Future Space responds to the ‘new world of work’

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Future Space responds to the ‘new world of work’ with launch of connected member option and newly appointed innovation manager.

Future Space, in the University Enterprise Zone (UEZ), has offices, workshops and lab-space for science and tech-based businesses, and has been explicitly designed to encourage innovation, collaboration and inspiration.

Future Space is redefining the workspace market with a new set of member packages and business support services, designed to meet the needs of SMEs for the post-Covid era.

With flexibility and added value at the heart of its new offering, the hub – renowned as a hot bed of innovation in the South West – will have a new affiliate membership option, called Connected, available from September.

The newly created connected membership has been designed to enable access into Future Space facilities and services for those businesses that don’t need a dedicated desk.

The package is designed to be a gateway to a more permanent presence at the centre. Members can take advantage of the networking spaces during the week, as well as the full range of Future Space business support services.

Businesses will also be able to make use of the valuable connection with the University of the West of England (UWE) community to benefit from academic resources and research functions. This will all be supported by a new member only website for firms to access the extensive list of opportunities available.

The new connected membership, member website and virtual in-residence initiative has been driven by Aimeé Skinner, newly appointed innovation manager for Future Space.

Aimeé joins Oxford Innovation, which operates Future Space on behalf of UWE, with several years’ corporate experience. Notably, she spent two years as innovation manager for Bristol Water where she was credited with developing and implementing the utility provider’s innovation agenda which included Robotic Process Automation.

Commenting on her appointment, Aimeé said: “I’m truly excited to be part of the Future Space team. It’s a challenging time for companies and I am focused on establishing new ways to support the business community through pioneering and creative applications.

“I have also been further developing my close contact with UWE to build mutually beneficial links and access to resources for our member companies, to foster new ways of working and drive future innovation.”

Read the full story here.

UWE Bristol named as one of Rate My Apprenticeship Top Training Providers

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UWE Bristol have been named as one of the top 50 apprenticeship providers in the Rate My Apprenticeship Awards. There are 2,141 apprenticeship providers registered with the government so it is a huge credit to the university to be ranked within the top 50.

The Rate My Apprenticeship Awards champion apprentices, schools, employers and training providers for their incredible efforts in the apprenticeship market. 

Head of Apprenticeships, Simon Flenley-Pond commented “We’re delighted that UWE Bristol has landed a spot in the Top 50 Apprenticeship Training Providers this year.  It’s a real testament to the quality of our provision and the hard work that is put in to support the needs of both apprentices and their employers. 

The Rate My Apprenticeship Awards are highly recognised in the sector, and it’s great that as a relatively new provider we have secured this accolade.  The awards are voted for directly by apprentices who are engaged in our delivery, so this helps give us the confidence that as an institution, we are providing high quality apprenticeship training to our learners.  The award also helps us to build our provision by giving assurance to existing and new employers in partnering with us for their apprenticeship training needs and staff development.

Find out more about Degree Apprenticeships at UWE Bristol here.

KTP Project with Viper Innovations Nominated for KTP Best of the Best Awards 2020

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UWE Bristol’s Knowledge Transfer Partnership with Viper Innovations (Portishead), which completed in 2018, has been nominated as one of three finalists in the Business Impact category for the KTP Best of the Best Awards 2020. To be considered for the award, an organisation must be able to demonstrate substantial ongoing impact from their KTP beyond the expectations as set out in their Partnership’s original KTP proposal.

The two-year project with Viper, undertaken by KTP Associate Kim Mahoney, identified and directed the market opportunities and priorities of the company as part of their business diversification into new sectors: rail, airports, power and communications. The project was focused specifically on the company’s newly launched CableGuardian™ product. With academic expertise from Tim Hughes (Bristol Business School) and Tracy Hunt-Fraisse (Bristol Business School) the team identified penetrable markets and worked to increase product awareness within them. The learning and outputs from the KTP have formed the basis in scoping Viper’s diversification strategy for its CableGuardian product and services for the next 5 years and the financial impact is set to be very impressive.

