<![CDATA[Newsroom University of Manchester]]> /discover/news/ en Wed, 10 Jul 2024 11:10:34 +0200 Thu, 04 Jul 2024 18:32:26 +0200 <![CDATA[Newsroom University of Manchester]]> https://content.presspage.com/clients/150_1369.jpg /discover/news/ 144 Winners announced for the Eli & Britt Harari Graphene Enterprise Award 2024 /discover/news/winners-announced-for-the-eli--britt-harari-graphene-enterprise-award-2024/ /discover/news/winners-announced-for-the-eli--britt-harari-graphene-enterprise-award-2024/651229The Masood Entrepreneurship Centre (MEC) is pleased to announce the winners of the Eli & Britt Harari Graphene Enterprise Award 2024.

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The Masood Entrepreneurship Centre (MEC) is pleased to announce the winners of the Eli & Britt Harari Graphene Enterprise Award 2024.

This prestigious award is designed to support students, postdoctoral researchers, recent graduates, and encourage new student cohorts to engage with MEC, in launching new businesses that involve graphene or other 2D materials. It’s all about sparking innovation and making a real impact in the commercial world, turning groundbreaking research into real, game-changing solutions for the future.

With awards of £50,000 and £20,000, we’re excited to celebrate the individuals or teams who showed how their graphene-related technology can be turned into a business. The applications were judged based on how solid their plans were for creating a new business related to graphene or 2D materials.

This award gives winners the perfect launchpad they need to kickstart their business. Vlogٷ understands how crucial flexible early-stage financial support is for these kinds of ventures, to help make these dreams a reality and bring a product or technology to the market.

This year, the top prize of £50,000 went to Kun Huang of Solar Ethos. Kun has a Master’s degree in Corrosion Control Engineering and a PhD in Material Physics. The second prize of £20,000 was awarded to Hafiza Hifza Nawaz of Fabstics, who has a PhD in Materials. We also congratulate the other finalists - Mohammadhossein Saberian of EcoTarTech and Ozan Zehni of Dorlion SHM.

EH24_Solar EthosEH24_Fabstics

 

 

 

 

 

 

The winners, pictured above with Deputy Vice-Chancellor & Deputy President Luke Georghiou:

  • Left: First place - Solar Ethos
  • Right: Second place - Fabstics

All finalists received support throughout the competition, which included: pitching workshops, help with applications by Scott Dean (CEO of Graphene Trace), and IP advice from Innovation Factory. These resources were key in helping them navigate the challenges of starting a business and turning their groundbreaking ideas into real-world solutions.

Our top-tier judges included Professor Luke Georghiou, Deputy President and Deputy Vice-Chancellor at the University of Manchester; Lynn Sheppard, Masood Entrepreneurship Centre Director; Jessica McCreadie, Investment Director at Northern Gritstone; James Baker, CEO Graphene @Manchester at Vlogٷ; and Gareth Jones, Project Manager - Electronics at the University of Manchester Innovation Factory. Their expertise and dedication to encouraging innovation played a key role in choosing projects that could make a big difference.

We offer a huge congratulations to all the participants! We can’t wait to see the fantastic impact of their innovative work in the commercial world. By supporting these entrepreneurs, we're not only helping them achieve their dreams but also paving the way for future advancements that can tackle some of the world's most pressing challenges.

Along with the awards, we heard inspiring speeches from high-profile individuals such as Lynn Sheppard, Professor James Baker, Dr. Vivek Koncherry, Liam Johnson, and Professor Luke Georghiou. They shared amazing insights about graphene and other 2D materials, emphasising the transformative potential of these technologies and the importance of ongoing innovation. We were also joined via Zoom from California by Dr. Eli Harari, founder of SanDisk, the memory storage technology company. He encouraged attendees to "Think Big!".

Eli & Britt Harari Award 2021 winner Dr. Vivek Koncherry, the CEO of Graphene Innovations Manchester, is making significant strides in connecting graphene technology with global business opportunities. Last year, he signed a $1 billion partnership with Quazar Investment Company to create a new company in the UAE aimed at tackling global sustainability challenges. Recognised as Manchester's answer to Elon Musk, Vivek recently impressed judges to win the North West heat of KPMG’s Tech Innovator in the UK 2024. With a strong background as an alumnus and researcher from Vlogٷ, Vivek exemplifies the spirit of entrepreneurship and innovation.

Some notable quotes about the competition include Lynn Sheppard's encouragement, "For all the winners and nominees, your journey does not stop here, it goes on," and Prof. James Baker's insight, "Graphene can make a big difference in addressing the climate change challenges." Dr. Vivek Koncherry highlighted Manchester's entrepreneurial spirit by stating, "Manchester is very good for entrepreneurship," while Dr. Eli Harari inspired with, "We need people like you to aspire in making the world better." Liam Johnson appreciated the award's impact, saying, "The award allowed me to turn this idea to something tangible," and Prof. Luke Georghiou emphasised the importance of support with, "It's our duty to build an ecosystem to support the development of graphene."

Their words emphasised the event's theme of driving change and shaping a brighter future through cutting-edge research and entrepreneurship, wrapping up the event on an exhilarating high.

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Independent Review of University Spin-out Companies /discover/news/independent-review-of-university-spin-out-companies/ /discover/news/independent-review-of-university-spin-out-companies/632654Vlogٷ welcomed the Independent Review of University Spin-out Companies published in November 2023[CH1] . The Review set out the important contribution that UK universities are making to the economy and society, through commercialisation of intellectual property generated by their research.

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Vlogٷ welcomed the Independent Review of University Spin-out Companies published in November 2023. The Review set out the important contribution that UK universities are making to the economy and society, through commercialisation of intellectual property generated by their research. The recommendations provide important guidance on the pathway to building a world-leading innovation ecosystem and the University is now taking steps to implement the recommendations from the Review.

As an active member of the  group of international leaders in university research commercialisation,  and co-author of the and , launched on 20th May, we recognise the distinction between intellectual property intensive areas such as the life sciences and the simpler pathway for some software commercialisation and sets out practical ways to improve the speed and efficiency of spin out formation. We have therefore initiated a review of intellectual property policies and practice, in collaboration with our partners in the Northern Gritstone investment company, which was established as a positive response to the high concentration of VC funding in London to provide VC funding in the North.

Innovation is a core theme for the University and our ambition is to create a thriving innovation ecosystem, which supports our entrepreneurs, spin outs and partners to start up, secure investment and scale, contributing positively to the prosperity of our region. Working through our technology transfer subsidiary, the , we have produced 29 spinouts in the past three years and remain committed to providing the optimal environment for entrepreneurs to develop their ideas. Our policy review and founder friendly approach and commitment to supporting spin outs, will catalyse growth of a vibrant regional ecosystem which supports companies to grow and scale.

Our joint venture partnership with Bruntwood Scitech to develop our North Campus into an Innovation District, will additionally provide an anchor location for our spin outs to establish and succeed within our own community, with an opportunity to access space, investors, facilities, partners, business support and networks within one location.

Professor Luke Georghiou, Deputy President and Vice-Chancellor and lead for Innovation said: “The Spin-out Review showed the vital role of universities in generating IP-Rich companies in the advanced areas most likely to revitalise our economy. We will use its recommendations as a platform to double down on bringing leading edge discoveries to the market.”

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Thu, 23 May 2024 09:45:52 +0100 https://content.presspage.com/uploads/1369/500_graphenebuilding.jpg?10000 https://content.presspage.com/uploads/1369/graphenebuilding.jpg?10000
World-first analytical Transmission Electron Microscope being developed by Manchester materials scientists /discover/news/world-first-analytical-transmission-electron-microscope-being-developed-by-manchester-materials-scientists/ /discover/news/world-first-analytical-transmission-electron-microscope-being-developed-by-manchester-materials-scientists/629619Manchester scientists are developing a world-first Transmission Electron Microscope (TEM) that integrates cutting-edge imaging and spectroscopy with artificial intelligence and automated workflows (AutomaTEM).

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Manchester scientists are developing a world-first Transmission Electron Microscope (TEM) that integrates cutting-edge imaging and spectroscopy with artificial intelligence and automated workflows (AutomaTEM).

While existing TEMs can image atomic scale structure and chemistry, the time-consuming nature of the technique means the typical regions of interest (ROI) - areas of the sample selected for further analysis - are very limited. The AutomaTEM will resolve this, improving the ability to find and analyse, reducing time incurred while increasing the ROI. As a result, it will accelerate innovation in materials applications for quantum computing, low power electronics, and new catalysts to support the energy transition, all which are currently held back by the limitations of current technology.

The AutomaTEM development is funded through a £9.5 million project supported by Vlogٷ, The Henry Royce Institute, bp and EPSRC, in collaboration with manufacturer Thermo Fisher Scientific. The Manchester team, led by Professor Sarah Haigh, will merge TEM’s existing atomic scale elemental and chemical mapping capabilities together with emerging developments in automation and data analysis to create the AutomaTEM; an instrument that can acquire huge data sets of local chemical information in days rather than years.

Prof , Professor of Materials Characterisation at Vlogٷ and Director of the Electron Microscopy Centre (EMC), said: "Understanding atomic detail at the micrometer or millimeter scale is crucial for developing materials for various applications, from catalysis and quantum technologies to nuclear energy and pharmaceuticals.

"This system is not simply another TEM instrument. It will provide new opportunities for atomic scale investigation of materials with less human intervention. For the first time we will be able to enable atomic resolution analysis of hundreds of regions of interest in a matter of hours, providing unprecedented insights into sparse defects and heterogeneous materials." 

Designed with artificial intelligence and automated workflows at its core, the AutomaTEM boasts several cutting-edge features, including:

  • Computer control to automatically adjust the sample stage and beam to address specific regions of interest, enabling detailed high-resolution imaging and diffraction-based analysis without continuous operator interaction.
  • Machine learning integration to segment lower resolution data and build functional relationships between experimental results, enhancing the identification of novel features. 
  • A world-leading Energy Dispersive X-ray Spectroscopy (EDS) system with exceptional collection efficiency, providing precise compositional analysis.
  • A new high-performance electron energy loss spectrometer (EELS) design for chemical analysis of diverse species in complex systems.

Custom built, it is being developed in collaboration with Thermo Fisher Scientific and will arrive in summer 2025. The global laboratory equipment manufacturer has provided Professor Haigh’s team access to the necessary API control, and will supply an energy dispersive X-ray spectroscopy (EDS) system with a world-leading collection efficiency of 4.5 srad.

The AutomaTEM will be housed in Vlogٷ's state-of-the-art (EMC), one of the largest in the UK. The EMC already has 6 transmission electron microscopes (TEMs), 13 scanning electron microscopes (SEMs), and 6 focussed ion beam (FIB) instruments. It supports more than 500 internal users, from 12 different University of Manchester Departments, and welcomes users from institutes across the world, including Cardiff, Durham, Queen Mary and Manchester Metropolitan universities, University of Cape Town (SA), Ceres Power, Nexperia, Nanoco, bp, Johnson Matthey, Oxford Instruments, and UKAEA.

AutomaTEM will be available to external users for free proof of principle academic projects for up to 30 per cent of its total use during the first three years to help foster collaboration and advance research capabilities.

, Royal Society University Research Fellow at Vlogٷ, who is leading co-investigator on the project, said: "The faster, more accurate analysis capabilities of AutomaTEM represent a significant leap forward in materials science research.

“With the potential to impact various industries, including aerospace, automotive, and semiconductor, the AutomaTEM aims to support the UK’s position at the forefront of materials science innovation.”

Today’s announcement consolidates Vlogٷ’s reputation at the forefront of advanced materials research. Home to highest concentration of materials scientists in UK academia, it hosts several national centres for Advanced Materials research including the Henry Royce Institute - the UK national institute for Advanced Materials Research; the bp-ICAM, a global partnership to enable the effective application of advanced materials for the transition to net zero; the National Centre for X-ray Computational Tomography; and the National Graphene Institute, the world-leading interdisciplinary centre for graphene and 2D materials research.

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Wed, 24 Apr 2024 09:22:31 +0100 https://content.presspage.com/uploads/1369/d57a1ed2-2ddc-4620-899a-00dad69853f0/500_sarahhaighprofessorofmaterialscharacterisationattheuniversityofmanchesteranddirectoroftheelectronmicroscopycentreemcphotographedintheemc..jpg?10000 https://content.presspage.com/uploads/1369/d57a1ed2-2ddc-4620-899a-00dad69853f0/sarahhaighprofessorofmaterialscharacterisationattheuniversityofmanchesteranddirectoroftheelectronmicroscopycentreemcphotographedintheemc..jpg?10000
University of Manchester, Boots And No7 beauty company renew 20-year partnership to supercharge skin science advancements /discover/news/university-of-manchester-boots-and-no7-beauty-company-renew-20-year-partnership-to-supercharge-skin-science-advancements/ /discover/news/university-of-manchester-boots-and-no7-beauty-company-renew-20-year-partnership-to-supercharge-skin-science-advancements/626905The pioneering collaboration is delivering game-changing British skincare products and high street success including the launch of No7 Future Renew – the UK’s biggest ever beauty launchNo7 Beauty Company and Boots today announce the renewal of their 20-year, multi-million-pound partnership with the University of Manchester Centre for Dermatology Research for a further five years. The partnership has accelerated discoveries in skin science and paved the way for game-changing skincare products that have fuelled the growth and reputation of the British beauty industry globally.  

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No7 Beauty Company and Boots today announce the renewal of their 20-year, multi-million-pound partnership with the University of Manchester Centre for Dermatology Research for a further five years. The partnership has accelerated discoveries in skin science and paved the way for game-changing skincare products that have fuelled the growth and reputation of the British beauty industry globally.  

The renewed commitment will help Boots and No7 Beauty Company continue to break new ground in helping people care for their skin throughout their life, whether it is maintaining skin health, helping to combat skin ageing or supporting people through significant skin changes such as those resulting from the menopause. It will also further strengthen their market leading cosmetic science innovation pipeline, which has delivered product innovations generating waiting lists of up to 100,000 people, physical queues outside Boots stores and surges in visits to boots.com. 

The announcement was made at a special event held at the University, which celebrated some of the partnership’s most significant scientific milestones, including the launch of its biggest scientific breakthrough to date; the ground-breaking No7 Future Renew skincare range. The range was launched exactly one year ago this week and was developed following 15 years of research and development between scientists at both organisations, resulting in the discovery of a world-first super peptide blend formulated into a best-selling range and serum that is clinically proven to reverse visible signs of skin damage.  This innovation has taken the beauty industry by storm, with the Future Renew serum becoming a global bestseller and the biggest ever beauty launch in the UK.  In the UK, there were more than 500,000 transactions in the first four weeks, and a year later, one product is still sold every seven seconds.

The collaboration renewal also coincides with both institutions celebrating landmark anniversaries; with Boots marking its 175th anniversary and Vlogٷ reaching its 200 year milestone in 2024.

Mark Winter, Managing Director, No7 Beauty Company, said: We are incredibly proud of our longstanding partnership with the UoM’s Centre for Dermatology Research and excited for the next phase of our collaboration.  Scientific innovation is part of our DNA and by working with world-leading partners like the University of Manchester we are committed to using our unrivalled research expertise to be at the forefront of skincare and cosmetic innovation, developing ground-breaking, clinically proven, affordable products that work for everyone.”

The event was attended by representatives from both institutions, including Ornella Barra, Chief Operating Officer, International, Walgreens Boots Alliance, Inc and Professor Dame Nancy Rothwell, President and Vice-Chancellor, Vlogٷ.  

from Vlogٷ said: “We are delighted to be able to continue our partnership with Boots and to pursue our shared aims of uncovering new insights into skin biology and applying this knowledge to repairing accumulated damage.” 

, also from Vlogٷ  said: "Our longstanding partnership with Boots has enabled us to explore the depths of skin science while delivering real-world benefits to consumers through clinical translational research. We are thrilled to continue this collaboration, advancing innovation and enhancing skin health for all individuals."

Where it all began
The partnership was established twenty years ago by a small team of No7 and University of Manchester scientists. The ambition was to come together to create cutting-edge skincare solutions that could be taken from the laboratory straight to the high street.  One of the first innovations was the renowned No7 Protect & Perfect serum. The serum famously featured in a BBC Horizon programme in 2007, where the efficacy of the serum was verified by independent dermatologists, leading to the product selling out in Boots stores throughout the UK.

Fast forward to 2024 and today, the collaboration has caught the eyes of the scientific community and the Government.  It has also:  

  • Led to 10 patents being filed, with more in the pipeline
  • Resulted in over 100 academic publications including 60 peer reviewed papers published in scientific journals
  • Helped to upskill thousands of beauty advisors and pharmacists within Boots stores
  • Supported a UK talent pipeline of brilliant entrepreneurial scientists – many of whom are female
  • Significantly raised the reputation of bioscience research in the UK and in particular in the North West
  • Helped put No7 on the global map with distribution now extending to over a dozen countries including Australia, the Nordics and the US
  • Created effective collaborations both in the UK and internationally with the likes of Imperial College London, Kings College, Newcastle, York and Liverpool universities, as well as internationally with Johns Hopkins.

Millie Kendall OBE, CEO, British Beauty Council, comments: “The launch of No7 Future Renew was somewhat revolutionary.  The teams took a ground-breaking scientific discovery straight into an affordable, accessible skincare range available to all on the British high street, whereas traditionally you would see cutting-edge scientific innovations trickle down to high street products several years after launching in premium products or clinics. It is testament to the rigour and strength of the partnership between Vlogٷ, Boots and No7 Beauty Company that they have created truly world-leading skincare innovation together.”

New era of discovery beckons
The renewal of the partnership establishes a ground-breaking five-year research programme that will explore peptides, clinical testing, skin immunology, and the skin microbiome. It includes a pioneering project to investigate skin across the pigmentary spectrum, aiming to develop more inclusive and effective technologies suitable for all skin tones. The project has already secured multi-million-pound funding from The BBSRC’s Prosperity Award, marking a significant investment in advancing skin science.

Samantha Dover, Mintel Category Director of Beauty and Personal Care research, said: “Beauty consumers are increasingly discerning and want to know more about the products they buy. This is exemplified by the 71% of UK adults who believe beauty brands should provide more scientific evidence to validate their claims. Showcasing the research and development behind a product can provide brands with a powerful point of difference in a crowded market. Moreover, partnerships that elevate and spotlight the R&D process will undoubtedly appeal to consumers who want brands to validate their claims, and therefore can build brand trust and loyalty.” 

Investing in the next generation of British scientists
Throughout the partnership, Vlogٷ, Boots and No7 Beauty Company will support the next generation of scientists through the following initiatives:

  • Funding from BBSRC Collaborative Training Partnership in 2021 to train 15 PhD students, addressing skills gaps in the UK bioscience industry.
  • Co-investing with UKRI since 2019, with UKRI recognising the No7 Future Renew story as an exemplar of business and university collaboration.

An event is being held at Vlogٷ on April 11th (the one year anniversary of the No7 Future Renew launch) to celebrate the impact and success of the partnership and look ahead at the next phase. 

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Thu, 11 Apr 2024 11:15:12 +0100 https://content.presspage.com/uploads/1369/07ac5da8-d786-46cf-8f98-7d987e9b4c83/500_no7futurerenewfullcollection.jpg?10000 https://content.presspage.com/uploads/1369/07ac5da8-d786-46cf-8f98-7d987e9b4c83/no7futurerenewfullcollection.jpg?10000
University signs new partnership with behavioural science and technology organisation /discover/news/university-signs-new-partnership-with-kultralab/ /discover/news/university-signs-new-partnership-with-kultralab/625617Vlogٷ has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Greater Manchester-based organisation KultraLab Limited, which will formalise and strengthen the partnership through new research, development and knowledge exchange activities. 

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Vlogٷ has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Greater Manchester-based organisation KultraLab Limited, which will formalise and strengthen the partnership through new research, development and knowledge exchange activities. 

The MoU will create a framework to build on an already fruitful relationship, and will develop collaboration roadmaps to expand the breadth and depth of the partnership in areas including Behavioural AI, Organisational Psychology and High Performance Culture and Behaviours.

KultraLab is a behavioural science and technology organisation, and they have developed a behaviour change coaching platform to enable organisations to create high-performing teams through AI coaching.

“The partnership between Vlogٷ and KultraLab started in 2020, and has organically grown and expanded into multiple collaborations across the Faculty of Humanities and Science and Engineering,” said Caroline Stanton, Head of SME Partnership in the University’s Business Engagement and Knowledge Exchange Team. “The signing of this MoU represents an exciting milestone in the partnership and will provide a strategic framework to strengthen and diversify collaborative opportunities, continue to foster a culture of knowledge exchange and enrich both organisations with valuable benefits.”

“This is a momentous occasion between Vlogٷ and KultraLab that signifies the strength of our existing relationship and the potential for how we will research, innovate and drive impact together,” said Amy King, Chief Behavioural Science Officer at KultraLab. “The MoU represents a mutual opportunity to share expertise, resources and research in a focused and meaningful way, helping us to advance capabilities in behavioural AI to make a positive difference to the world of work.”

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Mon, 25 Mar 2024 12:28:29 +0000 https://content.presspage.com/uploads/1369/1bf5c683-8f62-4e51-938f-15cd584b393f/500_01-kultralabsigning19thmarch.jpg?10000 https://content.presspage.com/uploads/1369/1bf5c683-8f62-4e51-938f-15cd584b393f/01-kultralabsigning19thmarch.jpg?10000
The University Ranks as a Global Leader for Digital Health Citation Impact /discover/news/the-university-ranks-as-a-global-leader-for-digital-health-citation-impact/ /discover/news/the-university-ranks-as-a-global-leader-for-digital-health-citation-impact/624031Vlogٷ has been recognised as one of the Top 25 institutions in the world with the highest citation impact on Digital Health. The University secured 4th place worldwide according to an analysis from – a leading global information services provider, at Times Higher Education’s Digital Health Summit.

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Vlogٷ has been recognised as one of the Top 25 institutions in the world with the highest citation impact on Digital Health. The University secured 4th place worldwide according to an analysis from – a leading global information services provider, at Times Higher Education’s Digital Health Summit.

The evolution of solutions is creating new opportunities to transform patient care and personal health outcomes. From remote monitoring and wearables, to artificial intelligence and machine learning, digital technologies are enabling health data collection and analysis and offering new insights, diagnosis and therapies.

Here is an overview of the Citation Impact on Digital Health Top 25 Rankings. The complete list can be accessed in ’s article.

Rank

Institution

Digital health papers in the
Web of Science

Citations

Percentage of papers in the top
10 per cent by citation

1

Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center

70

1,444

28.57

2

51

532

17.65

3

50

1,011

26.00

4

75

1,582

32.00

5

284

4,885

28.52

 

Research into digital health has grown massively nowadays, whereas the scale of growth in digital health research is remarkable. Based on Clarivate data, publications on digital health topics – which include everything from wearable devices and mobile apps to AI analytics, telemedicine and 3D printing of drugs – have risen nearly 70-fold between 2013 and 2022, from a mere 39 Web of Science-indexed papers to 2,641 – while UK researchers were involved in 20 per cent of all papers.

The statistics demonstrate that the University currently has 75 digital health papers in the Web of Science, 1582 citations, 32 per cent of papers in the top 10 per cent by citation, scoring 2.50 category normalised citation impact (CNCI). It showcases Manchester’s consistent efforts to advance digital health research that benefits the public.

