University reaffirmed as leading collaborator with industry and public sector

September 27th, 2023

Nottingham has again been reaffirmed as one of England’s leading universities for working collaboratively with industry and the public sector and the commercialisation of Intellectual Property (IP), as part of our mission to share knowledge and expertise for the benefit of all.  

Research England’s Knowledge Exchange Framework (KEF) is a survey of how universities work with external partners for the benefit of the economy and society. 

The third update, (KEF3), further demonstrates the university’s commitment to knowledge exchange with our partners and collaborators across seven areas, including working with partners ranging from big businesses to small local firms, commercialisation of our IP and working with the public and third sectors.  

Professor Sam Kingman, interim Pro-Vice-Chancellor for Research and Knowledge Exchange said: “The results of KEF3 reconfirm Nottingham’s excellence in knowledge exchange and the vital role we play in supporting innovation, addressing global challenges, and driving local economic growth. I am pleased to see that we have scored highly on public and community engagement, ensuring our audiences are aware and able to be involved in what we are doing embodies the spirit of KEF. 

“The KEF results, however, can only tell part of the story and are made up on the back of hundreds of projects delivered by UoN colleagues from working with global firms like Rolls-Royce, Siemens and GSK to develop zero carbon transport and new therapeutics to supporting inclusive communities in our city in our pioneering Universities for Nottingham partnership.  

“Our recent investment in Castle Meadow as well as our work with the East Midlands Freeport and Investment zone demonstrate our commitment to ensure our KE delivers tangible benefits to the people of the region.”  

Working with business

Data from KEF3 confirms that the university is among the very best in the country for working with business. We support thousands of businesses every year from large organisations like KPMG to SMEs such as Nottingham-based, Added Scientific Limited.   

Working together with KPMG to support and drive economic growth and close the digital skills gap across the East Midlands, we are partnering our specialists from the university’s Data-Driven Discovery Initiative (3Di) on advanced data analytics. KPMG will develop new research and provide insight that will enhance data and analytics services for businesses.  This project has ambitions to transform Nottingham through data science, technology, and innovation.   

Added Scientific Limited (ASL), an established spin-out from the university, is an independent additive manufacturing and 3D printing contract research company providing consultancy, problem-solving and lab-based technical services.  Supported by expertise from our Centre of Additive Manufacturing, this Knowledge Transfer Partnership will enable ASL to develop a disruptive method to tackle complex problems when creating scalable engineering-grade, silicone materials for additive manufacturing. 

Our state-of-the-art Power Electronics and Machines Centre (PEMC) underlines the commitment of the university to work with our industry partners and accelerate the delivery of solutions to climate challenges, with PEMC awarded a share of £28.5m from Driving the Electric Revolution, part of the Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund from UK Research and Innovation (UKRI).

In 2022, we launched the Zero Carbon Cluster (ZCC), convening a group of leading researchers to harness intradisciplinary research and accelerate the translation of zero-carbon research into real-world commercial and policy solutions.  

Pairing innovative technology with world-leading research expertise in engineering, natural and social sciences, and the arts, the ZCC actively engages with business and government partners to align early research priorities to ensure sustainable solutions can be rolled out at scale and pace.  

The ZCC has begun its work toward these goals by launching two ‘pathways’ within the zero-carbon transport space. These pathways, electrification and hydrogen propulsion solutions, seize upon the university’s research strengths and the opportunities to connect with industries in need of commercial solutions. 

This year, we announced our new Castle Meadow Campus which will be a vibrant hub inspiring transformation and cultivating innovation, and where teaching, research, and practice converge.

It will allow us to bridge academia and industry, offering valuable insights and collaboration opportunities, as well as creating synergies with companies including KPMG and Browne Jacobson around placements and employment opportunities for students. 

Commercialisation of Intellectual Property

We use our research expertise, knowledge and inventions to help companies to innovate, improve business performance and enter new markets, including by creating our own spin-out companies to develop new technologies. 

The university has more than 250 live licence deals with industry, with more than half of these deals being secured with small to medium enterprises.  

This year our spin-out portfolio continued to grow, with four new companies (Reactive Fusion Ltd, PERFORMS Assessment, Peptimatrix and Theragenix) formed in the past year.

The portfolio now consists of 32 companies, with applications across areas such as pharmaceuticals and biotech, cleantech and additive manufacturing. Nottingham Technology Ventures (NTV), a subsidiary of the university, manages the portfolio, as well as investments made from the university’s £5m Invention Fund.  

The potential for impact generation by the university’s spin-outs is highlighted by the recent news coverage of the NeuPulse device, developed by Neurotherapeutics Ltd, which aims to help people living with Tourette’s to manage their symptoms.  

Working with the public and third sector

As part of our Universities for Nottingham initiative – which brings together the combined strength of Nottingham’s two world-class universities and underlines our civic mission and commitment to work with local partners – we are working across a number of areas to improve prosperity, opportunity, sustainability, health and wellbeing for our communities. 

Col(l)aboratory is just one of our pioneering projects. The eight-year, £5.1m project aims to bring together researchers, community-focussed organisations, and local people to deliver meaningful change for the people of Nottingham and Nottinghamshire. 

The Haydn Green Institute for Innovation and Entrepreneurship forges partnerships with the public and third sector through initiatives such as the Ingenuity Programme and the charter for inclusive entrepreneurship. 

Our university and Nottingham Lakeside Arts play a leading role in supporting the cultural, sporting and artistic activities that enrich lives, and knowledge shared by our researchers has informed some of the region’s most significant exhibitions and public engagement events. 

The Institute for Policy and Engagement supports our academics in reaching new audiences and communities, deepening the reach and impact of their research.  Nottingham discoveries have informed legislation affecting every UK citizen, from road safety to protecting consumers to keeping children safer online 

KEF’s interactive website includes a dashboard where the University of Nottingham’s sector-leading performance can be viewed alongside those of other universities.  

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