Neil Douglas (Director, Viper Innovations) noted “Viper Innovations is absolutely delighted that this KTP has been recognised with this nomination. The success was largely due to the commitment by all parties and the quality and ability of the Academic Supervisor and the KTP Associate, coupled with a highly focussed scope of work that was a key element of the growth strategy of Viper Innovations.” UWE and Viper have continued to collaborate and have since secured funding for a second KTP project, which started in June 2020.

The winner of the award will be announced on 09 September 2020.

Future Space celebrates £1.3m funding for companies driving innovation

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Original post appeared on Business Leader.

Businesses based at UWE Bristol’s science and tech hub Future Space are celebrating the award of Innovate UK funding designed to help companies continue innovation and development activities through the coronavirus crisis.

£1.3m funding has been secured by resident businesses in the last three months, supported by the Future Space team.

Future Space businesses securing Innovate UK coronavirus grants, created by the Government to support businesses driving innovation and development, include biodevice tech IP specialist BiotIP; digital experts 500More; pioneers in Cyber-Physical Operating Systems Indus Four; software solutions provider HBXL, mass spectrometry experts Mass Spec Analytical; 3D scanning and software engineering firm OR3D; and eco technology provider to the transport and aviation industries Intercede Ventures.

In addition, transport solutions innovator Esoterix was one of 25 organisations to snap up a share of a £9.4m pot offered by the Department of Transport and delivered by Innovate UK in its 2020 First of a Kind (FOAK) competition, which encourages innovation in the rail industry.

The £370,000 grant has enabled Esoterix to recruit four new members of staff to support with the project which will be completed by the end of March 2021.

Meanwhile, Service Robotics, the company behind GenieConnect®, the companion robot that helps older adults live independently in their homes through voice-enabled face-to-face video support, successfully completed a second seed funding round amounting to £600k.

Future Space returned to full operation for all companies on 29 June and maintained access throughout the lockdown period for its lab-based businesses to enable vital research to continue uninterrupted.

The team worked closely with UWE Bristol at the start of lockdown to put in place a support package for all companies.

All companies also received three months’ 50% rent reduction and access to UWE Bristol’s Summer Internship scheme.

Service Robotics and another Future Space business Healcerion EMEA have appointed fully funded interns for the summer as part of the scheme designed to create employment opportunities during the challenging Covid period.

Future Space is managed by Oxford Innovation (OI) on behalf of the University of the West of England (UWE), and offers a range of office space, shared and dedicated laboratories, workshops and coworking facilities designed specifically for high-tech, science based entrepreneurs and innovators.

Future Space centre director Laura Crocken Stevens said: “It’s testament to the pioneering work ongoing here at Future Space that these innovation-driven grants and funding have been received by our customers and we look forward to seeing what the next phase brings.

“We have been focused on assisting all our resident businesses through lockdown. Every company has a different story to tell. For our lab customers it was essential for us to maintain access to Future Space to continue important research work and others needed assistance to take advantage of Government support measures.”

Professor Martin Boddy, pro vice-chancellor for research and enterprise at UWE Bristol and a key founder of Future Space commented: “There’s no doubt that Covid-19 has created unexpected challenges, with the situation still evolving. Future Space businesses have, however, shown great resilience in the face of these challenges and continue to innovate and grow.

“These funding awards are great news and we look forward to seeing the emergence of ground-breaking work as a result. Future Space has become synonymous with excellence in innovation, demand for our space and facilities remains buoyant and we look forward to continuing growth and development.”
Future Space is managed by Oxford Innovation (OI) on behalf of the University of the West of England, Bristol (UWE), and offers a range of office space, shared and dedicated laboratories, workshops and co-working facilities designed specifically for high-tech, science based entrepreneurs and innovators.
The hub last year posted record results, with over £9 million of regional Gross Value Added (GVA) in its third year of operation.

