New funding to tackle research ‘valley of death’

The University of Nottingham has been awarded £2.6m of funding to turn its best science research into successful businesses — part of a £60m investment in UK universities to create thriving companies, boost industrial collaboration and foster entrepreneurship.

The funding will tackle the so-called ‘valley of death’ between promising research results and projects which are a viable commercial proposition for investment. Business Secretary Vince Cable announced the launch of these Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) Impact Acceleration Accounts earlier today.

The award will also be used to fund secondments for scientists and engineers to spend time in a business environment: improving their knowledge and skills and returning to the lab with a better understanding of the way companies operate and the challenges they face. It will also be used to support the further development of intellectual property arising from research funded by the EPSRC at Nottingham.

The University already has an excellent track record in ‘spinning out’ promising EPSRC-funded research into successful businesses. Companies such as Promethean Particles, Monica Healthcare, Critical Pharmaceuticals and Regentec all started life as Nottingham research projects and have proven their worth in markets as diverse as healthcare, nanoscience, pharmaceuticals and tissue regeneration.

“The Impact Acceleration Account Funding will be used over the next three years to build on this success, ensuring that the University’s brightest minds and our most promising research ideas get the support required to achieve commercial success,” said Professor Saul Tendler, Pro-Vice-Chancellor for Research at The University of Nottingham. “We are delighted that the EPSRC continues to recognise our expertise in this area, and are proud to be among the UK’s top universities receiving this funding.”

“The UK’s scientists are some of the most innovative and creative people in the world, but they need support to take their best ideas through to market.,” Business Secretary Vince Cable said. “This investment I’m announcing today will help our leading universities become centres of innovation and entrepreneurship, generating commercial success to fuel growth.”

EPSRC chief executive Professor Dave Delpy added: “The research we support is recognised as outstanding on the international stage. These Accounts aim to make a step change in the impact that has on society: generating new business opportunities which drive economic growth, creating better, more informed, public policy.”


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