Previously, the immense volumes of medical data from numerous wearable devices or mobile phones might have overwhelmed even the most data-savvy researcher. However, artificial intelligence now enables researchers to effectively navigate such vast amounts of information without requiring advanced coding skills. Likewise, hospitals and health centres worldwide are sharing patient records in a manner that allows algorithms to detect trends, including identifying emerging pandemics at their onset.

Recent University of Manchester research, alongside Oxford University and Cancer Research UK used Artificial Intelligence to reveal a new form of aggressive prostate cancer which could revolutionise how the disease is diagnosed and treated in the future.

For more information:

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ID Manchester - Renold building to become new innovation hub /discover/news/id-manchester---renold-building-to-become-new-innovation-hub/ /discover/news/id-manchester---renold-building-to-become-new-innovation-hub/621723Renold building will be a focal point for science, technology, and innovation related activities.

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, a partnership between Vlogٷ and , has announced plans to reactivate the Renold Building as a home for forward-thinking entrepreneurs and SMEs to develop new ideas and solutions that help tackle some of the world's biggest challenges.  

This marks the initial phase of ID Manchester’s ambitious plan to transform the University’s former North Campus into a welcoming and accessible new £1.7bn innovation district.  

The new vision for the Renold Building will celebrate its history as an educational hub by hosting the next wave of science and technology innovators and building an inclusive, purpose-driven community. The building will provide a range of coworking, office and meeting facilities to accommodate and support collaboration between researchers, entrepreneurs, businesses and partner organisations.  

New events and exhibition spaces, including lecture theatres and a community café, will be accessible to local businesses, community groups and arts and culture organisations to host and participate in events and activities. 

An application to convert the building from educational to commercial use has been submitted to Manchester City Council by joint venture partners Vlogٷ and Bruntwood SciTech. Pending application approval, the building is set to open in late 2024.  

Built in 1962, the Renold Building was the first of its kind in the UK to be entirely comprised of lecture theatres and seminar rooms. It is a building of note for many due to its striking features, including the faceted facade and stair tower, and the impressive internal mural on the lower ground floor. The redevelopment will retain and protect these elements as part of the application, as well as being sympathetic to the building’s exterior facades. Design interventions in the building’s interior will also be light touch, preserving the current condition as far as practically possible. This will allow for further conservation and restoration to be undertaken at a later date, ensuring the building will remain viable for future generations. 

Bradley Topps, Chief Commercial Officer for Bruntwood SciTech and Project Director for ID Manchester, said: “The transformation of the Renold Building into an innovation hub marks an important first step in the development of the trailblazing science and technology ecosystem we’re building at ID Manchester. We recognise the importance of the Renold Building to many in the local community and beyond, and we are committed to reactivating the building in a way that celebrates the rich heritage and architecture of the building. We’revery excited to be creating a new home for the next generation of Manchester innovators.” 

John Holden, Associate Vice-President, Vlogٷ and Executive Committee Member for ID Manchester, said: ”The Renold Building will be an invaluable place to bring together like-minded organisations and partners to collaborate, develop and test new ideas. We’re building our innovation ecosystem from the ground up and the Renold Building will be a place that not only accelerates the growth of our city’s most promising entrepreneurs, SMEs and university spin-outs, but also provides the spaces and opportunities to allow our local communities to participate, experience and benefit from innovation too.”  

The expertise and experience of ID Manchester’s respective partners will be instrumental to the creation of its innovation ecosystem. Bruntwood SciTech, a joint venture between Bruntwood, Legal & General and Greater Manchester Pension Fund, is the largest dedicated property platform serving the UK’s innovation economy and brings its expertise in developing partnerships across academia, local authorities, cities and the NHS. This year marks Vlogٷ’s bicentenary, celebrating 200 years of key discoveries, world firsts and incredible people, and ID Manchester will build on this storied history of learning, innovation and research.

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Lou Cordwell OBE appointed Professor of Innovation and Special Advisor /discover/news/lou-cordwell-obe/ /discover/news/lou-cordwell-obe/619390Lou Cordwell OBE has been appointed Professor of Innovation at the ) at , and Special Advisor to the Office of the President and Vice-Chancellor.

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Lou Cordwell OBE has been appointed Professor of Innovation at the ) at , and Special Advisor to the Office of the President and Vice-Chancellor.

Professor Cordwell’s responsibilities include providing strategic guidance on innovation ecosystems to the University and contributing to the work of MIOIR and AMBS.

She will work with leaders across the University to advise on how the University can enhance its role as a key driver of the region’s economy, including by strengthening existing, and developing new, collaborative relationships with local and national government, business, and other external stakeholders.

Lou began her career working for WPP before founding the Manchester-based digital design studio magneticNorth (mN). In 2021, mN merged with Fluxx, creating the UK’s leading design and innovation consultancy, , where Lou continues to be involved as Chief Creative Officer.

She has spent the past two years building a team and the strategic masterplan for , Europe’s most ambitious Innovation District project.

President and Vice-Chancellor, Professor Dame Nancy Rothwell, said: “I am delighted that Lou is joining Vlogٷ. The wealth of experience she brings as an entrepreneur and innovator, and as a leading advocate for Greater Manchester on the national and international stage, will be enormously valuable as we work to further strengthen our role as a driver of prosperity for our region and the UK.”

Head of AMBS, Professor Ken McPhail, added: “Innovation is very much at the heart of our purpose here at AMBS. We recognise the importance of this across our teaching, learning and engagement with the business world. Lou’s appointment and engagement with our colleagues and our students will help us in our work to redefine business through the lens of innovation and responsibility.”

Lou is also Chair of Greater Manchester’s Business Board (LEP) and an angel investor, particularly focusing on female tech founders. Lou was awarded an OBE in the 2018 New Year’s Honours for services to the creative and digital economy.

For further information about the appointment, please contact Will Stone.

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Wed, 31 Jan 2024 14:09:23 +0000 https://content.presspage.com/uploads/1369/b4a2ec2c-a0cf-4243-b884-f23ead10b716/500_lou-cordwell-professor-of-innovation.jpg?10000 https://content.presspage.com/uploads/1369/b4a2ec2c-a0cf-4243-b884-f23ead10b716/lou-cordwell-professor-of-innovation.jpg?10000
Shadow Minister discusses emissions and innovation during visit to University of Manchester /discover/news/shadow-minister-discusses-emissions-and-innovation-during-visit-to-university-of-manchester/ /discover/news/shadow-minister-discusses-emissions-and-innovation-during-visit-to-university-of-manchester/617279The Shadow Minister for Aviation and Maritime, Mike Kane MP, has visited Vlogٷ to meet academics leading research on the urgent need to reduce shipping emissions.

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The Shadow Minister for Aviation and Maritime, Mike Kane MP, has visited Vlogٷ to meet academics leading research on the urgent need to reduce shipping emissions.

He also toured the site of , a joint venture between the University and Bruntwood SciTech, which will transform the North campus into an innovative £1.7 billion tech and science location.

Mr Kane, the Member of Parliament for Wythenshawe and Sale East, was briefed by Professor Alice Larkin and Dr Simon Bullock whose research sets out immediate actions required to cut shipping emissions by 34% to stay on course to achieve the Paris Agreement’s goal of limiting global heating to 1.5°C above preindustrial levels.

The discussions took place following Mr Kane’s comments in the House of Commons last month in which he expressed concerns that the Government is yet to publish a refreshed Clean Maritime Plan to drive down UK shipping emissions.

Following a meeting with , the University’s Vice President for Civic Engagement, the Shadow Minister was shown around the nine-acre ID Manchester site and updated on the latest project plans by Tanya Graham, Head of Policy@Manchester, alongside Brad Topps, Chief Commercial Officer, and Sam Darby, Development Director, of Bruntwood SciTech.

The initiative is set to create over 10,000 new jobs and bring significant economic, social and environmental benefits to the city including more than 2 million square feet of commercial and retail space, and over 1,500 homes.

Professor Richard Jones said: “It was a pleasure to brief Mike on the numerous exciting initiatives Vlogٷ is currently involved in, and to hear his perspectives on the direction of public policy across a broad range of topics.

“Our ongoing research on shipping emissions is directly relevant to his brief as Shadow Minister for Aviation and Maritime and will inform debates nationally and internationally as policymakers strive to meet the 1.5°C Paris Agreement limit.

“We are also proud and excited to be working in partnership with Bruntwood SciTech to deliver ID Manchester, a place where offices, laboratories and creative studios will stand shoulder to shoulder with a world-class university to drive positive economic, social and environmental change.”

Mike Kane MP said: “I am grateful to Policy@Manchester for arranging such a fascinating visit.

“As a Manchester MP, I take great pride in the quality of research and teaching happening here. The work on shipping emissions, led by Professor Larkin and Dr Bullock, is of especially high quality and it was useful for me to drill down into their findings in my meeting with them.

“ID Manchester will have a transformative impact across the city region and far beyond, making a positive difference to the lives of entrepreneurs, students, professionals and families.

“Life continues to tough for many as the cost of living crisis endures, but better times for the people of Manchester lie ahead.”  

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Tue, 16 Jan 2024 10:45:37 +0000 https://content.presspage.com/uploads/1369/e164d423-fc53-4642-8705-564019f5d07b/500_mikekanempvisit.jpg?10000 https://content.presspage.com/uploads/1369/e164d423-fc53-4642-8705-564019f5d07b/mikekanempvisit.jpg?10000
Crop spray could lead to mass resistance in new-generation antifungal treatments /discover/news/crop-spray-could-lead-to-mass-resistance-in-new-generation-antifungal-treatments/ /discover/news/crop-spray-could-lead-to-mass-resistance-in-new-generation-antifungal-treatments/616581An agricultural fungicide approved in the US and currently under consideration by authorities worldwide could have a devastating effect on a new drug for one of world’s deadliest infectious diseases, show University of Manchester scientists.

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An agricultural fungicide approved in the US and currently under consideration by authorities worldwide could have a devastating effect on a new drug for one of world’s deadliest infectious diseases, show University of Manchester scientists.

Their Wellcome Trust funded study, published in Nature Microbiology could spell disaster for patients with aspergillosis - a dangerous fungal disease responsible for the deaths of millions of people worldwide.

With few treatment options for patients, aspergillus has developed widespread drug resistance to one class of drugs, known as the azoles.

The resistance is caused by the use of fungicides in agriculture, known as DMIs, increasing the risk of mortality from aspergillosis from 40% to up to 80%.

However, F2G Ltd – a spin out company from Vlogٷ – invested more than £250 million over 20 years on a new antifungal drug called olorofim, which is in late-stage clinical trials and aims to be clinically deployed within the next few years.

The scientists argue that because olorofim works against azole resistant infections it could save many lives of affected patients.

However, a newly developed fungicide crop spray called ipflufenoquin has been approved for use in the USA, under the trade name Kinoprol, and could severely impact on the new drug because it has the same biological target and kills the fungi the same way as olorofim.

Exposure of Aspergillus in the environment to Kinoprol could make it resistant to olorofim, rendering the treatment ineffective before it can even be deployed in the clinic, say the scientists.

The research team exposed Aspergillus to ipflufenoquin in the lab and then assessed resistance to olorofim. Genetic mutations that cause changes in the antifungals target gene provide resistance to ipflufenoquin but also provide resistance to olorofim.

Scientists have long known that environmental use of fungicides – which farmers need to keep their crops free of fungal infection – has the potential to drive resistance to other clinical antifungals.

Researchers also believe that composting of waste from farms is causing accumulation of fungicides in environments where Aspergillus likes to grow.

Wind currents, intensive farming, and transport of commercial composts can disperse the drug-resistant fungal spores further into the environment and end up in our gardens, bedrooms, kitchens, and bathrooms.

Most healthy people are unaffected by Aspergillus, but population groups including the elderly, cancer patients, and the immunosuppressed of all ages are at greater risk of serious illness which destroys the lungs.

Lead author , a Wellcome Trust research fellow at Vlogٷ said: “We are all very excited about olorofim but when we found out that regulatory approval was sought for ipflufenoquin and its mode of action was same as olorofim, we immediately felt alarmed.

Making a novel fungicide for humans is very difficult and costs millions of pounds.

“But it is desperately needed, as the few classes of drugs for Aspergillus infection available at present don’t give all of the seriously ill patients a viable treatment option.

“That is why olorofim is such an exciting prospect for patients and why we must lobby the regulatory authorities to implement a risk assessment strategy for the dual use of antifungals in agriculture and clinic.”

But indirect implications to human health are not taken into account during the approval process, which is why researchers, collaborators, and clinical teams are lobbying hard for the authorities to risk assess any new fungicide.

Corresponding author Prof Mike Bromley, who is a former employee of F2G Limited and co-lead of the Fungal AMR and One Health Network, said: “It is devastating that the efforts that so many have made in development of olorofim are being put at risk by the lack of appropriate legislation that would prevent the release of fungicides without consideration of the risks to driving drug resistance in human pathogens.

“We have made our views clear to the Environmental Protection Agency in the USA and hope they will re-evaluate their approach to environmental release of fungicides.

Politicians in the House of Lords recently a question by Baroness Bennett of Manor Castle, which asked the Government what assessment they made of how the UK’s current agricultural fungicide use will affect long-term food and biological security.

Baroness Bennett, a former leader of the Green Party, told the chamber: “Managing fungal crop disease has always been essential to our ability to feed the population, but we cannot afford a haphazard, piecemeal approach that will hurt our public health and our NHS.

“We need integrated, “one health” considerations of the impact of the climate emergency and responsible fungicide legislation.”

Baroness Hayman of Ullock and Baroness Walmsley also spoke in the debate, and highlighted the specific case of olorofim and ipflufenoquin as they called for more robust risk assessments in the licensing of new agricultural antifungals.

  • F2G carried out a single assay in the study that the researchers would otherwise have not been able to facilitate. However, the vast majority of the study was carried out independently.
  • The paper Aspergillus fumigatus strains that evolve resistance to the agrochemical fungicide ipflufenoquin in vitro are also resistant to olorofim is available
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Tue, 09 Jan 2024 09:51:27 +0000 https://content.presspage.com/uploads/1369/9cdfd40b-80b3-4feb-83c7-0b6c7f7a9659/500_high-clearance-sprayer-on-field-450w-102183739.jpg?10000 https://content.presspage.com/uploads/1369/9cdfd40b-80b3-4feb-83c7-0b6c7f7a9659/high-clearance-sprayer-on-field-450w-102183739.jpg?10000
Chancellor of the Exchequer visits Vlogٷ to discuss reform of UK’s power network /discover/news/chancellor-of-the-exchequer-visits-the-university-of-manchester-to-discuss-reform-of-uks-power-network/ /discover/news/chancellor-of-the-exchequer-visits-the-university-of-manchester-to-discuss-reform-of-uks-power-network/613356Vlogٷ welcomed the Chancellor of the Exchequer Jeremy Hunt to learn about its research and expertise in energy networks and discuss the Government’s recent plans to

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Vlogٷ welcomed the Chancellor of the Exchequer Jeremy Hunt to learn about its research and expertise in energy networks and discuss the Government’s recent plans to

The Chancellor visited the High Voltage Lab – the largest university high voltage laboratory in the UK - where he was given a guided tour by Ian Cotton, Professor of High Voltage Technology, to showcase the University’s work in the areas of operation, planning and analysis of energy networks.

The tour started with a demonstration of the Lab’s 2MV impulse generator, which allows researchers to stress test equipment used on the grid by creating real-life lightning voltages. He then moved on to discuss the work of the lab, addressing three critical issues:

  • Fast-tracking network upgrades by developing and testing new, innovative technologies ready for deployment onto the live electricity networks.
  • Ensuring the power system is ready to transfer increased amounts of generation from new, renewable sources like wave power.
  • Making the grid secure and ensuring the UK has access to reliable, affordable, and environmentally sustainable energy.

The Chancellor also had the chance to chat to a number of PhD students, whose work is also actively contributing to the reform of the system and find out how the University is contributing to the skills pipeline integral for the future of the power network.

In a closed-door meeting, energy experts at the University got the chance to ask the Chancellor questions and share their feedback about the government’s plans for the power network, including putting forward their own ideas for the future.

, Professor of High Voltage Technology at Vlogٷ, said: “It was a pleasure to host the Chancellor at the High Voltage Lab to showcase the work we are doing to solve the real-world challenges associated with ensuring the grid is ready to transfer the increased amounts of electrical energy we need to deliver net-zero.

“We really enjoyed sharing our unique skills, knowledge and equipment that we use to solve these problems and show how we are training a new generation of engineers to transform our energy system.

“The visit provided an invaluable opportunity to engage in insightful discussions regarding the Government's latest initiatives aimed at reforming the UK’s power network.”

Chancellor of the Exchequer, Jeremy Hunt, added: “We are committed to transforming the Great British electricity network. The changes announced at Autumn Statement make it quicker and easier to build new infrastructure and could bring in upwards of £90 billion of global investment.

“Cutting edge facilities at our world-beating universities, such as the fantastic High Voltage Lab, will be at the forefront of this effort, leading the charge on the UK’s transition to Net Zero.”

The High Voltage Lab at Vlogٷ is the largest electrical infrastructure test and research facility in UK academia. From the £9m lab, researchers collaborate with small businesses, large industry organisations and governments worldwide, sharing skills, knowledge and equipment to solve critical, real-world problems.

The lab uses the very latest equipment, capable of testing components that will be used on 400 kV power systems, enabling researchers to find new ways to innovate at pace.

The University is home to the largest power and energy system group in the UK, training 300 electrical engineers a year and supporting 150 PhD researchers in electrical power ensuring a new generation of engineers skilled to transform our energy system.

,  Senior Lecturer in Electric and Electronic Engineering, said: “The High Voltage Lab and our expertise plays a major part in the technology, innovation and skills supply chain needed for our net zero future.  From finding innovative ways to maintain the thousands of pylons across the grid, to de-risking superconductors for future power transmission, we work on a range of projects at all technology readiness levels to make sure we maximise the potential of both the equipment and our research expertise, to accelerate the development of our future electrical network.”

Find out more about the and .

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Fri, 08 Dec 2023 06:00:00 +0000 https://content.presspage.com/uploads/1369/2859f7e8-5309-4ad6-9380-e4ed5fbf916f/500_53380740912-b1636716a2-c.jpg?10000 https://content.presspage.com/uploads/1369/2859f7e8-5309-4ad6-9380-e4ed5fbf916f/53380740912-b1636716a2-c.jpg?10000
Greater Manchester Investment Zone targets growth and jobs in advanced manufacturing sector /discover/news/greater-manchester-investment-zone-targets-growth-and-jobs-in-advanced-manufacturing-sector/ /discover/news/greater-manchester-investment-zone-targets-growth-and-jobs-in-advanced-manufacturing-sector/611484A new Investment Zone for Greater Manchester, announced by the Chancellor in today’s Autumn Statement, is expected to create 32,000 jobs and leverage £1.1 billion of private sector investment.

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●&Բ;     More than 30,000 jobs and £1 billion of private sector investment forecast for the Greater Manchester Investment Zone.

●&Բ;     £160 million of public funding to boost growth of city-region’s advanced manufacturing and materials sector.

●&Բ;     Investments worth over £10m from manufacturers Kadant, Werit, First Graphene and Hydrograph unveiled as part of Investment Zone.

A new Investment Zone for Greater Manchester, announced by the Chancellor in today’s Autumn Statement, is expected to create 32,000 jobs and leverage £1.1 billion of private sector investment.

The Investment Zone will provide £160 million in public funding over 10 years to support initiatives and interventions agreed between Greater Manchester and Government, which will include new research and innovation, sector-focussed skills programmes, local infrastructure enhancements, and targeted business support.

Greater Manchester’s Investment Zone will focus on the advanced materials and manufacturing sector. The package will support established strengths, including, a joint venture between Vlogٷ and and other assets in the city-region core, and build on longer-term ambitions to be able to scale up and deploy innovations in our growth businesses, for example through Atom Valley.

ID Manchester will become a world-class innovation platform that drives inclusive and sustainable economic growth for the city by leveraging the unique experience and expertise of its joint venture partners, combining Vlogٷ's long history of industry collaboration and world-class research strengths with Bruntwood SciTech's experience of working in strategic partnership with city councils, universities and NHS Trusts to deliver connected science and technology infrastructure.

Andy Burnham, Mayor of Greater Manchester, said: “The Investment Zone will help us attract investment and create jobs and opportunities that will benefit people across Greater Manchester. Our city-region has been a centre for manufacturing and materials innovation for centuries, from leading the Industrial Revolution right through to the development of graphene, and the Investment Zone will ensure that continues.

“It’s also a vote of confidence in devolution and its ability to deliver levelling up. Providing more flexibility and local control over spending can help unlock Greater Manchester’s potential.”

, Vice-President for Regional Innovation and Civic Engagement at Vlogٷ, said: “Vlogٷ has been at the forefront of research in advanced materials and manufacturing, from the industrial revolution to the discovery of graphene, and we have a strong culture of innovation which builds on that research to create economic benefit. This announcement gives further impetus to the work we do with our partners in business and the city-region, to improve people’s lives through economic growth and improved productivity throughout Greater Manchester.” 

Greater Manchester’s advanced manufacturing and materials sector comprises hundreds of innovative companies and the city-region’s universities host world-leading research and development. Advanced manufacturing alone employs approximately 110,000 people and generates around £8bn of economic output each year.

Government has also confirmed plans to extend the Made Smarter Adoption programme following its successful pilot in Greater Manchester and the North West, with a view to expanding the programme across the UK by 2027. The programme helps SME manufacturers adopt digital technologies to help improve productivity and reduce carbon emissions.

Cllr Bev Craig, Leader of Manchester City Council and Greater Manchester Lead for Economy, Business, and Inclusive Growth, said: “Greater Manchester has an attractive proposition, with world-leading advanced manufacturing and materials research at our universities, a strong skills base, and an existing ecosystem of innovative companies.

“The Investment Zone will build on that cluster, linking and investing in different sites across the city-region, and helping us translate research and development and new discoveries into business growth.”

Speaking on behalf of ID Manchester, John Holden, Associate Vice-President at Vlogٷ, said: "We’re delighted that ID Manchester will be part of the Greater Manchester Investment Zone plans to put the region at the forefront of advanced materials and manufacturing innovation in the UK and globally. The ecosystem we’re building at ID Manchester will leverage Vlogٷ’s world-class R&D strengths to help scale and commercialise new ideas, driving new jobs across the city region in future-facing industries. We look forward to working closely with our neighbouring centres of innovation in Greater Manchester to create valuable new opportunities for local residents and businesses across the North.”

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Thu, 23 Nov 2023 09:27:39 +0000 https://content.presspage.com/uploads/1369/500_idmanchester.png?10000 https://content.presspage.com/uploads/1369/idmanchester.png?10000
Independent Review of University Spin-out Companies, Vlogٷ Response /discover/news/independent-review-of-university-spin-out-companies-the-university-of-manchester-response/ /discover/news/independent-review-of-university-spin-out-companies-the-university-of-manchester-response/608819Vlogٷ welcomes the published today (21 November). 

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Vlogٷ welcomes the published today (21 November). Professor Irene Tracey and Dr Andrew Williamson have set out the important contribution that UK universities are making to the economy and society through commercialisation of intellectual property generated by their research.

They have recognised the multiple set of actors and processes that need to combine in a successful innovation ecosystem to support founders in the journey from invention to forming a spin-out and then successfully scaling up the company. The Review’s recommendations provide important guidance on the pathway to building a world-leading innovation ecosystem that takes full advantage of national strengths across all of our areas of research excellence and of our regions.