Read the full story here

Future Space resident Homelync joins forces with Aico to expand market leading social landlord Internet of Things platform

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Homelync, who started in the Bristol Robotics Laboratory (BRL) Hardware Incubator before graduating to Future Space, have been acquired by Aico.

Homelync are an award-winning, innovative technology firm that specialise in smart home integration and analytics technology. With industry-leading expertise in the Internet of Things (IoT), software development and integration, the Homelync team are at the forefront of this progressive market. Homelync have widely rolled out integrated IoT solutions for social landlords across the UK to help them tackle challenges associated with cost savings, maintenance efficiency, decarbonization, tenant safety, fuel poverty, and social care. This is done by leveraging an ecosystem of leading IoT devices including temperature, humidity, CO2, fire safety, water leak, boilers, and energy.

Aico is the UK market leader in domestic Fire and Carbon Monoxide protection, pioneering new technologies and offering high quality Fire and Carbon Monoxide alarms. Known for their focus on education, quality, service and innovation they are the premium brand in social housing. After the successful roll out of their popular SmartLINK Gateway, and due to customer demand, they have ambitious plans to expand further into the social housing Internet of Things (IoT) and connected home market.

This acquisition represents a significant step forward for IoT in social housing at a time when the market has recently seen significant growth. The acquisition gives landlords the opportunity to invest in IoT over a longer term investment cycle by providing an additional layer of confidence that couples Homelync’s innovation with the resources of a well-established brand that is trusted in the sector. Aico’s heritage of 30 years standing provides great strength for all landlords.

Read the full story here. The BRL Hardware Incubator and Future Space are 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.

Future Space resident, Mass Spec Analytical, Receives Innovate UK Funding for Plasma Ion Source Research

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Future Space resident Mass Spec Analytical, announced today that it has received additional funding from Innovate UK to pursue its Plasma Ion Source Development work.

Mass Spec Analytical (MSA) received the award through the Analysis for Innovators Competition where the aim is to help companies overcome intractable product, manufacturing or process performance problems through advanced measurement and analytical technologies.

Mass Spec Analytical specialises in the development of versatile direct-analysis ion sources for substance identification using mass spectrometry.

MSA was awarded a further grant under the COVID-19: Continuity Grants initiative to provide additional support to the project, ensuring that the challenges presented by the current pandemic and lock down of key facilities would have as little impact as possible.

Lance Hiley, MSA Managing Director commented: “The Analysis for Innovators (A4I) programme has provided our business with access to experts and equipment in laboratories recognised worldwide for analysis and measurement”

“That is invaluable to a company like ours developing innovative products. Our project had just got underway when the Covid-19 Lockdown was announced, and our plans delayed. The Covid-19 Continuity Grant has provided us with additional funds to develop workarounds with our Innovate measurement partner and implement alternative approaches to the workplan. The structure of the grant also ensures that the additional funds will pay for a legacy in our business in the years to come.”

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.

Launch Space graduate incubator recruiting now

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Have you graduated from a UK University in the last five years and have a business idea you’d like to put into action?

Launch Space provides free desk space and business support for graduate-led, innovative and high-tech businesses at various stages on the start-up journey. Launch Space is offering their business support package virtually, whilst the desk space is made safe for working.

Launch Space is part of a wider entrepreneurial community based on our Frenchay Campus in our University Enterprise Zone, housing the Future Space flexible workspace; the Bristol Robotics Laboratory and the Health Tech Hub – making it a great environment for graduate start-ups to flourish.

Since opening in 2017, Launch Space has supported over 100 businesses, with over £4.2 million funds raised by its residents and employment created for more than 120 people.

Launch Space is now well established in the regional start-up community, and is recognised for its unique ability to connect start-ups with the support and collaboration of the wider university and business communities.

Find out more and apply today to grow your start-up business.

If you have any questions, please get in touch via email: launchspace@uwe.ac.uk or call +44 (0)117 3286168.

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 .

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.