also had a lot of extra support from the Centre for Fine Print Research at UWE, particularly Walter Guy who has given up his time to show me how to use technical equipment. 

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

UWE Alumni and Launch Space Residents achieve TV commercial success with animated advert

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Two MA Animation alumni, Hend Youssef Esmat and Lamiaa Diab, who set up their own animation business and are now based in Launch Space, have had their work used in an MG car TV advert.

Originally from Cairo, the duo graduated from UWE in 2018 before moving into Launch Space in February. Hend and Lamiaa’s MA graduation film “Flipped” is currently being shown on the Festival Circuit and has been screened at over 30 festivals worldwide including Anima (Brussels), Pictoplasma (Berlin), ITFS(Stuttgart), NYICFF (NYC), LIAF (London). It won Best Short Animation at the Overcome Film Festival as well as being nominated for a Lotte Reiniger Award.

The directing duo specialise in stylised design and animation services for businesses, charities and broadcasters.

In July, the pair were approached by Limegreen Tangerine to work on a TV project for MG cars. Hend commented on the experience “It was quite rewarding to be trusted to create the designs and animation for such a big project. We found the brief very exciting and challenging, as we have never applied our design and animation style in a commercial context before. Also mixing our 2D style with the 3D animation of the car is something we had to experiment with and had to make different tests until we reached a final look which fit both styles together.” You can view the advert here.

Lamiaa commented on their experience in of Launch Space so far “We are extremely grateful to have been offered the opportunity to come back to Bristol after graduation, and to be provided with guidance and support to develop our business and grow our networks.”

You can keep up to date with Hend and Lamiaa’s work here and follow them on Twitter here.

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.

Knowledge Transfer Partnerships: ExtraCare Associate Spotlight

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[Photo L-R: Dr Geraint Jones (Innovate UK), Alex Sleat (UWE Bristol), Shirley Hall (ExtraCare), Professor Praminda Caleb-Solly (UWE Bristol) attending the quarterly review meeting at Bristol Robotics Lab]

UWE Bristol has been working on a Knowledge Transfer Partnership (KTP) with ExtraCare Charitable Trust. Based in Coventry, with a village in Stoke Gifford, ExtraCare runs retirement villages and housing developments and currently has almost 4,000 homes available for older people.

This KTP aims to develop expertise in smart living technologies, such as intelligent sensing and socially assistive robots. The project aims to explore what technologies are capable of improving service provision, increasing productivity, generating revenue and upskilling staff. We spoke with Alex Sleat who has been leading the project as the KTP Associate:

What attracted you to the KTP role?

I’ve been a researcher in academia for some time, so it was interesting for me to get to see lab research being utilised in the outside environment. The KTP partnership between UWE and ExtraCare is a great opportunity for this.

How is the partnership between UWE and Extracare working?

The partnership is going well, there’s a good level of communication between the two partners, and a lot of additional activity towards finding opportunities for future collaboration.

What are the current challenges of your role?

The main reoccurring challenge is finding technology that fits into people’s lifestyles, trying to figure out how technology will work for an individual and then conducting research around their busy schedules and in their own homes. Getting people to try new technology is always tricky, so it’s important that explanations are simple and the technology is bespoke enough to prove beneficial.

What do you enjoy most about your job?

Sometimes it’s obvious to see the positive effects of new technologies. Often technology that might have been overlooked, because it’s not directly designed for a purpose, has a huge impact and allows people to improve their day-to-day lives, wellbeing, health and independence. I spend a lot of time inside the retirement village, so have enjoyed getting to know the residents and watching the community grow.

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

Both UWE and ExtraCare have made me feel part of the group, and support and guidance from both sides has been tremendous when I’ve needed it.

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