The University will review its intellectual property policies and practice, in collaboration with our partners in the Northern Gritstone investment company, which was established as a positive response to the high concentration of VC funding in London to provide VC funding in the North. We recognise the distinction the report makes between intellectual property intensive areas such as the life sciences and the simpler pathway for some software commercialisation. We welcome the recommendation that the starting point in negotiations should be terms set out in the produced by the group of national and international leaders in university research commercialisation (of which Manchester is a member).

 

Innovation is a core theme for the University. Working through our technology transfer subsidiary, the , we have produced 16 spinouts in the past two years and were in equal first place for this number in 2021/22.

Examples of successes include:

·&Բ;&Բ;&Բ;&Բ;&Բ;&Բ; founded in 2021 to develop the treatment of a leading cause of blindness and other complement-related diseases. The company has been through two funding rounds raising €77m to work on clinical proof-of-concept. This recently won the

·&Բ;&Բ;&Բ;&Բ;&Բ;&Բ; , founded in 2018 which develops processes to manufacture sustainable biosurfactant products for use at commercial scale and has recently opened a commercial plant on a 90,000 sq ft site in Wallasey.

·&Բ;&Բ;&Բ;&Բ;&Բ;&Բ; currently in its second investment round which produces advanced membranes and innovative filtration systems for the production of valuable minerals (including Lithium) and clean water.

The University also supports student start-ups (typically 35 a year with 280 in operation, an 80% long-term survival rate) through our e. Students own their IP so concerns about equity stakes are irrelevant for this important part of the landscape.

A recent example of success is:

·&Բ;&Բ;&Բ;&Բ;&Բ;&Բ; , this month awarded The Spectator’s Innovator of the Year Award for Excellence in Sustainability recognising its groundbreaking developments in the use of graphene to produce a form of polymer-based concrete which reduces carbon emissions by 88%. The company has secured a $1 billion plus joint venture with the Qazar Investment Company to build a factory in the United Arab Emirates.

Our spin-outs benefit from the innovation ecosystem the University is working with partners to build including:

·&Բ;&Բ;&Բ;&Բ;&Բ;&Բ; which has raised £312m to invest in IP-rich start-ups (principally from the three founding universities: Manchester, Sheffield and Leeds) in the North of England;

·&Բ;&Բ;&Բ;&Բ;&Բ;&Բ; , a £1.7 billion innovation district which will provide an ideal base for spin-outs and scale-ups to interact with large corporates; and

·&Բ;&Բ;&Բ;&Բ;&Բ;&Բ; Our extensive range of business-friendly facilities which give start-ups access to equipment and expertise normally only available to multinationals. These include the , , the , the and the .

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Tue, 21 Nov 2023 09:30:00 +0000 https://content.presspage.com/uploads/1369/500_geicfrontelevation116-9smaller.jpg?10000 https://content.presspage.com/uploads/1369/geicfrontelevation116-9smaller.jpg?10000
Vlogٷ is proud to support National Productivity Week /discover/news/proud-to-support-national-productivity-week/ /discover/news/proud-to-support-national-productivity-week/606048A week-long series of events, seminars, conferences and panel discussions has been launched to address the UK’s productivity challenges.

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A week-long series of events, seminars, conferences and panel discussions has been launched to address the UK’s productivity challenges.

National Productivity Week has been organised by The Productivity Institute, the ESRC-funded research body of which Vlogٷ is a member alongside eight other institutions. 

It will run from November 27 to December 1, and will bring together academics, business leaders, policymakers and thinktanks to share insights into - and provide potential solutions for - the productivity slowdown in the UK.

The North West Regional Productivity Forum, led by Vlogٷ, has organised a panel event about changing working patterns as part of the week. The panellists will discuss how companies should respond to increasing demands from some employees for flexibility, opportunities for remote and hybrid working and the growing calls for a four-day working week. To book your place, .

The week will also see The Productivity Institute launch the UK’s first Productivity Agenda, a 10-chapter report written by academics spanning the Universities of Manchester, Cambridge, Cardiff, Kings College London and Warwick, among others. This will highlight nine key areas policymakers need to focus on to address productivity growth in the UK.

Business drivers of productivity

The Productivity Institute has identified five key drivers of productivity, and there are a number of our services that can help businesses with a number of these:

Innovation – our Knowledge Transfer Partnerships can help businesses innovate. Find out more here.

Worker skills, engagement, wellbeing and management competencies – skills and training are major enablers for firms to become more productive, and we know there is a link between productive firms and management practices.   

Productivity research

Our academics have produced a wide range of research relating to productivity. Some highlights include:

uses uniquely detailed large-scale commercial real estate investment data to examine how financial markets perceived the attractiveness of investing in UK regions during the last two decades.

makes the case that integrating equality into the productivity agenda is essential for a medium to long term strategy for raising productivity that aims at improving well-being for all. 

addresses the barriers to improving productivity in our region, and what needs to change to remove these.

To find out more about National Productivity Week, visit

To find out more about The Productivity Institute, visit  

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Thu, 09 Nov 2023 15:53:27 +0000 https://content.presspage.com/uploads/1369/e98ae7be-3e5c-4f44-8d45-aaf3c7e2e090/500_productivityweek.jpg?10000 https://content.presspage.com/uploads/1369/e98ae7be-3e5c-4f44-8d45-aaf3c7e2e090/productivityweek.jpg?10000
University spinout secures funding for next phase of Luminspheres™ reservoir surveillance project /discover/news/university-spinout-secures-funding-for-next-phase-of-luminspheres-reservoir-surveillance-project/ /discover/news/university-spinout-secures-funding-for-next-phase-of-luminspheres-reservoir-surveillance-project/601826University of Manchester spinout company Chromition has received support from the Shell GameChanger programme to progress to the next phase of the joint development programme focused on validating Chromition’s in-line tracer detection system for real-time reservoir surveillance.

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University of Manchester spinout company Chromition has received support from the Shell GameChanger programme to progress to the next phase of the joint development programme focused on validating Chromition’s in-line tracer detection system for real-time reservoir surveillance.

This continued collaboration follows the successful completion of Phase-I of the development programme that centred on testing Luminspheres™-tracers under reservoir conditions in a laboratory setting.  Phase-II of the programme will validate multicoloured Luminspheres™ tracers under flow conditions.

Chromition’s system aims to offer an unprecedentedly detailed characterisation of complex geological environments and enable real-time monitoring of fluid flow between multiple wells facilitating proactive reservoir field management.

Mark McCairn, Chromition’s Chief Executive, said: “Shell’s continued commitment is a testament to the progress achieved to date in developing Chromition’s in-line tracer detection system, which for the first time will enable remote, real-time reservoir surveillance to improve the management of subsurface resources”.

Veronica Simmonds, Commercial Innovation Partnerships Manager/GameChanger, Shell, added: “We are very pleased with the technical progress made by Chromition during Phase-I and decided to grant an approval of the results and endorsement by the Shell GameChanger Tollgate Panel to continue to Phase-II of the programme with us”.

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Thu, 19 Oct 2023 12:25:26 +0100 https://content.presspage.com/uploads/1369/d9a999ca-b1fa-432b-a890-4df5d2b64616/500_luminspheres.jpg?10000 https://content.presspage.com/uploads/1369/d9a999ca-b1fa-432b-a890-4df5d2b64616/luminspheres.jpg?10000
Industrial Biotechnology Innovation Catalyst (IBIC) launches to drive economic growth in the Northwest of England /discover/news/ibic-to-drive-economic-growth-in-northwest/ /discover/news/ibic-to-drive-economic-growth-in-northwest/595418The Industrial Biotechnology Innovation Catalyst (IBIC) is a collaborative initiative based in the Northwest of England, dedicated to accelerating knowledge exchange, impact, and innovation in the field of Industrial Biotechnology (IB). IBIC leverages the region's scientific and research assets to drive economic growth, foster sustainability, and establish the Northwest as a global leader in IB research and innovation. It is led by Vlogٷ, in partnership with the University of Liverpool, Innovation District Manchester and various Civic and Business Partners.

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The Northwest of England is set to become a global hub for Industrial Biotechnology (IB) innovation, thanks to the launch of the Industrial Biotechnology Innovation Catalyst (IBIC). 

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The Northwest of England is set to become a global hub for Industrial Biotechnology (IB) innovation, thanks to the launch of the Industrial Biotechnology Innovation Catalyst (IBIC). 

IBIC is a collaborative initiative, led by Vlogٷ, aimed at harnessing the region's scientific and research expertise to accelerate knowledge exchange, impact, and innovation, while fostering a more productive, research-intensive economy and promoting sustainability.

Industrial Biotechnology is a multi-disciplinary field that utilises biological resources for everyday product development, including food, fuels, and medicines. It is poised for significant growth with a market potential exceeding £34 billion in the UK alone. The confluence of consumer demand, carbon emission targets, and technological advancements requires new approaches to manufacturing, especially using methods that are divested of petrochemical feedstocks, and industrial biotechnology offers the solutions.

Together with the Universities of Liverpool, Manchester Metropolitan, Bolton and Salford, Vlogٷ will lead a consortium of academia and industry and create a cohesive ecosystem for IB innovation. The new £5million EPSRC Place-Based Impact Acceleration Account (PBIAA) builds on an existing critical mass of IB expertise in the Northwest including the Manchester Institute of Biotechnology’s pioneering work (recognised by a Queen’s Anniversary Prize in 2019), major healthcare and biomanufacturing companies like AstraZeneca, Teva, Croda, and Unilever. As well as thriving SME innovation zones, including Daresbury, Liverpool Knowledge Quarter, and Alderley Park, the UK's largest life science campus. 

Professor Miles Padgett, Interim Executive Chair at EPSRC, said:

“I’m pleased to announce our first ten Place Based Impact Acceleration Accounts which will play a unique role in enhancing the capabilities of innovation clusters across the UK. A key priority for UKRI is to strengthen clusters and partnerships in collaboration with civic bodies and businesses, thereby driving regional economic growth.”

Science Minister, George Freeman, said: “Biotechnology delivers for our health, planet, prosperity and beyond and by targeting the North-West through our £41m place-based investment, we can build on the region’s thriving innovation cluster and better integrate the UK’s renowned research activity.

“Our investment will also create hundreds of new jobs, projects and businesses that will in turn drive investment to the region to grow the local and wider UK economy.”

Professor Claire Eyers, Associate Pro Vice Chancellor for Research and Impact in the Faculty of Health and Life Sciences at the University of Liverpool, said: “The University of Liverpool is one of the UK’s leading research-intensive higher education institutions. We pride ourselves in having a long history of working with a variety of organisations and this collaboration allows for the further application of our world-class research to solve real-world challenges.

We very much look forward to working with our regional partners to combine knowledge and expertise and create meaningful and lasting impact for a thriving north-west innovation ecosystem.”

Dr Damian Kelly, Vice President – Innovation & Technology Development at Croda is fully supportive of the initiative: “At Croda we are committed to be climate, land and people positive by 2030. We work to identify functional materials that can be manufactured from widely available, non-fossil materials while also developing low emission processing.  We are looking forward to being an active member of the IBIC ecosystem and engaging with the collaborative mechanisms.”

The launch of IBIC is expected to stimulate significant investments, create numerous job opportunities, foster collaborative projects, and drive economic growth across the region. Building upon the region’s current credentials of a workforce of 25,000 people and a more than £6 billion turnover each year, the cluster is predicted to directly stimulate £2.5M cash and £4M in-kind co-investment, establish 150 collaborative projects, train 200+ students, create up to 100 green jobs, and establish 20+ new commercial ventures which could attract a further £10M in investment. This would see the cluster delivering a minimum 3:1 economic return on public investment over the medium term, with long-term plans to become an independent, business-led cluster of excellence.

For more information about IBIC and its initiatives, contact Professor Miller via email: aline.miller@manchester.ac.uk.

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Fri, 06 Oct 2023 09:00:00 +0100 https://content.presspage.com/uploads/1369/dcfc4edd-19cd-4ce3-a9e6-18b4741859e2/500_mib-0859.jpg?10000 https://content.presspage.com/uploads/1369/dcfc4edd-19cd-4ce3-a9e6-18b4741859e2/mib-0859.jpg?10000
Value of University’s work for society and the economy rated highly in new assessment /discover/news/value-of-universitys-work-for-society-and-the-economy-rated-highly-in-new-assessment/ /discover/news/value-of-universitys-work-for-society-and-the-economy-rated-highly-in-new-assessment/593578Vlogٷ has achieved the highest possible score for its work with intellectual property and commercialisation, research partnerships and public and community engagement in the latest Knowledge Exchange Framework rating by Research England. 

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Vlogٷ has achieved the highest possible score for its work with intellectual property and commercialisation, research partnerships and public and community engagement in the latest Knowledge Exchange Framework rating by Research England. 

The Knowledge Exchange Framework (KEF) is an annual assessment by Research England of the ways English universities engage with society and the economy, locally, nationally, and internationally. This is the third iteration, known as KEF3. 

Intellectual property and commercialisation 

This year, the University achieved the maximum possible rating of very high engagement for intellectual property and commercialisation . 

The achievements of the University’s in licensing, intellectual property income, investment and turnover of spinouts, maintains Manchester’s performance as a leading university for creating new businesses from research and other activity. 

Research partnerships and public and community engagement 

In both research partnerships and public and community engagement, Manchester was highly rated..  

Manchester’s performance in research partnerships, working with business, and working with the public and third sector recognises the work of its Business Engagement and Knowledge Exchange team through collaborative research with partners, contract research and consultancy. 

The University’s leading position in is demonstrated through our sustained commitment to , our Greater Manchester Civic University Agreement, innovative GM Citizens’ Panel, achievements in volunteering, festivals, mutual partnerships, citizen science, policy engagement, patient involvement in research, and engagement with communities through its cultural institutions – Jodrell Bank Discovery Centre, John Rylands Library, Manchester Museum, and the Whitworth Art Gallery.

The results in continuous professional development and graduate start-ups are underpinned by the work within the and

Professor Luke Georghiou, Deputy President and Deputy Vice-Chancellor, said: “Knowledge exchange is a core priority for Vlogٷ. We are delighted to see our achievements continue to be recognised in the KEF3 profile. We shall continue to ensure that our research, teaching and social responsibility activities benefit the economy and society at local, national and global level.” 

Research England has published each university’s performance on on its website. 

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Wed, 27 Sep 2023 12:36:56 +0100 https://content.presspage.com/uploads/1369/8d0a5e1a-f974-4002-b6a4-c5fdfabf18c9/500_business-engagement-services.jpg?10000 https://content.presspage.com/uploads/1369/8d0a5e1a-f974-4002-b6a4-c5fdfabf18c9/business-engagement-services.jpg?10000
Vlogٷ showcases AI and robotics research to the Minister for AI and Intellectual Property /discover/news/the-university-of-manchester-showcases-ai-and-robotics-research-to-the-minister-for-ai-and-intellectual-property/ /discover/news/the-university-of-manchester-showcases-ai-and-robotics-research-to-the-minister-for-ai-and-intellectual-property/587815Vlogٷ has welcomed the Minister for AI and Intellectual Property to learn about its cutting-edge research into AI and Robotics and how it is supporting different industries locally and globally.

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Vlogٷ has welcomed the Minister for AI and Intellectual Property to learn about its cutting-edge research into AI and Robotics and how it is supporting different industries locally and globally.

Viscount Camrose started his tour at Engineering Building A, home to the new international research centre CRADLE (Centre for Robotic Autonomy in Demanding and Long-lasting Environments), where he announced the countdown to the centre’s official opening in November.

The Minister was guided by Professor Barry Lennox, The University of Manchester’s Centre for Robotics and AI Co-Director, where he learnt all about the interdisciplinary research going on in the centre, including a demonstration of a robot named Lyra, built to help transform nuclear infrastructure inspection.

Lyra was used to survey one of the radiologically contaminated ducts in Dounreay. It performed the equivalent of more than 400 air-fed suited entries into the site, equal to 2,250 man-hours. This capability reduced costs by an estimated £5m and it is predicted that similar surveys could save decommissioning costs by a further £500m in the future.

The Minister then took a tour of the Graphene Engineering Innovation Centre (GEIC), taking in its energy storage labs, printing lab facilities and construction materials testing facility, before making his way to ID Manchester and the location for the (TIC); a project which aims to link businesses to cutting-edge AI research and technologies to help enhance productivity.

John Holden, Associate Vice-President for Major Special Projects at Vlogٷ, said: “I was delighted to welcome the minister to Vlogٷ and to show him the leading-edge research and development activity we are undertaking in areas critical to the UK’s future economic growth and prosperity, including our pioneering work in AI and robotics.

“Funding research and development in universities is critical to regional and national efforts to improve productivity across all industries, and the visit was an opportunity to highlight to the minister how we are accelerating the translation of our research base into industrial application through initiatives such as GEIC and the Turing Innovation Catalyst.

“The visit was also an opportunity to highlight the major opportunity that ID Manchester represents for the region and UK – our plan to transform eight hectares of the North Campus into a commercially-led innovation district will create a world-leading innovation ecosystem around the University and has the potential to create 10,000 high quality jobs in research and development intensive sectors linked to the University’s capabilities over the next 10-15 years.”

The Minister for AI and Intellectual Property, Viscount Camrose, added: “Greater Manchester has long been at the forefront of science and innovation in this country, from the first splitting of the atom to the invention of the first computer.

“By engaging closely with partners including Vlogٷ, businesses and local government, we can continue to grow our innovation economy across the country and level-up the UK.

“It was great to see first-hand some of the fantastic Government-backed research in Manchester, such as the development of graphene applications at the GEIC, CRADLE’s cutting-edge innovations in robotics, as well as some of the projects underway through our £100m Innovation Accelerators programme such as the Turing Innovation Catalyst, the Centre for Digital Innovation and the Immersive Technologies Innovation Hub.”

The visit ended with a round-table discussion about the . Led by Innovate UK on behalf of the Department for Science, Innovation Technology (DSIT), the pilot programme is investing £100m in 26 transformative R&D projects to accelerate the growth of three high-potential innovation clusters – Greater Manchester, Glasgow City Region and the West Midlands.

Leaders from three AI-related projects backed by the Innovation Accelerator – the Turing Innovation Catalyst, led by Vlogٷ, the Centre for Digital Innovation, led by Manchester Metropolitan University, and the MediaCity Immersive Technologies Innovation Hub, led by The Landing at MediaCityUK – attended the round-table. They were joined by Cllr Bev Craig, Leader of Manchester City Council and Greater Manchester lead for Economy, Business and International, and representatives from Greater Manchester Combined Authority (GMCA).

Participants discussed how to strengthen connections between these projects and maximise their value, and other national initiatives to support AI and related technologies.

Cllr Bev Craig, Leader of Manchester City Council and GMCA Lead for Economy and Business, said: “Today’s visit provided a fantastic opportunity for the minister to learn more about the groundbreaking research and innovation happening right here in Greater Manchester, and particularly at Vlogٷ.

“In recent years we have grown a reputation as a leading digital city-region, with AI as an important emerging sub-sector. As the impact of AI on our economy and society continues to grow, Greater Manchester is well-placed, with the potential to go even further.

“We also held a productive discussion about Greater Manchester’s Innovation Accelerator programme and its AI-related projects. Through the Innovation Accelerator we are piloting a new model of R&D decision making that empowers local leaders to harness innovation in support of regional economic growth.”

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Fri, 01 Sep 2023 15:49:33 +0100 https://content.presspage.com/uploads/1369/6dc79d26-be80-48da-9478-bef388ba5bf8/500_viscountcamroseandbarrylennox.png?10000 https://content.presspage.com/uploads/1369/6dc79d26-be80-48da-9478-bef388ba5bf8/viscountcamroseandbarrylennox.png?10000
Public consultation launches for new £1.7bn innovation district ID Manchester /discover/news/public-consultation-launches-for-new-17bn-innovation-district-id-manchester/ /discover/news/public-consultation-launches-for-new-17bn-innovation-district-id-manchester/581149Images of the illustrative masterplan for Manchester’s trailblazing new city centre innovation district have been revealed as ID Manchester’s draft Strategic Regeneration Framework (SRF) is published and a formal public consultation period begins.

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Images of the illustrative masterplan for Manchester’s trailblazing new city centre innovation district have been revealed as ID Manchester’s draft Strategic Regeneration Framework (SRF) is published and a formal public consultation period begins.

Local residents, businesses and stakeholders are being invited to review the plans online from today, Friday 14 July. Throughout the summer, the public will have the opportunity to ask questions and share feedback through online channels and in-person community consultation events run by the ID Manchester partnership, a joint venture between Vlogٷ and Bruntwood SciTech.

The ID Manchester partnership will be popping up in the city centre over the summer and holding a community event at Brunswick Parish Church on Wednesday 6 September. More information on the project and consultation activities can be found on the , along with an online questionnaire to submit feedback.

The newly published draft SRF sets out the scale, ambition and opportunities that ID Manchester brings to the city and includes a series of place-based principles that will guide detailed plans for development and future planning applications, and ensure the vision for ID Manchester to be recognised as one of the world’s leading applied innovation districts is realised.

Illustrative images of what the district could look like are shared in the SRF, including a new civic square, a revitalised Vimto Park and the repurposing of key heritage assets such as the Sackville Street and Renold buildings.

The SRF also details ID Manchester’s aim to build a diverse and inclusive community of innovators, and transform what was a purpose-built academic campus into a welcoming and accessible new area of the city. Through creative repurposing of existing buildings and spaces, such as the Pariser and Renold buildings, a “meanwhile” use strategy has been implemented to bring early activation to the site ahead of redevelopment, with a mix of commercial office, lab and makerspace premises, pop-up retail and leisure spaces, events and programmed activities focused on science, technology, arts, culture and innovation.

Once completed, ID Manchester will create over 10,000 new jobs and bring significant economic, social and environmental benefits to the city. Totaling over 4 million sq ft, the illustrative masterplan has the potential to accommodate over 2 million sq ft of commercial and retail space, and over 1,500 homes.

The draft SRF for ID Manchester was approved for public consultation by Manchester City Council’s Executive Committee on 28 June 2023. The public consultation will run from 14 July 2023 until 8 September 2023. Feedback and responses gathered through the ID Manchester and events will be reported to Manchester City Council as part of the consultation process. Responses to the consultation can also be made directly to Manchester City Council via its .

Project partners Vlogٷ and Bruntwood SciTech, a 50:50 joint venture between Bruntwood and Legal & General, have produced the SRF in collaboration with a world-class design team and specialist consultants, including: Allies and Morrison, SLA, Stanhope, Deloitte, ARUP, Stephen Levrant Heritage Architecture, Useful Projects, Ekosgen and Arcadis.

Speaking on behalf of Bruntwood SciTech, Lou Cordwell OBE, ID Manchester Director said: “We’re very excited to share our proposed plans for ID Manchester and hear from the public on their ideas for this new district, particularly on how we can start to build a community through ID Manchester and bring early life to the site through our ‘meanwhile’ activity. As well as becoming a world leading tech and science location that helps to put Manchester on the global innovation map, we want to create an exemplar for inclusive innovation. Close collaboration with local residents and businesses will be integral to ensuring communities across Greater Manchester benefit from the future success of ID Manchester.”

John Holden, Associate Vice-President for Major Special Projects, Vlogٷ said: “This is a key milestone in delivering our vision for ID Manchester and we’re excited to share our plans with the public. ID Manchester will see the transformation of the University's North campus, breathing new life into the site with a renewed purpose to drive positive economic, social and environmental change through innovation. For over a century, the site has been a centre for science, teaching and innovation, and ID Manchester will build on that history. We look forward to engaging with the public and the University’s stakeholders to hear their views on how ID Manchester can benefit residents and businesses across Greater Manchester.”

Bev Craig, Leader of Manchester City Council said: “Manchester remains a fast growing and constantly changing city that puts people at its heart. ID Manchester will add to the collective strength, innovation and learning that has ensured the wider Oxford Road Corridor is a place of global renown. This is an opportunity for our residents to input and help guide this development through the pre-planning stages and influence the birth of a new neighbourhood in our city centre. I would urge our residents and businesses to make their voices heard.”

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Fri, 14 Jul 2023 09:47:21 +0100 https://content.presspage.com/uploads/1369/6a8cd2b1-b880-4740-bb99-a4368e324e5f/500_illustrativeimageofthenewcivicsquare.jpg?10000 https://content.presspage.com/uploads/1369/6a8cd2b1-b880-4740-bb99-a4368e324e5f/illustrativeimageofthenewcivicsquare.jpg?10000
Leading Universities and Investors Launch Set of Recommendations for the Innovation Sector /discover/news/leading-universities-and-investors-launch-set-of-recommendations-for-the-innovation-sector/ /discover/news/leading-universities-and-investors-launch-set-of-recommendations-for-the-innovation-sector/571810The UK’s potential as a science super-power has been given a significant boost today with the launch of unique guidance that will accelerate and support the founding of a new generation of start-ups.

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The UK’s potential as a science super-power has been given a significant boost today with the launch of unique guidance that will accelerate and support the founding of a new generation of start-ups.

Leading investors and universities have come together to launch the USIT Guide which aims to put rocket boosters under the way that the Higher Education sector spins out new companies that take advantage of research breakthroughs.

Many of this country’s most successful technology firms – Solexa, Oxford Nanopore, ARM – started off life as spin-outs from a university, and the publication’s authors believe many more will now be forthcoming.

This is an area that the UK already excels in. London’s universities, for example, are more efficient in turning research and development expenditure into spinout companies than many others. They produce a spinout for every £35.35 million invested in research and development compared with £60.42 million, £42.6 million and £54.5 million for Boston, Los Angeles and New York, respectively.

Between them the group behind the new guidance – which includes venture capitalist firms Abingworth, Sofinnova and Cambridge Investment Capital, and universities Oxford, Imperial and UCL – has helped set up 376 new companies in the last five years, raising over £8.6 billion in investment.

But the USIT Guide’s backers believe it can build on this success and allow both universities and venture capitalists to ramp up the whole process of setting up spin-outs by providing direction and advice in such areas as equity share and IP. As it stands, many of these deals are created from scratch, which is both inefficient and sometimes fails to learn the lessons from previous success stories.

The publication, which is supported by TenU, a group of university technology transfer offices in the UK and US, including MIT, Stanford and Columbia, reflects successful practice around the world.

Diarmuid O’Brien, Chief Executive of Cambridge Enterprise and chair of the USIT Guide working group, said: “The USIT Guide can unlock the full potential from UK universities research, helping to create more spin-outs faster and attracting increased venture investment. USIT can support our universities create the companies that can contribute to solving the great challenges of our time, from climate to health and the digital revolution.”

Jessica Corner, the Executive Chair of Research England, which funded the initiative, said: “The USIT Guide has come out of the deep professionalism and commitment of UK tech transfer offices to collaboration: sharing approaches internationally, and working with others – particularly investors – to make our ecosystem more effective.”

Andrew Wilkinson, CEO of the University of Manchester Innovation Factory said: “TenU provides an invaluable informal platform to understand how national governments, investors and the Universities can collaborate together more effectively to ensure that the fantastic research from our world-leading institutions can create positive social, economic, and environmental impact.  Having members from the UK, the USA and mainland Europe enables us to identify the differences and similarities between the approaches we all take to IP commercialisation and dispel some of the misunderstandings about the way things are done and challenges in different geographies.”

In the past three years, the University of Manchester Innovation Factory has helped UoM academics create 32 IP-rich spinouts (9 in 2019-20, 13 in 20-21, 10 in 21-22) and has generated licensing income of £13.85M from third party non-spinout licensees.  In addition, £9.8M in first-time investment into UoM spinouts has been secured, helping to grow these Manchester-born spinouts.

Research from Manchester and other UK universities promises to be the engine room of the new economy. If universities partner effectively with business and government, these spinouts will generate significant wealth throughout the north of England, creating companies, employing people and raising productivity.

With a team of 44 and drawing on the research and expertise of the University’s academics and students, the Innovation Factory assesses and scopes research with IP potential and advises startups on critical legal, investment and asset management issues as they scale up.

A copy of The USIT Guide is .

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Fri, 28 Apr 2023 15:33:51 +0100 https://content.presspage.com/uploads/1369/500_iron_bird_13.jpg?10000 https://content.presspage.com/uploads/1369/iron_bird_13.jpg?10000
University spinout Complement Therapeutics secures €72 million to tackle diseases including leading cause of blindness /discover/news/university-spinout-complement-therapeutics-secures-72-million-to-tackle-diseases-including-leading-cause-of-blindness/ /discover/news/university-spinout-complement-therapeutics-secures-72-million-to-tackle-diseases-including-leading-cause-of-blindness/570257A preclinical biotechnology company, spun out of Vlogٷ, has announced the completion of a €72 million finance deal to develop the treatment of a leading cause of blindness.

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A preclinical biotechnology company, spun out of Vlogٷ, has announced the completion of a €72 million finance deal to develop the treatment of a leading cause of blindness.

The Germany-based company, called Complement Therapeutics GmbH (), specialises in disorders that affect the part of the body's immune system called the Complement cascade.

The complement cascade is a part of the immune system that enhances the ability of antibodies and phagocytic cells to clear microbes and damaged cells from an organism.

Complement cascade disorders cause various health problems, including Geographic atrophy (GA) - or late-stage dry age-related macular degeneration - a chronic eye condition that causes blindness in millions of people globally and for which there is currently no available treatment in the UK.

The Company has subsidiaries in the UK (Complement Therapeutics Ltd) and in the USA (Complement Therapeutics Inc) as well as research laboratories in Stevenage, UK. 

The financing will allow CTx to continue the development and complete a Phase Ib clinical proof of concept of its lead treatment, called CTx001, for GA.

Proceeds from the financing will also be deployed to grow its laboratory-based activities in Stevenage (UK), evaluate CTx’s additional new medicines for non-ocular indications as well as further develop the novel Complement Precision Medicine (CPM) platform.

As scientists’ understanding of the complement cascade improves, we now know that complement plays a pivotal role in disease, with new insights creating the opportunities for identifying and developing new therapeutic strategies.

Based on pioneering research of the company’s founders, Prof Simon Clark, Prof Paul Bishop and Dr Richard Unwin from Vlogٷ, Complement Therapeutics aims to develop innovative and effective therapeutics to address unmet needs in complement mediated diseases.

Through an extensive programme of translational research the scientists have gained powerful new insights into the ways the Complement cascade works and how it is dysregulated in age-related macular degeneration.

CTx was spun out of the University of Manchester Innovation Factory with initial funding from BGV in 2021 and subsequently received €5 million seed funding in February 2022 from Forbion and BGV.

With that funding, CTx has advanced CTx001 through preclinical proof-of-concept, secured an Innovation Passport by the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) and initiated a non-interventional natural history study in the UK (i-GAIN). The i-GAIN study results will help support the clinical development planning for CTx001. 

Dr Rafiq Hasan, CEO and Managing Director at Complement Therapeutics GmbH said: “With a potentially highly differentiated lead asset combined with a precision medicine approach, we are excited by the opportunity to further develop CTx001 for the treatment of GA through to the clinic. The support of this broad syndicate enables us to generate additional data demonstrating CTx001’s unique and differentiated mechanism of action, with the potential to transform the treatment landscape in geographic atrophy.”

Dr Richard Unwin, Senior Lecturer at Vlogٷ and one of the co-founders of the company said : “This is a hugely exciting step forward which will allow us to take observations we have made in the lab here in Manchester and move them towards developing new treatments for a range of common and serious complement-mediated diseases. By combing new therapies with our bespoke precision medicine platform we have the potential to make a real difference to the lives of patients with these debilitating disorders.”

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Thu, 20 Apr 2023 15:55:00 +0100 https://content.presspage.com/uploads/1369/500_eyeshot.jpg?10000 https://content.presspage.com/uploads/1369/eyeshot.jpg?10000
Manchester spin-out signs $1 billion game-changing deal to help tackle global sustainability challenges /discover/news/manchester-spin-out-signs-1billion-game-changing-deal-to-help-tackle-global-sustainability-challenges/ /discover/news/manchester-spin-out-signs-1billion-game-changing-deal-to-help-tackle-global-sustainability-challenges/569240A spin-out company from the graphene innovation ecosystem at Vlogٷ has formed an international partnership that will spearhead an unprecedented scale-up of graphene-based technologies intended “to make a substantial impact on global CO2 𳾾DzԲ”.

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A spin-out company from the innovation ecosystem at Vlogٷ has formed an international partnership that will spearhead an unprecedented scale-up of graphene-based technologies intended “to make a substantial impact on global CO2 𳾾DzԲ”.     

UK-based Graphene Innovations Manchester Ltd (GIM), founded by University graduate Dr Vivek Koncherry, has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with to create a new company in the UAE.

This exciting UK-UAE partnership - which highlights potential opportunity for UK innovators to access global investment and international markets and supply chains - will be one of the most ambitious projects to date to commercialise graphene as it fast-tracks cutting-edge R&D into large-scale manufacture – an investment vision worth a total of $1billion.

This new venture will develop and produce premium, environmentally-friendly products using advanced 2D materials, including breakthrough graphene-enhanced concrete that does not need cement or water and can be made using recycled materials.

Dr Vivek Koncherry, CEO of Graphene Innovations Manchester, based in Manchester’s (GEIC), said: "We are proud to be associated with Quazar so that we can assemble a powerful world-class team to provide us the opportunity to massively deploy our graphene-based technologies.”

Waleed Al Ali, CEO of Quazar, who will be active in helping bring the new company to successful, large-scale commercialisation, said: "The new graphene company will take a global lead in making environmentally friendly concrete and other products. We are glad that Quazar can play an active role in helping fulfil the UAE's His Highness Sheikh Saeed Bin Hamdan Bin Mohamed Al Nahyan's support for the UAE Vision 2030”.

James Baker, CEO of Graphene@Manchester, added: “This agreement with our GEIC partner Graphene Innovations Manchester and Quazar is a seminal moment for the commercialisation of graphene as it demonstrates huge confidence in the potential for this advanced material to help lead our transition into a net zero world.

“It is also a very proud moment for the Graphene@Manchester community as it confirms that our innovation ecosystem is providing exactly the right platform to nurture pioneering R&D into graphene and other 2D materials that is world-class.

“Manchester is known as the ‘home of graphene’ – but increasingly, it’s also being recognised as the home to its commercialisation potential. We are therefore able to form international partnerships, such as those in the UAE, based on this reputation; and from this position of strength we can place our city-region and the UK more generally into graphene’s global economy.

“As Greater Manchester further develops its innovation and manufacturing potential – all underpinned with the University’s leadership in advanced materials - this city-regional will have great opportunities with access to international supply chains, foreign investment and global markets.”       

As part of this ambition a new ‘Sustainable Materials Translational Research Centre’ is set to be created by the multi-million pound Greater Manchester Innovation Accelerator programme. The new centre is a partnership with the University’s, the, the High Value Manufacturing Catapult, and Rochdale Development Agency, and aims to connect local businesses to national opportunities, all underpinned with outstanding materials research.

The scheme is linked  to the zone and a said “… Vlogٷ's expertise in material science” could potentially support a northern economic powerhouse.

Furthermore, the graphene innovation ecosystem at Vlogٷ has recently been cited as an exemplar in attracting inward investment into the local regional economy – and therefore helping to boost the UK’s ‘levelling up’ agenda. The spotlight comes in a report entitled,   published by universities think-tank the Higher Education Policy Institute (HEPI).

A strategic partnerships that is highlighted is the ambitious agreement between the University and Abu Dhabi-based Khalifa University of Science and Technology which aims to deliver a funding boost for graphene innovation to develop new sustainable technologies. Attracting international funding to the North-West is also helping the UK government level-up R&D spending across the nation.

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Tue, 11 Apr 2023 13:18:12 +0100 https://content.presspage.com/uploads/1369/eb4633a2-aad7-4159-ad47-74a272e22bb7/500_gim-quazarsigning.jpg?10000 https://content.presspage.com/uploads/1369/eb4633a2-aad7-4159-ad47-74a272e22bb7/gim-quazarsigning.jpg?10000
World-first ‘super peptide’ technology bio-hacks the skin’s natural repair process /discover/news/world-first-super-peptide-technology-bio-hacks-the-skins-natural-repair-process/ /discover/news/world-first-super-peptide-technology-bio-hacks-the-skins-natural-repair-process/568788Scientists at skincare brand No7  and Vlogٷ, have announced the creation of a new ‘super peptide’ blend proven to bio-hack the skin’s natural repair process, signalling renewal of over 50 key proteins including collagen and fibrillin in skin cells. The matrix-derived super peptide blend – which represents the biggest cosmetic science innovation in No7’s history – contains two brand-new chemical entities, a patent-pending world-first technology that cannot be found in any other product.

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Scientists at skincare brand No7  and Vlogٷ, have announced the creation of a new ‘super peptide’ blend proven to bio-hack the skin’s natural repair process, signalling renewal of over 50 key proteins including collagen and fibrillin in skin cells. The matrix-derived super peptide blend – which represents the biggest cosmetic science innovation in No7’s history – contains two brand-new chemical entities, a patent-pending world-first technology that cannot be found in any other product.

The discovery follows 15 years of research and innovation using scientific methods and approaches that are more akin to medical research and rarely seen in cosmetic product development. The new peptide blend was developed using cutting edge British R&D across several fields of science and technology including advanced robotics, mathematical modelling, bioinformatics, machine learning, cell biology and cosmetic science.

“With 87 years of innovation and scientific firsts, No7 prides itself on ensuring its products provide customers with exceptional results,” said No7’s Head of Science Research Dr Mike Bell.  The new peptide blend effectively tricks the skin into thinking that it has been damaged to signal renewal of key proteins such as collagen and fibrillin to boost skin’s natural self-repair mechanisms, targeting signs of cumulative damage both on and under the surface. The result is a brand-new peptide blend which we believe will be a game changer for our consumers.

“Underpinning this discovery is No7’s long-standing research partnership with brilliant scientists at Vlogٷ. Together we utilised new state-of-the-art methodologies and techniques such as machine learning and bioinformatics to identify and screen naturally-occurring skin efficacious peptides – a first for the cosmetics industry.”

Mike Sherratt, Professor of Biochemistry at Vlogٷ, comments: “Today the field of peptide technology research is booming, with exciting new discoveries and applications being used in therapeutic medical settings as well as in cosmetic science. This novel and revolutionary peptide innovation could only have been developed from having a deep understanding of skin damage.”

Five peer reviewed papers form the science backdrop to this latest innovation from No7 and Vlogٷ, with a further manuscript recently submitted to high impact science journal. Research presented at the American Academy of Dermatology’s annual conference in Louisiana revealed the new peptide blend is proven to enhance the expression of over 50 key skin proteins, including collagen and fibrillin, which support skin function and natural self-repair.  

No7’s new super peptide is set to be one of the most effective and tolerated skincare ingredients on the cosmetic market. Unlike retinoic acid, which is known by dermatologists to cause tolerance challenges such as skin sensitivity and redness, No7's new super peptide is both highly potent and also highly tolerated, being suitable even for those with sensitive skin. This paves the way to making gold standard skin repair available to even more people.

Cutting-edge Technology

Machine learning was utilised to identify naturally-occurring peptide sequences released from key skin molecules including collagens and elastic-fibre proteins, which were then tested using state-of-the-art omics techniques to characterise their skin remodelling activity and find the most powerful for deep down skin repair. 

Scientists evaluated thousands of possible peptide combinations to identify this new super peptide, a blend of two novel synthetic tetra-peptides, pal-GPKG and pal-LSVD, which mimic naturally occurring peptides in the skin to boost the skin’s natural self-repair function.

Robotic technology at the University of Liverpool’s Materials Innovation Factory and mathematical modelling techniques were used to optimise the formulation textures and delivery system for penetration of the peptides to where they are needed and work the best. As a result, penetration is predicted to be 50% better than existing formulations. 

The new super peptide technology has been met with excitement from the global scientific community with the technology due to be presented at three world leading scientific conferences this Spring including the American Academy of Dermatology (AAD) Annual Conference in Louisiana, the British Society for Investigative Dermatology (BSID) Annual Meeting in Glasgow and the International Societies for Investigative Dermatology (ISID) meeting in Tokyo. 

Dr Matiss Ozols, formerly of Vlogٷ and now based at the Wellcome Sanger Institute, comments: “Application of this peptide discovery pipeline to other tissues could profoundly advance the treatment of age-related diseases, providing novel treatments inspired by the body’s natural self-repair mechanisms. I’m excited by the possibilities!”

This discovery builds on a long history of scientific innovation for No7; the brand was the first to prove that non-medical cosmetic products worked when the scientific efficacy of the No7 Protect and Perfect Serum was verified on BBC Horizon in 2007. In 2009 No7 was the first to publish a 12-month study on an anti-ageing cosmetic product showing clinical wrinkle improvements in a paper published in the British Journal of Dermatology.

Patent applications have been submitted and are pending for both the new peptides and the delivery system.

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Mon, 10 Apr 2023 08:49:00 +0100 https://content.presspage.com/uploads/1369/3ccfdc6a-49fc-4178-a1df-0a551cf80d41/500_fullrange.jpg?10000 https://content.presspage.com/uploads/1369/3ccfdc6a-49fc-4178-a1df-0a551cf80d41/fullrange.jpg?10000
Manchester partners with National Grid to progress three net zero innovation projects /discover/news/manchester-partners-with-national-grid-to-progress-three-net-zero-innovation-projects/ /discover/news/manchester-partners-with-national-grid-to-progress-three-net-zero-innovation-projects/568664Vlogٷ is a partner in three projects, to be delivered by National Grid, as part of the second ‘discovery’ phase of Ofgem’s (SIF) programme.

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Vlogٷ is a partner in three projects, to be delivered by National Grid, as part of the second ‘discovery’ phase of Ofgem’s (SIF) programme. 

The ambitious innovation projects will provide critical insight and research to help inform the future development of a net zero energy system at the same time as delivering significant benefits to consumers. 

National Grid Electricity Transmission has been awarded £396,000 to fund the following projects, in which Manchester will be playing a vital role: 

  • Superconductor OHLs: This project will investigate technology to increase power flow capability on existing overhead lines. Novel high temperature superconductor (HTS) technology could be implemented on existing lines, increasing power flow capability up to ten-fold at the same voltage level.  
  • SF6 replacement strategy: Development of a long-term strategy to expedite the efficient rollout of SF6 replacements and remove the gas from the network at minimum cost to the consumer, with new builds and retro filling options considered across different asset profiles.  
  • WELLNESS: A project to assess whole energy system resilience and develop a framework suited to the energy transition whilst protecting consumers – ensuring the network is reliable to known and credible threats, but also resilient to less frequent but more extreme disasters.  

Dr Vidyadhar Peesapati at Vlogٷ said: “The SIF programme provides a unique opportunity for us to continue our engagement with National Grid, in evaluating and de-risking a range innovations and solutions that will expedite the transition to net zero.” 

Nicola Todd, Head of Strategy and Innovation at National Grid Electricity Transmission, added: “It’s great to see National Grid leading the way with the sort of ambitious thinking needed to tackle some of the biggest challenges in energy. This funding will help drive progress on a raft of innovative projects, from new technologies to boost network capacity, to how we reduce our dependency on the greenhouse gas SF6

“Work on these initiatives is helping to shape the future of Britain’s energy networks and accelerating the transition to net zero, at lowest cost to consumers.” 

At Manchester, our energy experts are committed to delivering an equitable and prosperous net zero energy future. By matching science and engineering, with social science, economics, politics and arts, the University’s community of 600+ experts address the entire lifecycle of each energy challenge, creating innovative and enduring solutions to make a difference to the lives of people around the globe. This enables the university’s research community to develop pathways to ensure a low carbon energy transition that will also drive jobs, prosperity, resilience and equality. 

Full details of the funding for Ofgem’s SIF scheme, which is managed in partnership with Innovate UK, can be found on its website at:  

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Tue, 04 Apr 2023 11:01:00 +0100 https://content.presspage.com/uploads/1369/3c7cb00b-e5ce-4ec4-b837-fb99d0de157e/500_shutterstock-2176504575.jpg?10000 https://content.presspage.com/uploads/1369/3c7cb00b-e5ce-4ec4-b837-fb99d0de157e/shutterstock-2176504575.jpg?10000
GEIC partner NERD boosted by Arup and Black Swan deals on Concretene /discover/news/geic-partner-nerd-boosted-by-arup-and-black-swan-deals-on-concretene/ /discover/news/geic-partner-nerd-boosted-by-arup-and-black-swan-deals-on-concretene/567400The ’s growing commercial ecosystem around advanced materials has been strengthened by equity deals between GEIC Tier 1 partner Nationwide Engineering Research & Development (NERD), global engineering consultancy and international graphene supplier - and fellow GEIC partner - .

NERD’s key technological advance is Concretene - a graphene-enhanced admixture for concrete that has demonstrated the ability to reduce CO2 emissions by around 30%. The product has been developed in partnership with Vlogٷ. 

Arup provides design, engineering, architecture, planning and advisory services across all aspects of the built environment. Its extensive global portfolio of engineering achievements includes Paris’s Pompidou Centre, London’s Shard and New York’s Second Avenue Subway. The deal with Arup provides 4.2% equity in NERD in exchange for collaboration and expertise towards global roll-out of the technology. 

Black Swan Graphene is a producer of low-cost and high-performance graphene powders, derived from graphite, ideally suited for the concrete industry. Black Swan’s graphene technology was originally developed by and advanced internally until the launch of Black Swan in 2021.

Black Swan, a Tier 2 partner of the GEIC, intends to increase its graphene production significantly within the graphite production facility of , currently in operation in Quebec, Canada, thereby creating an integrated facility from graphite ore in the ground to finished graphene products. 

At the core of the partnership between Black Swan and NERD is the completion of an equity swap where each company will own approximately 5% of the outstanding shares of the other (the “Equity Swap”), and the execution of a supply agreement between the two companies (the “Supply Agreement”) under which NERD will be sourcing its graphene requirements from Black Swan.

Rob Hibberd, CEO of Nationwide Engineering Research & Development, commented: “We are delighted to formalise these partnerships with Black Swan and Arup as part of NERD and we look forward to combining our skillsets to deliver Concretene to the construction industry in our drive to reduce global CO2 emissions.

“This is further enhanced by our unique, long-term research collaboration with Vlogٷ to further understand the complex world of nanomaterial technology. We see Concretene as the first product of many that this partnership will develop, with progress in paints, polymers and asphalt already in advanced stages as well.”

James Baker, CEO of Graphene@Manchester said: “Concretene is a great example of what Graphene@Manchester is seeking to achieve: using our expertise in the GEIC and broader UoM capabilities to develop innovative ideas around graphene and 2D materials with industrial partners, attracting investment - such as these deals with Arup and Black Swan - and ultimately accelerating the bringing of products and applications to market. 

“Graphene-enhanced concrete is a potential game-changer for sustainability in the construction sector.”

Matt Lovell, Director at Arup, said: “Continued innovation in the production of concrete can drive the construction industry’s journey towards net zero carbon emissions. Supporting that transformative change with our NERD partnership furthers Arup’s goal of shaping a better, more sustainable world.

“We look forward to using our commercial know-how and deep expertise in the built environment to help NERD’s innovators realise the full potential of Concretene.” 

Simon Marcotte, President and CEO of Black Swan, commented: “The partnerships announced today are poised to have far-reaching implications for the global concrete industry. By leveraging the exceptional performance of the NERD process and Arup's expertise, reach and leadership, this integrated supply chain can provide a turnkey solution and revolutionize the concrete industry on a global scale.

“Considering that concrete is the second-most-utilized material on Earth, surpassed only by water, it is difficult to imagine a more exciting opportunity. I am very optimistic about the impact of this collaboration and its potential to catalyse sustainable and innovative practices in the industry.

In late December 2022, NERD announced an £8 million raise of funding from , EMEA’s most successful investor in unicorns at SEED stage. The company has since confirmed Tier 1 membership of the GEIC – a three-year deal to collaborate on R&D projects – and made a multi-million-pound commitment to sponsoring a new senior leadership role at Vlogٷ.

The new Chair of Construction Materials will specialise in research into cementitious materials and the potential for advanced materials such as graphene to make a game-changing difference to the sustainability of our built environment.

NERD envisages a three-year journey to full commercial roll-out of Concretene to the wider construction industry, alongside project partners including Heathrow and Manchester Airports, Network Rail, National Highways and the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority. 

These early adopters will see immediate benefits through reductions in embodied carbon, while assisting in the programme of laboratory work and large-scale field trials that will ultimately prove the reliability, reproducibility and cost profile needed for successful commercial deployment of the technology.

(l-r) Matt Lovell, Director at Arup; Dr Craig Dawson, Chief Scientific Officer, NERD; Alex McDermott, Co-founder, NERD; Rob Hibberd, Co-founder, NERD; Michael Edwards, Chief Operating Officer, Black Swan Graphene

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Tue, 28 Mar 2023 14:49:02 +0100 https://content.presspage.com/uploads/1369/8fcf616e-a31f-4fb8-aaf5-0645c103f59a/500_nerdgeiclab3plusarup-bscrop.jpg?10000 https://content.presspage.com/uploads/1369/8fcf616e-a31f-4fb8-aaf5-0645c103f59a/nerdgeiclab3plusarup-bscrop.jpg?10000
Two University start-ups included in leading European list of young tech spinout companies /discover/news/two-university-start-ups-included-in-leading-european-list-of-young-tech-spinout-companies/ /discover/news/two-university-start-ups-included-in-leading-european-list-of-young-tech-spinout-companies/565474Two startup businesses from the University of Manchester Innovation Factory have been named in a top ten of ‘university spinouts to watch’.

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Two start-up businesses from have been named in a top ten of ‘university spinouts to watch’.

The list is in , Europe’s influential media monitor of European tech start-ups.  Backed by the Financial Times, Sifted is the leading media brand for the European start-up community.

Two of the top ten highlighted start-ups – and – have been created and nurtured within the University of Manchester Innovation Factory (UoMIF).

Sifted says: “There’s a new generation of entrepreneurs taking the European tech scene by storm.  From Madrid to Milan, Bucharest to Berlin, startup innovators are rewriting the economy’s rules and making waves across the continent. With some 98 cities producing at least one tech unicorn (so far) — Europe has created a decentralised Silicon Valley.”

Under UoMIF’s CEO Andrew Wilkinson, the technology transfer organisation has created 32 IP-rich spinout companies in the three years.

Sifted’s ‘top ten university spinouts to watch out for’ says: “Watercycle Technologies is a University of Manchester (UoM) climate tech spinout. The company has patented a filtration process that can extract lithium from sub-surface waters — which could be huge for the EV space, which needs lithium in huge quantities for making batteries. It’s also working with Cornish Lithium, which focuses on environmentally responsible lithium extraction.”

 “FOTENIX is another UoM spinout, which uses its IP-protected machine learning and 3D imaging tech to detect diseases and pests and improve harvest quality. Brexit, climate change and the Ukraine war are putting unprecedented pressure on crop yield, and we’re seeing a growing demand for tech in this space.”

Andrew Wilkinson, CEO of Vlogٷ Innovation Factory said: “It’s great that these two innovative University of Manchester spinout companies have been recognised as being among the very best European tech startups. Both these businesses are led by brilliant young entrepreneurs and have the potential to make an enormous environmental, social and economic impact in their target markets, as well as fantastic returns for their investors.”

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Tue, 21 Mar 2023 15:58:00 +0000 https://content.presspage.com/uploads/1369/500_watercycletechnologiesteam.jpg?10000 https://content.presspage.com/uploads/1369/watercycletechnologiesteam.jpg?10000
Manchester remains the favourite university of UK’s top employers /discover/news/manchester-remains-the-favourite-university-of-uks-top-employers/ /discover/news/manchester-remains-the-favourite-university-of-uks-top-employers/565264Vlogٷ has retained its position as the most targeted university by the UK’s top 100 recruiters, according to a report compiled by High Fliers Research.

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Vlogٷ has retained its position as the most targeted university by the UK’s top 100 recruiters, according to a report compiled by High Fliers Research.

is the largest and most authoritative annual careers survey of final year students at the UK's thirty leading universities.

Featuring in the top spot for two years running, Vlogٷ was praised for attracting the most top graduate employers for its range of university careers fairs, on-campus employer presentations, university-specific virtual events, careers service promotions and initiatives, alongside other locally-run publicity during the last year.

The is the eighteenth year that High Fliers Research has produced the independent assessment of the graduate job market. In that time, no other institution has been number one more frequently than Vlogٷ, or ranked more consistently amongst the top three.

The other top universities targeted by employers in 2022-2023 were Nottingham, Birmingham, Bristol, Warwick, Leeds, London (University College), Cambridge, Durham and Southampton.

The latest report also highlights that graduate recruitment at the UK's top employers increased substantially in 2022, with a 14.5% increase in the number of graduates recruited compared to 2021. 

The number of graduate jobs available is expected to increase by a further 6.3% in 2023, with accounting & professional services firms being the largest recruiters of new graduates.

For more information, please read the or visit the .

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Mon, 20 Mar 2023 13:58:21 +0000 https://content.presspage.com/uploads/1369/1ad6e3f8-e90f-4312-8672-58fcc729fe20/500_uom-graduation-4531-2.jpg?10000 https://content.presspage.com/uploads/1369/1ad6e3f8-e90f-4312-8672-58fcc729fe20/uom-graduation-4531-2.jpg?10000
Major government funding for Greater Manchester innovation in materials, health and AI /discover/news/major-government-funding-for-greater-manchester-innovation-in-materials-health-and-ai/ /discover/news/major-government-funding-for-greater-manchester-innovation-in-materials-health-and-ai/564937Vlogٷ is at the heart of four new projects that have received a share of millions of pounds awarded to the Greater Manchester Innovation Accelerator, to turn cutting-edge technologies into businesses in Greater Manchester – in order to boost the region’s economy and improve residents’ health.

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Vlogٷ is at the heart of four new projects that have received a share of millions of pounds awarded to the Greater Manchester Innovation Accelerator, to turn cutting-edge technologies into businesses in Greater Manchester – in order to boost the region’s economy and improve residents’ health.

As part of the government’s Innovation Accelerator Fund, the four projects focus on the very latest technology around genomics, medical diagnostics, advanced materials and artificial intelligence. The bids were coordinated by the Greater Manchester Combined Authority and funding is for two years.

The funding, awarded by the (DSIT), has been allocated to innovative projects in sectors where Greater Manchester has existing research strengths,

The projects are:

The Manchester Turing Innovation Hub, is led by the University of Manchester, working with a consortium of business, academic and public sector organisations. The project aims to accelerate Greater Manchester’s £5bn digital economy by supporting existing start-ups and creating new ones – especially in the field of artificial intelligence. It will also help to develop skills in the region with a particular focus on women, and under-represented groups in the industry. The Hub will bridge the gap between cutting-edge research and business, and will have centres across the region from which to coordinate activity. With no city having a global lead in AI commercialisation, the project aims to position Greater Manchester at the forefront, which would have a transformative effect on the regional economy and jobs.

Residents in eight out of the ten local authorities in GM spend more of their life in poor health, and instances of smoking and obesity and associated health issues are more prevalent than the national average. The Greater Manchester Advanced Diagnostics Accelerator aims to address this. It is led by Health Innovation Manchester, hosted by Manchester University NHS Foundation Trust and partnered with the University. Focussing on liver, heart and lung disease, programme outputs are designed to open market opportunities for local businesses and support NHS cultural change from reactive acute care to proactive community prevention, resulting in better health outcomes and reduced demand for hospital services.

The Development and Validation of Technology for Time Critical Genomic Testing (DEVOTE) programme will be led by Vlogٷ. It focuses on biomarkers, which are chemicals or signals in the body which can be used to diagnose disease or predict future health. At the moment there is a bottleneck between the discovery of new biomarkers, and their use as a tool to help patients. DEVOTE aims to change all that by developing raid tests which can be used at the bedside by clinicians. This will be done through a partnership between the University, Health Innovation Manchester and local businesses. Greater Manchester is already a leader in this field and the new funding will create a legacy not only in people’s health but in a culture which makes new advances in future years.

The Sustainable Materials Translational Research Centre is a partnership between the University of Manchester, including the Graphene Engineering Innovation Centre and the Henry Royce Institute, the High Value Manufacturing Catapult, and Rochdale Development Agency. Sustainable materials are urgently needed to help reach global climate goals but there is a lack of capacity to produce these, and to scale up production of new products which use them. Greater Manchester is well positioned to solve this problem, with a rich history of developing materials (notably at Vlogٷ). The project will help connect local businesses to the national supply chain, and to the outstanding materials research in the city, it will support the creation of new businesses, and attract inward investment, with a particular focus on the Atom Valley Mayoral Development zone, bringing new jobs and opportunities to Rochdale, Bury, Oldham and beyond.

Professor Richard Jones, Vice-President for Regional Innovation and Civic Engagement at Vlogٷ said:  “The Innovation Accelerator is about taking the great research in GM’s universities, and translating that into good jobs, inclusive economic growth, and better health outcomes for citizens across the whole of Greater Manchester. 

“These four projects highlight the University of Manchester’s research strengths in advanced materials, in digital technologies, and in health sciences, and demonstrate our commitment to working together with business, the NHS, the other GM universities and FE colleges, and local government in the city region for the benefit of the people who live here.

“We are very much looking forward to working with our partners on these projects, and we welcome the funding to all of the other projects in Greater Manchester that has been announced.”

Mayor of Greater Manchester, Andy Burnham, said: “Greater Manchester’s selection as one of three Innovation Accelerator regions demonstrates the Government’s confidence in our innovation ecosystem. The projects being backed are undertaking world-leading research to address some of the biggest challenges we face.

“They also align with the sectors where Greater Manchester has emerging or established strengths, like advanced materials, artificial intelligence (AI) and diagnostics. We look forward to working with partners to ensure this funding supports the growth of our future industries and delivers greater prosperity for our people.”

Minister of State for Science Research & Innovation at DSIT George Freeman said:

“Through Record investment in our UK science, technology & innovation sectors, the Innovation Economy is creating new career opportunities in the campuses, clusters & companies of tomorrow.

“That’s why UKRI is putting clusters at the heart of its of its £25bn budget up to 2025, and why our £100m Innovation Accelerator Program provides £33m each to 3 emerging clusters to attract industrial co-investment and become major, globally competitive centres for research and innovation.

“The Greater Manchester Cluster is becoming a world class hub of R+D in AI and advanced computing, advanced manufacturing and Net Zero Cleantech and associated technologies.

“I’m delighted that local leaders have come together to use our £33m to launch such exciting programs with industry and Universities in this exciting area.” 

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Fri, 17 Mar 2023 17:25:36 +0000 https://content.presspage.com/uploads/1369/500_iron_bird_13.jpg?10000 https://content.presspage.com/uploads/1369/iron_bird_13.jpg?10000
Manchester’s graphene ecosystem is a boost to UK’s ‘levelling up’ agenda /discover/news/manchesters-graphene-ecosystem-is-a-boost-to-uks-levelling-up-agenda/ /discover/news/manchesters-graphene-ecosystem-is-a-boost-to-uks-levelling-up-agenda/564157The graphene innovation ecosystem at Vlogٷ has been highlighted as an exemplar in attracting inward investment into the local regional economy – and therefore helping to boost the UK’s ‘levelling up’ agenda.

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The graphene innovation ecosystem at Vlogٷ has been highlighted as an exemplar in attracting inward investment into the local regional economy – and therefore helping to boost the UK’s ‘levelling up’ agenda.

The spotlight comes in a report entitled, which has been authored by Dr Alexis Brown for the Higher Education Policy Institute (HEPI). Dr Brown is Head of Global Education Insights at the British Council and is calling for UK universities to leverage global connections to help drive local growth.

The report highlights where this collaboration is already being achieved. For example, the strategic, long-term relationship-building between Vlogٷ and regional civic stakeholders plus international partners, such as those based in Abu Dhabi.

This type of relationship has, for example, led to an ambitious agreement between the University and Abu Dhabi-based Khalifa University of Science and Technology which aims to deliver a funding boost to graphene innovation that will help tackle the planet’s big challenges. This project has also won praise from senior figures in the UK government.

Much of the focus of this international collaboration on advanced materials has been around the Graphene Engineering Innovation Centre (GEIC) which is a unique innovation accelerator based at Vlogٷ.

And, as well as supporting collaboration in the Middle East, the HEPI report also points out that the “… GEIC’s development has in turn generated further funding from a range of international and domestic partners, including the Australian-based supplier of graphene products First Graphene, the Brazilian graphene startup Gerdau Graphene, surface-functionalised graphene specialists Haydale and advanced engineering materials group Versarien.

“GEIC will also form a cornerstone element of the new £1.5 billion , alongside the University’s , which focuses on industrial biotechnology and industry-facing biomanufacturing…”

James Baker, CEO of Graphene@Manchester, said: “It’s fantastic to see that Manchester’s graphene innovation ecosystem has been highlighted in a national policy report that outlines how universities can bring inward investment into the regional economies they serve.

“It has been five years since the Graphene Engineering Innovation Centre opened its doors and our success in taking 2D materials from lab-to-market is clearly demonstrated by the many international partnerships we have formed - and the significant investment that these partners are making to drive graphene-inspired R&D in our region.

“These international research and innovation collaborations are creating new products, new businesses and new jobs. This all adds new value to our regional economy - so boosting the UK’s ‘levelling up’ ambitions.”

Advanced materials is one of Vlogٷ’s research beacons - examples of pioneering discoveries, interdisciplinary collaboration and cross-sector partnerships tackling some of the planet's biggest questions. #ResearchBeacons

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Fri, 10 Mar 2023 09:33:24 +0000 https://content.presspage.com/uploads/1369/500_geicrearelevation2newscrop800px-2.jpg?10000 https://content.presspage.com/uploads/1369/geicrearelevation2newscrop800px-2.jpg?10000
Haydale and GEIC Proud to Partner for a Sixth Year /discover/news/haydale-and-geic-proud-to-partner-for-a-sixth-year/ /discover/news/haydale-and-geic-proud-to-partner-for-a-sixth-year/563338Haydale and Vlogٷ’s Graphene Engineering Innovation Centre (GEIC) are delighted to have signed an extension to their partnership that will see the global technology solutions company remain a Tier 1 Partner for a sixth year. 

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Haydale and Vlogٷ’s Graphene Engineering Innovation Centre (GEIC) are delighted to have signed an extension to their partnership that will see the global technology solutions company remain a Tier 1 Partner for a sixth year.

Haydale were early adopters and among the very first partners to sign up and join the GEIC when it opened its doors and embarked on its journey of commercialisation in 2018. At the time interest in graphene was growing in the commercial world; but it remained to be seen just how ready industry was in adopting graphene into existing products – or go one step further and use it to develop new and disruptive technologies.

Now, as the partnership enters a sixth year both organisations are delighted to see the progress working in collaboration has brought to the industry, particularly through the adoption of plasma functionalisation technology and commercialisation of graphene and other 2D materials, as James Baker, CEO of Graphene@Manchester explains:

“Too often graphene has been seen as a magic dust that can be sprinkled into a product to transform its performance. Even if you’re lucky and achieve positive results, this ad hoc approach is usually non-replicable or able to be developed with a reliable quality control to earn market confidence.

“Haydale’s pioneering work to functionalise graphene has created a supply of material that is industry-ready and is tuned to optimise performance in the specific application requested by the end-user and we are delighted that the partnership has been part of this journey.”

Alongside their industry leading test facilities, as part of the partnership agreement, the GEIC will continue to use one of Haydale’s HT60 plasma reactors, which has been fundamental in growing the knowledge of functionalisation and its importance in unlocking the potential of graphene and other 2D materials. The clean chemistry process offers a way of activating inert materials, so they perform in application but in an environmentally-friendly way.

Access to unique engineering knowhow, world-class science and specialist R&D capability has seen the maturity of joint developments between Haydale and the GEIC most notably the graphene-enhanced carbon composite body panels for the BAC Mono R road-legal sports car, technology that Haydale has now seen application in composite tooling with Prodrive and resin infusion for sports and leisure. More recently, the teams have developed novel coating processes combining Haydale’s prepreg and ink products and helped to optimise Haydale’s 3D printing product range for volume application.

Commenting on the continued partnership, Keith Broadbent CEO of Haydale said: “We have been working with the GEIC from the very beginning to enhance graphene and nanomaterials and bring them into a commercial space. I am excited to see what the next stage of the partnership will bring. We have seen a seismic shift from graphene push to market pull as more customers know what they want. Customers are driving momentum and together we can continue the commercialisation journey.”

This is a sentiment shared by James, who added: “Five years on from the opening of the GEIC the market landscape for nanomaterials has matured quickly, and advanced materials are recognised as being critical in providing solutions to the big global challenges.

“Haydale’s vision has always been to provide the graphene supply chain with a premium product that can add real value – and they know exactly how to do this.”

The ongoing partnership will continue to build trust with wider industry and provide a solid foundation for the adoption of graphene and other 2D materials as advanced materials become increasingly critical in providing solutions to some of the biggest global challenges.

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Fri, 03 Mar 2023 14:52:38 +0000 https://content.presspage.com/uploads/1369/500_geicfrontelevation116-9smaller.jpg?10000 https://content.presspage.com/uploads/1369/geicfrontelevation116-9smaller.jpg?10000
UK Business Secretary praises UK-UAE graphene innovation partnership /discover/news/uk-business-secretary-praises-uk-uae-graphene-innovation-partnership/ /discover/news/uk-business-secretary-praises-uk-uae-graphene-innovation-partnership/555445UK Business and Energy Secretary Grant Shapps has seen first-hand how Manchester’s pioneering work in graphene is set to deliver global impact thanks to an international partnership.

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UK Business and Energy Secretary Grant Shapps has seen first-hand how Manchester’s pioneering work in graphene is set to deliver global impact thanks to an international partnership.

Grant Shapps, The Secretary of State for the UK’s Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy (BEIS), has recently been on a visit to the Middle East, which included the United Arab Emirates (UAE) where he met representatives from a partnership between Vlogٷ and UAE’s Khalifa University.

The ambitious Manchester-Khalifa partnership is part of the Research & Innovation Center for Graphene and 2D Materials (RIC-2D) which is looking at ways to apply graphene and related advanced materials to technologies that will help make our world more sustainable, including water desalination, emission-busting construction materials, energy storage and lightweighting applications.

Grant Shapps visited the state-of-the-art research facilities and on his , the Secretary of State said: “Graphene can be used in everything from touchscreens to reinforcing steel. Made first in Manchester, its importance is now being realised around the world. I enjoyed seeing how Khalifa University is further developing graphene uses for the future, in partnership with Vlogٷ.”

James Baker, CEO at Graphene@Manchester, said: “It was great to co-host the Secretary of State and the UK delegation on their visit to meet our partners at Khalifa University.

“It was a very positive meeting that focused on graphene products and applications. Our conversation covered the heritage of the right through to the creation of the Graphene Engineering Innovation Centre, a Manchester facility set up in partnership with UAE-based Masdar to accelerate the commercialisation of graphene and related 2D materials.

“We also discussed our joint work with the RIC-2D programme and the ambitious commercial opportunities that are supporting the drive towards a sustainable future, including our latest project around creating membrane technology in support of clean water.”

The Kahlifa delegation meeting the Secretary of State also included Professor Sir John O’Reilly, President of Khalifa University; Dr Arif Al Hammadi, Executive Vice President; Dr Steve Griffiths, Senior Vice President for Research and Development and Professor of Practice; Fahad Almaskari, Engagement Director; Fahad Alabsi, Associate Director, Commercialization, RIC-2D Research Center.

During Grant Shapps’ visit to the region the . The Clean Energy Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) has now been signed by the two nations and will support the .

Advanced materials is one of Vlogٷ’s research beacons - examples of pioneering discoveries, interdisciplinary collaboration and cross-sector partnerships tackling some of the planet's biggest questions. #ResearchBeacons

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Tue, 31 Jan 2023 15:18:55 +0000 https://content.presspage.com/uploads/1369/500_52625386508-3ee4c42b9f-o.jpg?17560 https://content.presspage.com/uploads/1369/52625386508-3ee4c42b9f-o.jpg?17560
GEIC signs NERD as Tier 1 partner for sustainable construction tech /discover/news/geic-signs-nerd-as-tier-1-partner-for-sustainable-construction-tech/ /discover/news/geic-signs-nerd-as-tier-1-partner-for-sustainable-construction-tech/555594Nationwide Engineering Research & Development (NERD) has signed a Tier 1 agreement with Vlogٷ’s Graphene Engineering Innovation Centre (GEIC), extending the ecosystem of key industrial partners working collaboratively on graphene and 2D material commercialisation at the University.

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Nationwide Engineering Research & Development (NERD) has signed a Tier 1 agreement with Vlogٷ’s (GEIC), extending the ecosystem of key industrial partners working collaboratively on graphene and 2D material commercialisation at the University.

NERD is a standalone company, spun out from , formerly Tier 2 partners of the GEIC and responsible for the initial development of Concretene, a graphene-enhanced admixture for concrete that saves significantly on CO2 emissions and overall project costs.

In December, to help drive the programme of research and development required to bring Concretene to full commercial use.

The Tier 1 agreement provides for use of a dedicated lab within the Masdar Building, state-of-the-art concrete testing facilities and access to the unrivalled academic and engineering expertise in nanomaterials housed at Vlogٷ, the home of graphene.

Co-founder of NERD Alex McDermott is a civil engineering graduate of the University and is excited about his return to North Campus to deliver what he hopes will be the start of a new generation of sustainable construction materials.

“I’m a Manchester lad from Failsworth and I did my degree here, so it’s great to be back and helping to design solutions for an industry that urgently needs to decarbonise,” he says.

“We’re looking to build on the work we’ve already done with the GEIC in lab trials and real-world projects and take Concretene on to the next stage of full commercial rollout. There’s still a journey to go on - R&D in this area is challenging - but the partnerships we’re building with the University and with high-profile industry clients give us the best chance of success.”

James Baker, CEO of Graphene@Manchester, said: “We have been working with Nationwide Engineering from the very beginning to help develop Concretene – and therefore delighted to welcome NERD to the GEIC as a Tier 1 partner. This is an important milestone in this ambitious project and one we can all be very proud of.

“In the past 18 months, we have rapidly gone from lab to pilot stage - and then scaled up to create ‘living labs’, including a pioneering pour just outside the GEIC. But we are still at a relatively early stage along the road to commercialisation.

“This new Tier 1 partnership will greatly help Concretene achieve its full potential to deliver a game-changing material to help us build more sustainably in the future – we look forward to taking this programme to the next stage of delivery.” 

NERD envisions a three-year journey to the roll-out of Concretene to the wider construction industry, alongside technical partner Arup – the globally renowned provider of engineering and design services for the built environment - and leading infrastructure bodies including Heathrow and Manchester Airports, Network Rail, National Highways and the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority.

These early adopters will see immediate benefits through reductions in embodied carbon, while assisting in the programme of laboratory work and large-scale field trials that will ultimately prove the reliability and reproducibility needed for successful commercial deployment of Concretene.

Matthew Lovell, Director at Arup, said: “Continued innovation in the production of concrete and leaner design techniques are needed to support the construction industry’s journey towards net zero carbon emissions.

“Arup is extremely interested in Concretene’s potential to support transformative change in the built environment. Imagine what concrete with both enhanced engineering performance and substantially reduced carbon impact could contribute to our industry.”

Professor Bill Sampson, Chief Scientific Officer, GEIC, said: “I’m delighted to see Nationwide joining the GEIC as a Tier 1 partner. I look forward to working with them, with the support of academic colleagues from across the University’s Faculty of Science and Engineering, to better understand and deliver the full potential promised by graphene-enhanced cementitious materials.”

  

Main picture: (l-r) Matthew Lovell, Director at Arup; Alex McDermott, co-founder NERD; Rob Hibberd, co-founder NERD; Dave Evans, Chief Financial Officer, NERD; Alan Beck, Head of Communications, NERD

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Manchester spin-out that looks to revolutionise water filtration gets £500,000 funding boost /discover/news/manchester-spin-out-that-looks-to-revolutionise-water-filtration-gets-500000-funding-boost/ /discover/news/manchester-spin-out-that-looks-to-revolutionise-water-filtration-gets-500000-funding-boost/554225, a spin-out company based at Vlogٷ that is developing a breakthrough water filtration technology, which promises to be both greener and cheaper, has secured SEED equity investment of £500,000 to help scale-up.

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A spin-out company based at Vlogٷ that is developing a breakthrough water filtration technology, which promises to be both greener and cheaper, has secured SEED equity investment of £500,000 to help scale up.   

, with its mission to enable cleaner water supplies for the world's growing demand, has developed an energy-efficient and highly versatile membrane coating based around a material called modified molybdenum disulphide (MoS2) to create an innovative water filtration solution.  

The technology comes from research led by  and , at Vlogٷ, working in partnership with innovation experts at the University’s (GEIC).  

This team has used a two-dimensional version of MoS2, part of which is a natural crystal with physical properties that are complementary to those of , the world’s first 2D material, originally isolated at Vlogٷ. 

Molymem and its filtration application has been awarded an investment funding package of £500,400. Among the private sector investors are , Manchester Angels and NorthInvest.

Ray Gibbs, Chairman and Director at Molymem, said this new funding would enable the company to scale up and deliver on its mission. He said: “New 2D materials for membranes are needed to improve sustainability, accessibility and tackle one of the world’s greatest problems – delivering clean fresh water for all.”

“The application of 2D advanced materials into water filtration technologies will, we are confident, help provide solutions to this critical global challenge.”   

Working with businesses and utility companies Molymem has coated a variety of membrane systems and tested the rejection of various salts and other organic molecules, such as nitrates. The performance is equal to or better than existing commercial solutions - but at much lower cost, making the Molymem system a 'greener and cheaper' option.”

Dr Mark Bissett Chief Scientific Officer (Molymem Limited), Reader in Nanomaterials, Dept. of Materials (University of Manchester) commented “It’s incredibly exciting to see our technology, which was developed here in the labs at the University of Manchester as a fundamental research project, be successfully spun out into a company and receiving this funding. Going forward I look forward to seeing our technology have real commercial impact and see our products improving sustainability in multiple industries.”

Richard Lydon, a leading filtration expert and senior advisor to Molymem explained: “Access to clean fresh water is one of the greatest problems we face in the world. Factors that impact on the availability of clean water include climate change, water quality, pollution, and population growth.

“At the same time, water and wastewater treatment plants across the world need to be upgraded to keep pace with legislation and the ever-growing demand for drinking water. This unique technology is an added value to existing membrane systems reducing particulate 'clogging' of the current filter, enabling improved life, reducing the use of chemicals and increasing flux (water flow). The Molymem platform is robust in any environment and can be tailored (through specific functionalisation of the coating) to reject target particulates such as nitrates, phosphates, PFAS/PFOS, dissolved organics, heavy metals and other pollutants, offering unique selling points to meet the needs of the water industry.”

Rajat Malhotra, Managing Partner, Wren Capital and a member of Cambridge Angels commented, “ We liked the sustainability aspect of Molymem and the strong management to apply novel technology into a significant market in need of new membranes to deal with the increasing threat of particulate pollution (especially nitrates) in the water course. We, therefore, wanted to lead a SEED funding round on behalf of Cambridge Angels who were subsequently joined by investors from Manchester Angels and NorthInvest. This first tie-up makes a strong strategic link between Manchester and Cambridge to enhance co-syndication between the investor groups and the hope of more to come.”   

David Levine, Principal of Manchester Angels said: "We're very excited to have participated in Molymem's recent raise. Manchester Angels was established specifically to fund early-stage, game-changing technologies and technology businesses and help support levelling-up for the North."

Jordan Dargue, Board Director of NorthInvest said: ''We were so impressed with the Molymem team's expertise and passion.  The technology is innovative and solves a real market problem so I was thrilled to be able to help the company access funding at this crucial stage.  What’s more, this round of investment for Molymem is a perfect example of how angel networks can collaborate to help Northern entrepreneurs access investment.  I’m so pleased for Richard and the Molymem team and look forward to seeing what the future holds. “

Notes to Editor

1) Richard Lydon is a leading figure in the filtration, separation and membrane markets and is providing valuable advice and guide the Molymem team as it embarks on its commercial journey in wider areas of the clean and deep tech market sectors.

 2) Molymem is a University of Manchester spin-out and has developed and patented a new class of novel nano-coating applied to membranes for ultra-high filtration performance. The 2D functionalised materials can be retrofitted easily to existing membranes, utilising existing infrastructure and a large installed base. The initial focus is in the demand-driven space of clean water, water reuse and species selectivity but with potential across numerous other industry sectors including air, gas cleaning and future clean energy sectors. Chosen routes to market will be via licence and royalty deals with Membrane suppliers, Original Equipment Manufacturers and System Integrators.

3) Cambridge Angels is a leading UK business angel network providing smart capital from entrepreneurs to entrepreneurs. The collaborative Cambridge-based group, actively mentors and invests in innovative teams and their ideas, equipping generations of entrepreneurs to generate returns and help realise their full potential. The group has a strong ethos of backing merit and supporting entrepreneurship. Cambridge Angels members, most of whom are successful entrepreneurs, invest in a wide range of start-up and scale-up businesses with a particular focus on deep-tech, and tools and technologies supporting healthcare.

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World-first genetic test for babies' hearing wins major award /discover/news/world-first-genetic-test-for-babies-hearing-wins-major-award/ /discover/news/world-first-genetic-test-for-babies-hearing-wins-major-award/552107A team who led the research for a world-first genetic test that could save the hearing of hundreds of babies each year, has won the New Statesman Positive Impact in Healthcare Award 2022.

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A team who led the research for a world-first genetic test that could save the hearing of hundreds of babies each year, has won the New Statesman Positive Impact in Healthcare Award 2022.

Manchester researchers, based at Saint Mary’s Hospital, part of Manchester University NHS Foundation Trust (MFT), worked with Vlogٷ and Manchester-based firm genedrive Plc on the Pharmacogenetics to Avoid Loss of Hearing (PALOH) study. Together, they developed the pioneering, rapid bedside genetic test which was .

Using a cheek swab, the test can identify in 26 minutes whether a critically ill baby admitted to intensive care has a gene change that could result in permanent hearing loss if they are treated with a common emergency antibiotic, Gentamicin.

While Gentamicin is used to safely treat approximately 100,000 babies a year, one in 500 babies carry the gene change that can lead to permanent hearing loss when given the antibiotic.

The new test means that babies found to have the genetic variant can be given an alternative antibiotic within the ‘golden hour’ and could save the hearing of 200 babies in England every year.

PALOH study lead, Professor Bill Newman, Consultant in Genomic Medicine at MFT and Professor of Translational Genomic Medicine at Vlogٷ, said: “I am delighted for the team to receive this recognition of their fantastic efforts and their innovative approach in bringing this test to fruition.”

The new swab test technique, which was piloted at MFT, replaces a test that traditionally took several days and is the first use of a rapid point of care genetic test in acute neonatal care.

Dr Ajit Mahaveer, Consultant Neonatologist, Rachel James, Senior Research Coordinator and Nicola Booth, Research Nurse Manager on the Newborn Intensive Care Unit at Saint Mary’s Hospital, attended the awards ceremony in London and accepted the award on behalf of the team.

Dr Mahaveer said: "I am incredibly proud to be part of the team who made this study a reality and to be recognised at this year’s New Statesman Positive Impact Awards. It’s an honour to accept the award on behalf of the team, knowing the work we have put into delivering this research will truly make a difference to hundreds of babies’ lives each year.

“As a doctor dealing daily with infection, my main concern was how easy and quickly the test was to conduct, as it’s important that we do not delay antibiotic treatment. Our experience of using this test has been very positive. It’s straight-forward, non-invasive and will have a huge impact on our patients’ lives.”

Professor Newman, Theme Co-Lead Lead for Rare Conditions, National Institute for Health and Care Research, Manchester Biomedical Research Centre, continued: “I am absolutely thrilled with the success of the study and that this test is now being used in routine clinical practice. This test will make a real difference, helping to ensure babies are not going to lose their hearing for a preventable reason.”

It is expected the test could save the NHS £5 million every year by reducing the need for other interventions, such as cochlear implants.

Professor Dame Sue Hill, Chief Scientific Officer for England and Senior Responsible Officer for Genomics in the NHS said: “This ground-breaking bedside test for detecting whether an antibiotic could cause deafness in babies in intensive care is another example of how the NHS is harnessing the power of genomic medicine to transform patient care. This award is a tribute to the hard work of Professor Bill Newman and his team in Manchester.”

Dr Gino Miele, R&D Director, genedrive plc, said: “The collaboration of our company with the research and clinical team at MFT is a shining example of the NHS working with a commercial company to deliver real improvements in patient outcomes in a cost-effective way.”

Caption: Rachel James, Senior Research Coordinator; Nicola Booth, Research Nurse Manager, Newborn Intensive Care Unit and Dr Ajit Mahaveer, Consultant Neonatologist at Saint Mary’s Hospital, part of MFT receiving the award on behalf of the PALOH team. (Photo credit: New Statesman Positive Impact Awards)

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Wed, 14 Dec 2022 10:45:43 +0000 https://content.presspage.com/uploads/1369/500_newstatesmanpositiveimpactawards.jpg?10000 https://content.presspage.com/uploads/1369/newstatesmanpositiveimpactawards.jpg?10000
University of Manchester and National Grid named Best Innovation in Net Zero /discover/news/university-of-manchester-and-national-grid-named-best-innovation-in-net-zero/ /discover/news/university-of-manchester-and-national-grid-named-best-innovation-in-net-zero/551118National Grid and Vlogٷ have been named ‘Best Innovation in Net Zero and Sustainability’ at the E&T Innovation Awards for their commitment to developing a retrofill solution to replace SF6.

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National Grid and Vlogٷ have been named ‘Best Innovation in Net Zero and Sustainability’ at the E&T Innovation Awards for their commitment to developing a retrofill solution to replace SF6.

SF6 is a gas commonly used in the power industry to provide electrical insulation and arc interruption. However, SF6 is a potent greenhouse gas with a global warming potential that is 25,200 times greater than CO2.

This award reflects the significant steps taken by Manchester experts and National Grid to address this issue, closing the gap between an unsustainable present and a more sustainable future.

Celebrating an initial project delivered in 2020, today’s award comes as Manchester and National Grid confirm their commitment to addressing the challenge. Earlier this year, the team announced a £1.9m project that will see experts at Manchester help determine how National Grid can develop a retrofill solution to replace SF6 with an environmentally friendlier alternative – without having to replace or otherwise modify the existing equipment.

This solution – to be demonstrated at National Grid’s test facility the – will mean National Grid can avoid the environmental impact and cost of replacing equipment otherwise fit for many more years’ service.

Together the University and National Grid will create a physical demonstration, complete with an inbuilt condition-based monitoring system, that will focus on the applicability of SF6 retrofill techniques. It will be developed in Manchester’s High Voltage Research Laboratory, equipped with facilities that can test up to 600 kV DC, 800 kV AC, and 2 MV impulse, and has been the testbed for developing pioneering solutions such as and .

In a separate pilot project last year National Grid and Hitachi Energy developed and deployed a world-first solution at Richborough substation in Kent to replace SF6 with a greener alternative, marking a key step in National Grid’s ambition to reduce its SF6 emissions by 50% by 2030.

Nicola Todd, head of strategy and innovation at National Grid Electricity Transmission, said: “This is a proud moment for the teams involved and is testament to the combined expertise and innovation capability of National Grid and Vlogٷ colleagues on this project. The initiative is deepening our understanding of SF6 retrofill solutions, and could boost our progress in the decarbonisation of the grid while achieving a significant cost benefit for consumers.”

Energy is one of Vlogٷ’s five research beacons, examples of pioneering discoveries, interdisciplinary collaboration and cross-sector partnerships that are tackling some of the biggest challenges facing the planet. This project reflects the commitment of Manchester’s energy experts in delivering a just and prosperous Net Zero energy future.

By matching science and engineering, with social science, economics, politics and arts, the University’s community of 600+ experts address the entire lifecycle of each energy challenge, creating innovative and enduring solutions to make a difference to the lives of people around the globe. This enables the Manchester research community to develop pathways to ensure a low carbon energy transition that will also drive jobs, prosperity, resilience, and equality.

National Grid’s Deeside Centre for Innovation in North Wales is the first of its kind in Europe, where electricity network assets can be tested under real life conditions, 24 hours a day, seven days a week. The facility provides a controlled test and demonstration environment to collect data, including a high voltage substation and overhead line test area simulating real network conditions.

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Tue, 06 Dec 2022 10:49:21 +0000 https://content.presspage.com/uploads/1369/500_richborough-sf6replacement-640x360.jpg?10000 https://content.presspage.com/uploads/1369/richborough-sf6replacement-640x360.jpg?10000
Landmark agreement between Greater Manchester and Innovate UK to boost innovation and R&D in the city-region /discover/news/landmark-agreement-between-greater-manchester-and-innovate-uk-to-boost-innovation-and-rd-in-the-city-region/ /discover/news/landmark-agreement-between-greater-manchester-and-innovate-uk-to-boost-innovation-and-rd-in-the-city-region/550854Greater Manchester’s burgeoning innovation ecosystem has taken another major step forward with the signing of an agreement with the UK's national innovation agency, Innovate UK.

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Greater Manchester’s burgeoning innovation ecosystem has taken another major step forward with the signing of an agreement with the UK's national innovation agency, Innovate UK.

The Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between Greater Manchester Combined Authority (GMCA), Innovation Greater Manchester and Innovate UK commits the parties to closer collaboration to support business innovation.

The agreement seeks to strengthen research and innovation clusters across Greater Manchester and to accelerate investments around long-term innovation developments.

The region’s universities will be at the heart of the city’s innovation ecosystem. Vlogٷ will continue to build on its existing world class tradition of commercialisation of research in step with GMCA and Innovate UK. This past year alone has seen the University create ten new spin-out companies.

The parties have also agreed to work on a shared plan for the period to 2030, which will set out how the development of innovation assets in Greater Manchester will inform Innovate UK activities.

The agreement was signed by Mayor of Greater Manchester, Andy Burnham, Innovate UK CEO, Indro Mukerjee, and Chair of Greater Manchester Business Board (GM LEP), Lou Cordwell, at a special event held today (Friday 2 December) at the (GEIC) at Vlogٷ. The GEIC is a facility which helps companies develop new technologies, products and processes that exploit the properties of .

Andy Burnham, Mayor of Greater Manchester, said: “This agreement will strengthen collaboration between Greater Manchester and Innovate UK, and in doing so help deliver a high-growth, high-wage economy powered by innovation.

“Going back to the first Industrial Revolution, Greater Manchester has a proud history of industry and innovation. More recently we pioneered the development of graphene, and have emerging strengths in areas like advanced manufacturing, health innovation and the digital and creative industries.

“Levelling up the country means rebalancing R&D spending so that regions can realise their potential. Innovation stimulates sustainable growth, which leads to better quality jobs and increased wages, raising the living standards of people across Greater Manchester.”

Professor Luke Georghiou, Deputy President and Deputy Vice Chancellor, Vlogٷ, said: “This is another important step for Greater Manchester’s innovation ecosystem which is all about partnership. Vlogٷ will keep working to ensure that we are a globally- renowned hub for creating innovations that meet society’s greatest challenges.”

Indro Mukerjee, CEO of Innovate UK, said: “Innovate UK is building strong regional partnerships across the UK to support local innovation and commercialisation. The agreement with Greater Manchester is a good example of that and our commitment to levelling up the UK.

“I am pleased to be working closely with Mayor Andy Burnham, Cllr Bev Craig and Lou Cordwell to help deliver growth and productivity through innovation across Greater Manchester.”

Cllr Bev Craig, Leader of Manchester City Council and GMCA Portfolio Lead for Economy and Business, said: “Our agreement with Innovate UK will help businesses and residents in Greater Manchester benefit from the opportunities presented by innovation.

“Business innovation creates good jobs in more places. It drives economic growth, accelerates our transition to net zero, and helps reduce health inequalities. We look forward to working with Innovate UK to strengthen Greater Manchester’s innovation ecosystem.”

Professor Richard Jones, Vice-President for Regional Innovation and Civic Engagement, at Vlogٷ (and independent science advisor for Innovation GM), said: “The partnership will provide an innovation blueprint for Greater Manchester – and therefore is a major milestone in boosting the economic development and prosperity of this city-region.

“Vlogٷ has been a driving force in getting this project launched so it was fitting that the agreement was formally signed in the University’s Graphene Engineering Innovation Centre. This facility demonstrates how new science and innovation can be commercialised, so attracting new investment; supporting some of this region’s great innovative businesses; as well as creating new commercial opportunities on our own doorstep.”     

Through Innovation Greater Manchester, the city-region is pioneering a new approach to strengthening and broadening its innovation ecosystem – the network that comprises businesses of all sizes, universities, local and national government, funding providers and investors, and entrepreneurs.

Greater Manchester’s outlines how sustainable growth powered by innovation could deliver a £3.8bn economic benefit and over 100,000 jobs across Greater Manchester.

Greater Manchester was one of three areas in the country chosen to develop an Innovation Accelerator. Launched as part of the Levelling Up White Paper, Innovation Accelerators will support businesses and research in Greater Manchester, the West Midlands and Glasgow city-region with a share of £100m of Government funding.

This followed the , published in July last year, which set out Government’s vision to make the UK a global hub for innovation by 2035, and .

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Another impressive financial year for Manchester-born spinouts /discover/news/another-impressive-financial-year-for-manchester-born-spinouts/ /discover/news/another-impressive-financial-year-for-manchester-born-spinouts/550417Ten brand new Manchester-based biomedical, science and engineering companies have been created over the past year by Vlogٷ Innovation Factory, producing cutting-edge technology and services which will benefit societies around the world.

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Ten brand new Manchester-based biomedical, science and engineering companies have been created over the past year by Vlogٷ Innovation Factory, producing cutting-edge technology and services which will benefit societies around the world.

In addition to forming these new IP-rich businesses, the Innovation Factory, which is dedicated to driving the commercialisation of innovations and intellectual property originating from Vlogٷ (UoM), secured an impressive £6.4M of first investment into Manchester-based spinout companies as well as £4.9M in UoM licensing income.   

Andrew Wilkinson, Innovation Factory Chief Executive, said: “Over the past three years the Innovation Factory has worked hard to meet our ambitious targets and fulfil our commitment to create positive social, environmental and economic impact by helping UoM academics and student inventors commercialise their research.

“We are proud to help the nation’s most visionary researchers and scholars transform their ideas and theories into a form that can be used to benefit people from all parts of the world.  Manchester has always been the birthplace of great ideas and that pulse of innovation is as strong as ever.”

In 2021, the Innovation Factory was instrumental in facilitating the formation of Northern Gritstone through a partnership with the Universities of Leeds, Manchester and Sheffield. Northern Gritstone is an investment vehicle determined to be one of the largest investors into academic spinouts in the UK. 

Wilkinson continued: “This year the Innovation Factory continued to perform well and exceeded most of its key targets, placing it firmly in line with the top technology transfer offices in the world.  Our team works tirelessly to identify opportunities and maximise investment in the innovations originating from Vlogٷ, and this year further secures our positive trajectory.”

The newly formed businesses are:

  • Apini Therapeutics Ltd – Novel Small Molecule Therapeutics for the treatment of inflammatory diseases without induction of immune suppression
  • Holiferm Ltd – Fermentation technology with initial focus on biosurfactants
  • Imperagen Ltd – An AI prediction of enzyme optimisation
  • Mi-Trial Ltd – Clinical trial companion system and app
  • Music in Mind Remote Ltd – Digital platform for providing music to people with dementia
  • Nexsys Ltd – Online platform for water management and planning
  • Polynerve Ltd – Synthetic polymer nerve conduit
  • Recon2 Ltd – System for measurement of recycled plastic content in packaging
  • Sebomix Ltd – A rapid, non-invasive test for the diagnosis of Parkinson’s Disease and a wide range of other indications
  • Urban 360 Ltd – Intelligence to improve urban sustainability

To find out more about the Innovation Factory’s work and the projects they are supporting, visit

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University of Manchester graphene partnership with Khalifa University aims to tackle global challenges /discover/news/manchesters-graphene-partnership-with-khalifa-university-aims-to-tackle-global-challenges/ /discover/news/manchesters-graphene-partnership-with-khalifa-university-aims-to-tackle-global-challenges/548688An ambitious partnership between Vlogٷ and Abu Dhabi-based Khalifa University of Science and Technology has been agreed, with the aim to deliver a funding boost to graphene innovation that will help tackle the planet’s greatest challenges.

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An ambitious partnership between Vlogٷ and Abu Dhabi-based Khalifa University of Science and Technology has been agreed with the aim to deliver a funding boost to graphene innovation that will help tackle the planet’s big challenges.

Professor Dame Nancy Rothwell, President & Vice-Chancellor of Vlogٷ, and Professor Sir John O’Reilly, President, Khalifa University (pictured above) officially signed a contract between the two institutions during a VIP visit by a Manchester delegation to the United Arab Emirates (UAE). Senior officials from both universities were present at the signing (pictured below).

This international partnership will further accelerate Manchester and Abu Dhabi’s world-leading research and innovation into graphene and other 2D materials. The Research & Innovation Center for Graphene and 2D Materials (RIC-2D), based in Khalifa University, is part of a strategic investment programme supported by the Government of Abu Dhabi, UAE. 

Growing international partnership

This partnership will support expediting the development of the RIC-2D at Khalifa University as well as help building capability in graphene and 2D materials in collaboration with Graphene@Manchester, a community that includes the academic–led National Graphene Institute (NGI) and the commercially-focused Graphene Engineering Innovation Centre (GEIC), a pioneering facility already backed by the Abu Dhabi-based renewable energy company Masdar.

UoM-KU signing Nancy John OReilly and team crop

The historic agreement will bring together the vision of the two universities to tackle some of the globe’s biggest challenges, such as providing clean drinking water for millions of people and supporting a circular ‘green economy’ in all parts of the world.

Graphene – originally isolated at Vlogٷ, the global ‘home of graphene’ – has the potential to deliver transformational technologies. The focus of the Khalifa–Manchester partnership will be on key themes, with a priority to meet the most immediate of global challenges, including  climate change and the energy crisis. These flagship areas are:

●&Բ;         Water filtration and desalination – graphene and 2D materials are being applied to next generation filtration technologies to significantly boost their effectiveness and efficiency to help safeguard the world’s precious supply of drinking water

●&Բ;         Construction – graphene is helping to develop building materials that are much more sustainable and when applied at scale can expect to slash global CO2 emissions

●&Բ;         Energy storage – applications are being developed across the energy storage sector to produce more efficient batteries, with greater capacity and higher performance, and other energy storage systems vital to a circular ‘green economy’

●&Բ;         Lightweighting of materials – the use of graphene and 2D materials to take weight out of vehicles, as well as large structures and infrastructure, will also be a key to building a more sustainable future.

The investment is expected to be allocated towards joint projects. The full scope and budgets for projects under this new framework agreement remain to be determined in the months ahead. The proposal will see dedicated space for the Khalifa University’s RIC-2D within the GEIC, which is based in the Masdar Building at Vlogٷ, to deliver rapid R&D and breakthrough technologies. Researchers from Khalifa University will have dedicated lab space in the GEIC where they can work alongside Manchester’s applications experts and access in-house facilities and equipment.

Knowledge exchange

As well as the research and innovation activity, the RIC-2D programme will support the development of people, including early-career researchers who will benefit from the real-world experience of working on the joint R&D programme. Also, there will be opportunities for post-graduate students, including the exchange of PhD students and researchers (see Fact File below).

Professor Sir John O’Reilly, President, Khalifa University, said: “This Khalifa University-University of Manchester collaboration is greatly to be welcomed. It has all the hallmarks of a most successful approach to inspiring and nurturing outstanding research, innovation and enterprise in graphene to be taken forward to the benefit of the wider community.”

Professor Dame Nancy Rothwell, President & Vice-Chancellor of Vlogٷ, said: “We look forward to a long and productive partnership with Khalifa University that will realise the potential of graphene to address global challenges including water and energy security and, above all, sustainability.”

Dr Arif Sultan Al Hammadi, Executive Vice-President, Khalifa University, said: “We are delighted to enter into this partnership with Vlogٷ and encourage innovation in graphene through a pipeline of projects, as well as focus on transferring technology towards commercialization. Through this agreement, we will continue to not only focus our research activities on existing flagship projects in water filtration, construction, energy storage and composites but also expand to new areas. This combination of virtual and in-person collaborations will also include exchange of PhD students and sponsored labs within the Graphene Engineering Innovation Centre (GEIC) at Manchester.

Professor Luke Georghiou, Deputy President and Deputy Vice-Chancellor of Vlogٷ, said: “Our excellent relationship with our partners in Abu Dhabi, including Khalifa University and Masdar, has been vital in the success of the world-leading graphene research and innovation activities at Vlogٷ, especially in driving forward the commercialisation of 2D materials in our facilities based in the Graphene Engineering Innovation Centre. This new investment will deliver a game-changing step change in our lab-to-market ambitions - and will accelerate the translation of graphene in an unprecedented way.”

Professor Hassan Arafat, Senior Director, RIC-2D, said: “The overarching goal of RIC-2D is to be a catalyst for economic growth in the UAE, by enabling industrial and public entities within the country to utilize graphene and other 2D materials in new technologies that add economic value and solve pressing societal challenges such as water scarcity and greenhouse emissions. Therefore, the center will support a range of fundamental and translational research projects, in addition to commercialization and technology transfer activities. Graphene@Manchester has accumulated significant experience doing the same in the UK over the past decade. Hence, they were naturally identified as one of RIC-2D’s most strategic partners.”

James Baker, CEO of Graphene@Manchester, explained: “We have built a unique model of innovation for advanced materials in Greater Manchester by successfully attracting regional, national and international investment.

“The RIC-2D programme will be a significant funding boost for UK-based graphene research and commercialisation. It is set to significantly accelerate the work that is already happening in our ecosystem and help with the application and commercialisation of 2D materials at a rate much faster than you would normally expect for a revolutionary new material like graphene.

“This provides an opportunity to fast-track technologies that are urgently needed to tackle immediate challenges like climate change or the energy crisis. Vlogٷ and Khalifa University will play a key role in connecting our ambitions by synchronising new research with key industry and supply-chain companies across a range of sectors.

“Our lab-to-market model will link up fundamental research with applied research and ultimately be part of a pipeline delivering new, market-ready technologies.  The programme will also provide industry-standard equipment and capabilities for the rapid scale-up and pilot production of prototypes.”

Graphene@Manchester’s world-class facilities and resources are supported by internationally renowned academics and industry-experienced engineers and innovation experts, working across a very broad range of novel technologies and applications.

James Baker added: “Together, these experts will focus on industry-led 2D material development and look to help companies design, develop, scale-up and ‘de-risk’ the next generation of innovative products and processes,”

Fact File - joint R&D programme

The joint R&D programme between Vlogٷ and Khalifa University  will provide a pipeline of projects from the near to long-term to ensure that RIC-2D development activities remain world-leading and are based upon a strong scientific foundation.

Part of the R&D programme will focus on Technology Readiness Levels (TRLs) 1-3 – i.e. early stage research and development - beyond which the research teams will collaborate with applications experts at the Graphene Engineering Innovation Centre (GEIC) in a bid to transfer the technology for commercialisation.

The shared R&D platforms are designed to support existing flagship projects, including those involved with water filtration, construction, energy storage and composites – but there will be an expectation to develop new streams. Finally, the R&D programme will produce high quality academic publications that will add to the prestige and international reputation of RIC-2D.

The joint programme will be a combination of virtual and in-person collaborations, through the exchange of PhD students and researchers and having Khalifa University sponsored labs based within the GEIC.

About Khalifa University of Science and Technology

Khalifa University of Science and Technology, the UAE’s top-ranked research-intensive institution, focuses on developing world-leading critical thinkers in science, engineering and medicine. The world-class university endeavours to be a catalyst to the growth of Abu Dhabi and the UAE’s rapidly developing knowledge economy as an education destination of choice and a global leader among widely acknowledged international universities.

For more information, please visit:

 is one of Vlogٷ’s  - examples of pioneering discoveries, interdisciplinary collaboration and cross-sector partnerships that are tackling some of the biggest questions facing the planet. #ResearchBeacons.

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Mon, 28 Nov 2022 08:00:00 +0000 https://content.presspage.com/uploads/1369/500_uom-kusigningnancyjohnoreilly11200px.jpg?10000 https://content.presspage.com/uploads/1369/uom-kusigningnancyjohnoreilly11200px.jpg?10000
Manchester AI summit aims to attract experts in advanced engineering and robotics /discover/news/manchester-ai-summit-aims-to-attract-experts-in-advanced-engineering-and-robotics/ /discover/news/manchester-ai-summit-aims-to-attract-experts-in-advanced-engineering-and-robotics/548502The Centre for Robotics and AI is a specialist centre for research and innovation and part of Vlogٷ's broad data science and AI community. To find out more about data science and AI at Vlogٷ, visit the. IDSAI delivers the data science and AI theme of the

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Vlogٷ is launching a new specialist multi-disciplinary centre to explore developments in smart robotics through the lens of artificial intelligence (AI) and autonomous machinery.

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Vlogٷ is launching a new specialist multi-disciplinary centre to explore developments in smart robotics through the lens of artificial intelligence (AI) and autonomous machinery.

The Manchester will be based at the engineering and materials facilities at Vlogٷ which will provide a state-of-the-art home for industry-leading research in AI-powered devices and be an “interface between robotics, autonomy and AI”.

Vlogٷ has built a modern reputation of excellence in AI and robotics, partly based on the legacy of seminal thought leadership begun in this field in Manchester by legendary codebreaker Alan Turing (1). The creation of the new Manchester centre also follows robotics and AI being identified by UK Chancellor Jeremy Hunt as the most critical drivers for 21st century economies (2).

To mark the opening of the new robotics centre, the Manchester group will host its first conference on Wednesday, Nov 23. Topics under discussion will include applications of robotics in extreme environments.

For the past decade, a specialist Manchester team led by Professor Barry Lennox has designed robots to work safely in nuclear decommissioning sites in the UK. A ground-breaking robot called Lyra that has been developed by Professor Lennox’s team - and recently deployed at the Dounreay site in Scotland, the “ – has been listed in .

Other world-leading Manchester applications include foldable drones to characterise subterranean mines or for the inspection of offshore wind turbines. And Manchester leads on designing the verification technologies to ensure that we can trust these robots when working autonomously in hazardous conditions.

A conference highlight will be a joint talk by robotics expert Dr Andy Weightman and theologian Dr Scott Midson which is expected to put a spotlight on ‘posthumanism’ – a future world where humans won’t be the only highly intelligent decision-makers.

Dr Weightman, who researches home-based rehabilitation robotics for people with neurological impairment, and Dr Midson, who researches theological and philosophical critiques of posthumanism, will discuss how interdisciplinary research can help with the special challenges of rehabilitation robotics – and, ultimately, what it means to be human “in the face of the promises and challenges of human enhancement through robotic and autonomous machines”.

Delegates will also have a chance to observe a series of robots and autonomous machines being demoed at the conference.

Angelo Cangelosi, Professor of Machine Learning and Robotics at Manchester, said the University offers a world-leading position in the field of autonomous systems – a technology that will be an integral part of our future world. 

Professor Cangelosi, co-Director of the Manchester , said: “We are delighted to host our inaugural conference which will provide a special showcase for our diverse academic expertise to design robotics for a variety of real world applications.

"Our research and innovation team are at the interface between robotics, autonomy and AI – and their knowledge is drawn from across the University's disciplines, including biological and medical sciences – as well the humanities and even theology. 

“This rich diversity offers Manchester a distinctive approach to designing robots and autonomous systems for real world applications, especially when combined with our novel use of AI-based knowledge.”

Vlogٷ’s Centre for Robotics and AI will aim to: 

·&Բ;&Բ;&Բ;&Բ;&Բ;&Բ; design control systems with a focus on bio-inspired solutions to mechatronics, eg the use of biomimetic sensors, actuators and robot platforms; 

·&Բ;&Բ;&Բ;&Բ;&Բ;&Բ; develop new software engineering and AI methodologies for verification in autonomous systems, with the aim to design trustworthy autonomous systems; 

·&Բ;&Բ;&Բ;&Բ;&Բ;&Բ; research human-robot interaction, with a pioneering focus on the use of brain-inspired approaches to robot control, learning and interaction; and 

·&Բ;&Բ;&Բ;&Բ;&Բ;&Բ; research the ethics and human-centred robotics issues, for the understanding of the impact of the use of robots and autonomous systems with individuals and society.

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novel use of AI-based knowledge.]]> Tue, 22 Nov 2022 13:22:57 +0000 https://content.presspage.com/uploads/1369/500_robototstakeabreakatalabattheuniversityofmanchester-picturecourtesyofmarketingmanchester.jpg?10000 https://content.presspage.com/uploads/1369/robototstakeabreakatalabattheuniversityofmanchester-picturecourtesyofmarketingmanchester.jpg?10000
New innovation to recover hydrogen from waste could help safeguard UK energy security /discover/news/new-innovation-to-recover-hydrogen-from-waste-could-help-safeguard-uk-energy-security/ /discover/news/new-innovation-to-recover-hydrogen-from-waste-could-help-safeguard-uk-energy-security/546899UK team reveal boost to green hydrogen ambitions to coincide with COP27 climate change summit

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A team of experts at Vlogٷ led by have received government funding to work with - a world-leading UK company specialising in treatment of unrecyclable wastes - to help recover hydrogen for clean energy use.

This project will develop and validate a novel and inexpensive game-changing hydrogen separation technique that builds upon Powerhouse Energy's expertise in waste treatment and the international track-record of Dr Amir Keshmiri’s in fluid dynamics and thermochemical analysis.

This potential breakthrough in advanced thermal treatment to recover hydrogen from unrecyclable wastes could make a significant contribution to the UK’s net zero targets and reduce project costs compared to existing recovery methods - also, as well as being ”greener and cheaper”, this new technology would be an important asset to help secure UK energy security at a time of major crisis and uncertainly.  

The rapid development and commercialisation of the invention, that the collaboration will directly support achieving the installed capacity target by 2030.

The project, which is initially funded by the grant, effectively encourages the swifter adoption of local, cleaner, low carbon energy - while addressing a growing unrecyclable waste issue, working within the existing waste hierarchy framework.

Mr Paul Emmitt, Chief Operating Officer and Executive Director at Powerhouse Energy (PHE), said the project will allow PHE to edge closer to overcoming significant cost barriers through innovation to deliver the next generation of cleaner energy technology. The pioneering technique, once commercialised, will enable the faster rollout of inexpensive hydrogen.

He added: “The invention has the potential to overcome a significant cost prohibitive factor for commercial hydrogen extraction from Syngas [ie synthesis gas, a hydrogen-based mixture that can be used as a fuel not just for PHE, but all next generation advanced thermal technologies, potentially allowing more facilities to be developed for the same available capital, enhancing production towards and even beyond the ambitious 5GW target. Quantifying the impact for PHE, the proposed hydrogen separation technique has the potential to reduce project costs by up to 17.5%, or over £400m for 59 facilities.”

Dr Amir Keshmiri, Associate Professor in Computational Fluid Dynamics at Vlogٷ, said: “The collaboration allows Vlogٷ to be at the forefront of high-impact, game-changing technology development within the emerging clean hydrogen energy sector - and allows the academic team to capitalise on the bespoke hydrogen models developed to a wider audience.

Dr Kashmiri said clean energy from hydrogen – dubbed ‘green hydrogen’ - will be have a flagship spotlight at COP27, the climate change summit currently being hosted in Sharm el-Sheikh. He added: “Production and storage of low-carbon hydrogen is one of the key themes of COP27 which is hosted by Egypt as part of the .”

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UoM spin-out Watercycle Technologies wins Innovate UK grant for lithium extraction /discover/news/uom-spin-out-watercycle-technologies-wins-innovate-uk-grant-for-lithium-extraction/ /discover/news/uom-spin-out-watercycle-technologies-wins-innovate-uk-grant-for-lithium-extraction/545959Watercycle Technologies – a spin-out company from Vlogٷ that specialises in recovery of scarce minerals through filtration - has won a £500,000 Innovate UK Smart Grant, in partnership with Cornish Lithium, to test its ground-breaking direct lithium extraction (DLE) process in Cornwall.

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Watercycle Technologies – a spin-out company from Vlogٷ that specialises in recovery of scarce minerals through filtration - has won a £500,000 Innovate UK Smart Grant, in partnership with Cornish Lithium, to test its ground-breaking direct lithium extraction (DLE) process in Cornwall.

Watercycle’s patented filtration process can selectively extract lithium from sub-surface waters, such as those found in the South West of the UK. Given lithium’s essential role in battery technologies, the ability to obtain it from water cost-effectively and establish a domestic supply of the mineral is vital for the UK’s Net Zero strategy. 

is a mineral exploration and development company focused on the environmentally responsible extraction of lithium from geothermal waters and hard rock in the historic mining district of Cornwall.

Earlier this year, Watercycle Technologies became a Tier 2 Partner of the University's , allowing for access to lab space, state-of-the-art equipment and engineering and academic expertise at the UK’s leading institute for R&D and commercialisation of applications around graphene and 2D materials.

The ‘Smart’ grant is Innovate UK's responsive funding programme. It has focused eligibility criteria and scope to support SMEs and their partners to develop disruptive innovations with significant potential for rapid economic return to the UK.

Under the terms of the agreement, Watercycle will deliver a containerised filtration system to extract lithium from Cornish Lithium’s project in Cornwall at a pilot scale. The project, which includes an environmental impact assessment, is anticipated to complete in October 2023.  

Watercycle CEO Dr Seb Leaper said: “Having already proven that our proprietary filtration membranes and systems work in lab conditions, we are excited to be working with Cornish Lithium to demonstrate their scalability and accelerate the creation of a resilient, domestic lithium supply chain in the UK.  

"This agreement marks the next step in our development strategy as we look at the commercialisation of our technology, which is capable of treating a wide range of water types and can deliver dramatic reductions in costs, carbon emissions and water consumption compared with current processes.”

Watercycle co-founder and CTO Dr Ahmed Abdelkarim added: “It is great to be working with like-minded partners, Cornish Lithium and Innovate UK, which, like us, are focused on making a positive impact on the global transition through advancing innovative technologies. 

"Lithium is a critical element with EV demand set to grow 418% from 468 GWh this year to 2.4 TWh by 2030 and we are delighted to be part of that chain, offering a British solution to the challenge of primary lithium production, which is the first link within the wider EV supply chain.”

Dr Rebecca Paisley, Lead Geochemist at Cornish Lithium, said: “Cornish Lithium is keen to support projects from UK-based universities and the companies commercialising them, which we believe have the potential to be both game-changing and contribute to the UK’s Net Zero strategy. 

"Working with Watercycle in the development of a pilot system aligns strongly with our Research and Innovation strategy, as well as our continued efforts to trial multiple DLE technologies at pilot scale in Cornwall to establish the most effective and responsible process flow sheet. We have a good relationship with the Watercycle team and look forward to progressing the project over the next 12 months.”

For more information, visit . To discover how Vlogٷ Innovation Factory helps academic and student inventors create social, economic and environmental impact with their work visit .

 is one of Vlogٷ’s  - examples of pioneering discoveries, interdisciplinary collaboration and cross-sector partnerships that are tackling some of the biggest questions facing the planet. #ResearchBeacons.

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Fri, 04 Nov 2022 13:44:57 +0000 https://content.presspage.com/uploads/1369/500_watercycletechnologiesteam1200px.jpg?10000 https://content.presspage.com/uploads/1369/watercycletechnologiesteam1200px.jpg?10000
University of Manchester and National Grid team up to develop SF6-free retrofill solution for electricity network /discover/news/university-of-manchester-and-national-grid-team-up-to-develop-sf6-free-retrofill-solution-for-electricity-network/ /discover/news/university-of-manchester-and-national-grid-team-up-to-develop-sf6-free-retrofill-solution-for-electricity-network/543674National Grid and Vlogٷ are to collaborate on a four-year project to develop a full-scale demonstrator at the Deeside Centre for Innovation, designed to test at scale how the UK can retrofill SF6 across its network of high-voltage equipment.

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National Grid and Vlogٷ are to collaborate on a four-year project to develop a full-scale demonstrator at the Deeside Centre for Innovation, designed to test at scale how the UK can retrofill SF6 across its network of high-voltage equipment.

SF6 is a gas commonly used in the power industry to provide electrical insulation and arc interruption. However, SF6 is a potent greenhouse gas with a global warming potential that is 25,200 times greater than CO2.

The £1.9m project will see experts at Manchester help determine how National Grid can develop a retrofill solution to replace SF6 with an environmentally friendlier alternative without having to replace or otherwise modify the existing equipment.

This solution – to be demonstrated at National Grid’s test facility the – will mean National Grid can avoid the environmental impact and cost of replacing equipment otherwise fit for many more years’ service.

It is not the first time National Grid and Vlogٷ have teamed up on a project exploring SF6 alternatives – a previous initiative which concluded in 2020 is for ‘Best Innovation in Net Zero and Sustainability’.

In a separate pilot project last year National Grid and Hitachi Energy developed and deployed a world-first solution at Richborough substation in Kent to replace SF6 with a greener alternative, marking a key step in National Grid’s ambition to reduce its SF6 emissions by 50% by 2030. The new demonstrator with Manchester will explore how the retrofill solutions might be applied across more of the network.

This project will bring together the interdisciplinary expertise of Manchester’s and the , led by with .

Together the university and National Grid will create a physical demonstration, complete with an inbuilt condition-based monitoring system, that will focus on the applicability of SF6 retrofill techniques. It will be developed in Manchester’s High Voltage Research Laboratory, equipped with facilities that can test up to 600 kV DC, 800 kV AC, and 2 MV impulse, and has been the testbed for developing pioneering solutions such as and .

The project builds on Dr Tony Chen’s established expertise in SF6, and it is anticipated its findings will give asset managers the information required for retrofilling significant quantities of SF6-filled equipment across the transmission network, bridging the current gap between established feasibility, and long-term, real-world implementation.

Mark Waldron, Technical Lead at National Grid Electricity Transmission, said: “It’s exciting to be following the world-first SF6 retrofill in Richborough substation with this initiative taking us a step closer to a solution to replace the gas in more of our assets. The potent combination of Manchester’s expertise in this area and the innovation and demonstration capability at our state-of-the-art Deeside facility will deepen our understanding of retrofill solutions, and could boost our progress in the decarbonisation of the grid while achieving a significant cost benefit for consumers.”

Energy is one of Vlogٷ’s five research beacons, examples of pioneering discoveries, interdisciplinary collaboration and cross-sector partnerships that are tackling some of the biggest challenges facing the planet. This project reflects the commitment of Manchester’s energy experts in delivering a just and prosperous Net Zero energy future.

By matching science and engineering, with social science, economics, politics and arts, the University’s community of 600+ experts address the entire lifecycle of each energy challenge, creating innovative and enduring solutions to make a difference to the lives of people around the globe. This enables the Manchester research community to develop pathways to ensure a low carbon energy transition that will also drive jobs, prosperity, resilience, and equality.

National Grid’s Deeside Centre for Innovation in North Wales is the first of its kind in Europe, where electricity network assets can be tested under real life conditions, 24 hours a day, seven days a week. The facility provides a controlled test and demonstration environment to collect data, including a high voltage substation and overhead line test area simulating real network conditions.

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Tue, 01 Nov 2022 09:38:32 +0000 https://content.presspage.com/uploads/1369/500_deesidecfi-nd-june22-075.jpeg?10000 https://content.presspage.com/uploads/1369/deesidecfi-nd-june22-075.jpeg?10000
Research shows impact of Greater Manchester Universities as Civic University Agreement reaches milestone /discover/news/research-shows-impact-of-greater-manchester-universities-as-civic-university-agreement-reaches-milestone/ /discover/news/research-shows-impact-of-greater-manchester-universities-as-civic-university-agreement-reaches-milestone/540556Research has shown the impact of Greater Manchester’s universities on the city region, its people, and businesses, one year on from the signing of a flagship agreement,

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Research has shown the impact of Greater Manchester’s universities on the city region, its people, and businesses, one year on from the signing of a flagship agreement,

The Greater Manchester Civic University Agreement commits the five higher education institutions – University of Bolton, Manchester Metropolitan University, University of Manchester, University of Salford and Royal Northern College of Music – to collective action around the six priority areas of education and skills; reducing inequalities; jobs and growth; the digital economy; net zero; and the creative and cultural economy.

And to mark the first anniversary of this pledge, research, commissioned by the Greater Manchester Civic University Board, shows that in the next five years the universities will:

  • Train nearly 9,500 nurses, over 3,500 medics and over 8,500 teachers;
  • Provide over £366 million of support and services to small enterprises, business and not-for-profits;
  • Undertake research with businesses and non-academic organisations worth over £1.3 billion;
  • Deliver 6,288 years of professional development training and education courses to businesses and charities; and
  • Create over 1,000 new companies and charities.

The Civic University Board was established following the launch of the partnership and is made up of representatives from the five higher education institutions and the Greater Manchester Combined Authority.

This board will drive forward the collective civic work of the universities. Significant progress has already been made in identifying the priority areas – education and skills, and jobs and growth.

The Greater Manchester university vice-chancellors and principal said: “Greater Manchester’s universities are one of our region’s greatest strengths and while we have always recognised our individual impact, together we know that we can do more.

“Whether it’s working with our further education colleges to expand training and skills development opportunities or collaborating with the private sector to drive inward investment into innovation in Greater Manchester, by coming together as a collective we can be more than the sum of our parts.

“Celebrating the first year of the Civic University Agreement allows to us to reflect on what we’ve achieved so far as well as look to the future and set ourselves bold ambitions for helping to make Greater Manchester the best place to grow up, get on and grow old.”

Andy Burnham, Mayor of Greater Manchester, said: “Greater Manchester is proud to be home to world-leading universities that make an enormous contribution to our region. The Civic University Agreement recognises the essential role they have as anchor institutions, while setting out their responsibilities to our city-region beyond teaching and research.

“One year on from signing this landmark agreement, we’re beginning to see the benefits that closer collaboration can bring. Our universities will continue to carry out ground-breaking research, provide people with valuable skills and foster innovation and entrepreneurship, while also ensuring this contribution benefits everyone in Greater Manchester.”

Cllr Bev Craig, Leader of Manchester City Council and GMCA Portfolio Lead for Economy, Business and International, said: “Greater Manchester’s universities play a fundamental role in our society and economy. Their teaching and research attracts tens of thousands of people to our city-region each year, and universities also support businesses, spark economic growth and play an important role in communities.

“The Civic University Agreement formally sets out the priorities we share and the contribution universities can make as we seek to create a fairer, greener and more prosperous city-region. With this agreement now established, we look forward to strengthening our collaboration and realising the collective potential we have to make a positive impact.

“Through their support for initiatives like Innovation Greater Manchester and Open SME, and becoming Living Wage Employers, universities are helping us shape the city-region’s economy so it delivers the right kind of growth.”

The institutions are closely involved in the development of Innovation Greater Manchester – the business-led partnership which brings together the private sector, local and national governments, and the universities to drive the growth of the city-region’s innovation ecosystem. The Government subsequently made a commitment to establish Innovation Accelerators, including one centred on Greater Manchester and Innovation Greater Manchester, in the Levelling Up White Paper.

And Open SME demonstrates this collaborative commitment to working together to drive inclusive growth in the city region. This programme, that brings together Greater Manchester’s business schools, the Combined Authority and the Business Growth Hub, is an online support programme designed to support small and medium sized firms in the city region to develop and grow.

All five higher education institutions in the city region are now Real Living Wage employers, paving the way for them to become supporters and members of the Greater Manchester Good Employment Charter, which was another pledge in the Civic University Agreement.

The Civic University Agreement itself was developed in direct response from feedback from residents of Greater Manchester and to mark the one-year anniversary of the agreement, a new Civic University Citizens Panel has been launched to provide a forum for civic engagement between the universities and members of the public across the city region.

People from across Greater Manchester, but with a strong focus on those from underrepresented groups, will be invited to be part of the panel where they will directly feed into the work of the universities on their civic priorities. 

You can access the full report written by James Ransom from the UCL Institute of Education at  .

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Tue, 25 Oct 2022 00:30:00 +0100 https://content.presspage.com/uploads/1369/500_gmsocials-linkedin5.jpg?10000 https://content.presspage.com/uploads/1369/gmsocials-linkedin5.jpg?10000
Parkinson’s breakthrough can diagnose disease from skin swabs in 3 minutes /discover/news/parkinsons-breakthrough-can-diagnose-disease-from-skin-swabs-in-3-minutes/ /discover/news/parkinsons-breakthrough-can-diagnose-disease-from-skin-swabs-in-3-minutes/529984A new method to detect Parkinson’s disease has been determined by analysing sebum with mass spectrometry.

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A new method to detect Parkinson’s disease has been determined by analysing sebum with mass spectrometry.

The study, published today in the , have found that there are lipids of high molecular weight that are substantially more active in people suffering from Parkinson’s disease.

The researchers from Vlogٷ used cotton swabs to sample people and identify the compounds present with mass spectrometry. The method developed involves paper spray ionisation mass spectrometry combined with ion mobility separation and can be performed in as little as 3 mins from swab to results.  

Professor Perdita Barran at Vlogٷ, who led the research said: “We are tremendously excited by these results which take us closer to making a diagnostic test for Parkinson's Disease that could be used in clinic.”

The research used a sample group of 79 people with Parkinson’s compared with a heathy control group of 71 people.

The study has arisen from the observation of Joy Milne, who discovered that she can distinguish PD in individuals from a distinct body odour before clinical symptoms occur.

Joy has hereditary Hyperosmia – a heightened sensitivity to smells – which has been exploited to find that Parkinson’s has a distinct odour which is strongest where sebum collects on patient’s backs and is less often washed away.

Sebum is an oily secretion from sebaceous glands under the skin which are connected to the endocrine system. The scientists have found that sebum can be used as a diagnostic biofluid, which is rich in hydrophobic endogenous metabolites.

Altered sebum production is a well-recognised feature of Parkinson’s. The sampling procedure they have developed is simple and non-invasive; sebum is collected in clinics from the upper back of patients and posted in the regular mail to the lab.

Describing the new technique Dr Depanjan Sarkar said: “The sebum is transferred to filter paper from sampling swab, and we then cut this to a triangle, add a drop of solvent, apply a voltage and this transfers compounds from the sebum into the mass spectrometer. When we do this, we find more than 4000 unique compounds of which 500 are different between people with PD compared to the control participants.”

The Manchester team now see this as a major step forward towards a clinical method for confirmatory diagnosis of Parkinson’s, for which to date there is no diagnostic test based on biomarkers.

Professor Monty Silverdale, Clinical Lead on this study said: "This test has the potential to massively improve the diagnosis and management of people with Parkinson’s disease".

The current and future focus is to translate these findings into a test of clinical utility. This exciting new work also opens the door to possibly diagnosing other diseases through non-invasive sebum analysis and the team along with the University of Manchester have launched a spin out company Sebomix Ltd. to develop this further.

The charities and the as well as the funded this research led by Vlogٷ, which has studied the sebum from people with and without Parkinson’s. Our work is on-going, and our trial has now recruited over 2000 patients.

The paper,  ‘Paper Spray Ionization Ion Mobility Mass Spectrometry of Sebum Classifies Biomarker Classes for the Diagnosis of Parkinson’s Disease’ is published in the .

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Wed, 07 Sep 2022 08:14:06 +0100 https://content.presspage.com/uploads/1369/500_joymilne.jpg?10000 https://content.presspage.com/uploads/1369/joymilne.jpg?10000
Manchester’s global challenge-tackling partnership with National Grid shortlisted for Bhattacharyya Award /discover/news/manchesters-global-challenge-tackling-partnership-with-nation-grid--shortlisted-for-bhattacharyya-award/ /discover/news/manchesters-global-challenge-tackling-partnership-with-nation-grid--shortlisted-for-bhattacharyya-award/529801Vlogٷ’s partnership with National Grid is one of six exceptional industry-academic collaborations shortlisted by The Royal Academy of Engineering and WMG at the University of Warwick for the second annual Bhattacharyya Award.  

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Vlogٷ’s partnership with National Grid is one of six exceptional industry-academic collaborations shortlisted by The Royal Academy of Engineering and WMG at the University of Warwick for the second annual Bhattacharyya Award.  

Today’s shortlisting for the Bhattacharyya Award, which celebrates strategic industrial collaborations that benefit society, recognises Manchester’s and National Grid’s long tradition of innovating at pace to ensure the UK has access to reliable, affordable, and environmentally sustainable energy. 

Spanning more than 19 years, the partnership has delivered significant CO2 reductions, increased productivity, stimulated large investment in new jobs and engineering activity in the UK, and has facilitated the safe transfer of cleaner and affordable energy in a Net Zero future electricity network.  

In overhead line research alone, the knowledge generated has provided approximately £11m in cost savings to the UK energy network and enabled a new design – the T-Pylon – which now delivers power to six million homes.

Manchester and National Grid have been shortlisted alongside: University of Birmingham and Rolls-Royce, University of Cambridge and ARM, Imperial College London and Transport Strategy Centre, Swansea University and Steel Strategic Alliance, and University College London, HR Wallingford and Arup. 

The Bhattacharyya Award and a cash prize of £25,000 will be presented to the team who best demonstrate how industry and universities can work together. The winning partnership will be announced on 29 September 2022.   

Professor Dame Ann Dowling OM DBE FREng FRS, former President of the Royal Academy of Engineering and Chair of the judging panel for the Bhattacharyya Award, said: “All six shortlisted partnerships are excellent examples of industry-academia collaboration, with timely and innovative responses to some of the most challenging issues facing society today. It is a privilege to showcase these successful collaborations and we hope that doing so fosters even greater connection between industry and academia in the UK.” 

Margot James, Executive Chair of WMG, University of Warwick, said: “It’s great to see the extremely high quality of industry-academia partnerships shortlisted for the second annual Bhattacharyya Award. As a celebration of Lord Bhattacharyya’s legacy, the Award continues to highlight how building symmetry between academia and industry is so vital for meeting the needs of society, and adapting to global challenges. We look forward to seeing which collaboration is selected as the overall winner.”  

The winner of the Bhattacharyya Award will be announced on Thursday 29 September 2022, at an event showcasing the shortlisted partnerships at the University of Warwick.

Those wishing to attend the Bhattacharyya Award ceremony can .   

Applications for Bhattacharyya Award 2023 are now open until 16 December 2022 and can be submitted via the Academy’s online grant system. 

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Mon, 05 Sep 2022 13:20:34 +0100 https://content.presspage.com/uploads/1369/500_shutterstock-1398261242.jpg?10000 https://content.presspage.com/uploads/1369/shutterstock-1398261242.jpg?10000
Kinder Scout National Nature Reserve extended in size to continue important research into tackling climate change /discover/news/kinder-scout-national-nature-reserve-extended-in-size-to-continue-important-research-into-tackling-climate-change/ /discover/news/kinder-scout-national-nature-reserve-extended-in-size-to-continue-important-research-into-tackling-climate-change/529658As from today, Kinder Scout, the National Nature Reserve (NNR) in Derbyshire cared for by the National Trust, will be extended in size by 25 per cent (226 hectares) thanks to a declaration by Natural England.

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As from today, Kinder Scout, the National Nature Reserve (NNR) in Derbyshire cared for by the National Trust, will be extended in size by 25 per cent (226 hectares) thanks to a declaration by Natural England.

As the highest point in the Peak District (636m / 2,087ft), this new extension takes the NNR to 1,082 hectares in size (equivalent to 1,000 international rugby pitches), in recognition of the scientific research this area provides to help tackle the climate and nature emergencies.

The extended area includes an ‘outdoor laboratory’ (consisting of scientific monitoring equipment such as dipwells, gauging weirs, and vegetation monitoring quadrats), created in 2010, which has enabled comparisons to take place between the impact of restored peatland against an unrestored control plot, providing valuable data to help improve understanding of the value of peat in natural flood management.

Three organisations, the National Trust, Vlogٷ, and Moors for the Future Partnership, have been studying the effects of this restoration work and the benefits that can help tackle climate change, creating a healthier habitat which attracts different wildlife associated with peatlands to help increase levels of biodiversity.

Professor Tim Allott from Vlogٷ explains the importance of the control area: “The control area has been central to our scientific understanding of restoration on the site – as without it we would not have been able to properly assess the impact of the restoration work in slowing the flow of water on hillsides and reducing flood risk downstream.  It also provides a 'museum' of the past damage on Kinder Scout. 

“By simply standing within this small remaining ‘island’ of bare peatland, you get a dramatic sense of the scale of transformation of this iconic landscape by looking across the newly restored, vibrant, and diverse habitat which surrounds it.”

Craig Best, General Manager for the Peak District at the National Trust says: “When we started caring for Kinder in 1982 the mountain was a barren moonscape of bare peat, degraded by human activity over the centuries due to pollution, historical land management practices, high visitor numbers and climate change.

“However, following almost 40 years of restoration work with our partners and volunteers, the NNR is being transformed into a plateau of healthy peat bogs rich in vegetation such as cottongrass, and sphagnum moss while creating a strong habitat for wildlife such as mountain hare, upland birds like the golden plover, and the vital invertebrates that make up the basis of the food system.  This work will continue alongside the activity on the extended area.”    

Techniques trialled to help restore the peat bogs included covering bare peat with rich moorland vegetation and blocking gullies to help keep the moors wetter, which have helped increase the amount of carbon that can be stored as well as helping improve water quality as it filters into streams and reservoirs.

Monitoring data collected over the past decade, using the ‘outdoor laboratory’ in the new area of the NNR, shows this work has reduced erosion of peat by 98 per cent within 18 months of revegetation. It also revealed how different combinations of restoration work has made a significant impact in slowing water flow from the moors to the valleys, to help mitigate flooding[1].

Craig added: “Kinder has a rich history and was the backdrop to one of the mass trespass activities 90 years ago which led to open access to moorland and the creation of National Parks paving the way for millions of visitors to be able to escape city living and pollution to enjoy some of our most inspiring landscapes and connect with nature.   

Commenting on the new declaration, Oliver Harmar, Chief Operating Officer at National England said: “National Nature Reserves were established to protect some of our most important habitats, species and geology, to provide 'outdoor laboratories’ for environmental science and opportunities for people to enjoy nature. 

“They are at the heart of our ambition to create a Nature Recovery Network, full of wildlife-rich sites that are bigger, better and more connected.  I’m pleased that this vision is very much alive at Kinder Scout, with the expansion demonstrating the power of collaborative action to drive nature recovery, including vital peatland restoration to capture and store carbon.

“Kinder Scout also holds a special place in our national history as the backdrop to the very creation of our National Parks and National Nature Reserves.  Today, NNRs, like Kinder Scout, are great places to be inspired and get hands on with nature – they’re free, open and available to all.”

[1] The monitoring work on the Kinder Scout plateau undertaken by Moors for the Future Partnership and the University of Manchester represents a decade of data that has proved invaluable in understanding natural flood management (NFM) techniques. Since 2016, this monitoring has been financed under the EU Life-funded MoorLIFE 2020 project and has shown that:

·&Բ;&Բ;&Բ;&Բ;&Բ;&Բ; Revegetation of bare peat led to a 98% reduction in erosion of peat into the streams, within 18 months.

·&Բ;&Բ;&Բ;&Բ;&Բ;&Բ; A combination of revegetation, gully blocking and dense sphagnum planting led to a 65% reduction in peak flow (the time it takes for water to reach the valleys) during storm events, 10 years after initial revegetation (and five years after sphagnum planting).

·&Բ;&Բ;&Բ;&Բ;&Բ;&Բ; A combination of revegetation and dense sphagnum planting led to a 2 hours 40 minutes delay in delivery of peak flow during storm events. These NFM benefits increases in bigger storms.

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Fri, 02 Sep 2022 12:58:46 +0100 https://content.presspage.com/uploads/1369/500_nationaltrust-robcoleman.jpg?10000 https://content.presspage.com/uploads/1369/nationaltrust-robcoleman.jpg?10000
'Tales From The future' - a new way forward for beer brewing /discover/news/tales-from-the-future---a-new-way-forward-for-beer-brewing/ /discover/news/tales-from-the-future---a-new-way-forward-for-beer-brewing/524826‘Tales From The Future’, a beer made in a recent collaboration between researchers at Vlogٷ and Cloudwater Brew Co., will launch at the end of August 2022. The beer is uniquely brewed using a novel strain of yeast, a hybrid, developed by the the Manchester Institute of Biotechnology (MIB) and Cloudwater.

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‘Tales From The Future’, a beer made in a recent collaboration between researchers at Vlogٷ and , will launch at the end of August 2022. 

The beer is uniquely brewed using a novel strain of yeast, a hybrid, developed by the the (MIB) and Cloudwater.

‘Tales From The Future’ will be available in a limited batch directly from the Cloudwater website. The 750ml bottles are available to buy singly or as a pack. This Manchester-made beer will also be available from Cloudwater’s taproom.

Budding yeast has been integral to beer brewing since its conception, and recent discoveries of new wild yeast species have paved the way for exploiting the extant biodiversity in strain development. In 2017, Professor Daniela Delneri, from the MIB, and her team, isolated a new natural yeast species, Saccharomyces jurei, high up in the foothills of the French Alps.

It is set apart from other similar brewing yeasts as it has the ability to thrive at lower temperatures, has a different flavour profile, and is able to ferment maltose and maltotriose, two abundant sugars present in the wort. This opened up an array of new possibilities for brewers, including the development of new breeding protocols to combine the S. jurei genome with the genomes of commercially available strains to create a multitude of hybrids with different fermentation characteristics.

It is from this discovery that Paul Jones, CEO of Cloudwater Brew Co. first saw the potential opportunity to work with the MIB to create a yeast specific to Cloudwater’s needs. In a recent study, supported by a Knowledge Transfer Partnership (KTP) with Cloudwater Brew Co., Delneri’s team and KTP Associate Konstantina Giannakou, they crossed this newly discovered yeast strain with a common ale yeast (Saccharomyces cerevisae) to produce new starter hybrid strains that could influence the aroma and flavour profile of the beer.

Paul said of the partnership: “We are excited to be launching this beer following on from our work with Vlogٷ. This beer represents the possibilities of joining academia with industry and the importance of projects facilitated by this Knowledge Transfer Partnership. We cannot wait to share the fruits of our labour.”

Professor Daniela Delneri says: “It is brilliant to be able to work directly with Cloudwater Brew Co. to realise the potential of our new yeast species. Based on our work, S. jurei’s hybrids afford brewers more flexibility and options when brewing beers with different flavours and aromas. From here we can build on our work to create new yeast strains for different brewing needs.

“In fact, we have now also developed a method to turn typically sterile yeast hybrids into fertile cells able to produce a plethora of offspring which can be screened for desirable biotechnological traits. Such advances allow us to combine and select desirable traits from different yeast species via multigenerational breeding, paving the way for a swathe of new and exciting products”.

To launch the beer, Cloudwater Brew Co., in partnership with the MIB, will be hosting an event at the Cloudwater Taproom on Thursday 25 August.  Additionally, at 7pm a dedicated tasting session will take place where ‘Tales From The Future’ will feature alongside five other beers from the Barrel Project. More information

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Thu, 18 Aug 2022 13:19:55 +0100 https://content.presspage.com/uploads/1369/500_cloudwatermibcollaboration.jpg?10000 https://content.presspage.com/uploads/1369/cloudwatermibcollaboration.jpg?10000
Speech-friendly face mask could end frustration of muffled chat /discover/news/speech-friendly-face-mask-could-end-frustration-of-muffled-chat/ /discover/news/speech-friendly-face-mask-could-end-frustration-of-muffled-chat/515807A new face mask designed by Manchester researchers is promising to end the stress and anxiety talkers and listeners experience when they cover up.

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A new face mask designed by Manchester researchers is promising to end the stress and anxiety talkers and listeners experience when they cover up.

Designed by a team at The Universities of Manchester and , and the , the revolutionary design will protect wearers from viruses such as COVID-19.

The need for safe and effective covering remains important to protect wearers and bystanders for some groups. This can include elderly people or those who are are immunosuppressed (have a weakened immune system).

[1] by Dr Gaby Saunders, Senior Research Fellow at Vlogٷ, showed how opaque masks were associated with anxiety and stress in both the talker and the listener, spurring the project.

Dr Saunders, who manages Manchester BRC’s Hearing Device Centre, said: “Facial expressions are used extensively in communication, even among hearing people, and our research showed how face mask wearers feel less connected, less willing to engage in conversation.

“That is linked to increased anxiety and stress, as well as fatigue, frustration and embarrassment in both the listener and speaker.”

A 12-month ‘rapid-response’ grant from allowed research audiologists at Vlogٷ, Dr Michael Stone, Marston Senior Research Fellow, and Professor Kevin Munro, Honorary Consultant Clinical Scientist at , to assemble a team of experts.

The funding for a study to improve the design of masks was awarded by the .

Dr Stone, who is also Manchester BRC Developing Engineering Solutions Programme Lead, consulted with members of the Deaf community and people with experience of hearing loss.

Feedback from the community, and other users, allowed the team to refine the design, which was validated in a recent paper in [2].

Professor Trevor Cox, from the acoustics research centre at the University of Salford, and the team, also based there, developed a re-usable cotton-based mask design, allowing it to be manufactured widely.

The design incorporates an optically transparent panel, supported on a thin ‘scaffold’, which produces less muffling of sound than a conventional opaque mask with the acoustic signal (sound) from the mouth.

Prof Cox said: “By reducing the weight of the transparent plastic, we could stop the high frequency parts of speech being lost in the mask. The scaffold to support the thin plastic sheet is carefully designed not to hinder the sound.”

Dr Stone said: “This is a brilliant linking up of two diverse academic pursuits, psychology and physics, to produce real-world benefit for a wide range of people.

“The optical panel has also been shown to be effective  in face visors, and we are now looking for commercial partners so as to extend the reach of the designs and prototypes as well as incorporating a novel lightweight filtration material developed at Vlogٷ.”

Templates for the mask designs, available in three sizes, and a link to a “how-to-make” video hosted on YouTube are available at [3]

[1] Saunders G.H., Jackson I.R., Visram A.S. (2021) Impacts of face coverings on communication: an indirect impact of COVID-19, International Journal of Audiology, 60:7, 495-506, https://www.doi.org/

[2] Cox T.J.,  Dodgson G., Harris L., Perugia E., Stone M.A., Walsh M. (2022) Improving the measurement and acoustic performance of transparent facemasks and shields.  J. Acoust. Soc. Amer. 151, https://www.doi.org/10.1121/10.0010384

[3] Maker Space URL for templates & video. https://hub.salford.ac.uk/sirc-acoustics/facemask-with-improved-communication/

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Tue, 28 Jun 2022 15:18:00 +0100 https://content.presspage.com/uploads/1369/500_facemaskwithtrevorcox.jpg?10000 https://content.presspage.com/uploads/1369/facemaskwithtrevorcox.jpg?10000
A modern space race needs to be built on sustainability /discover/news/a-modern-space-race-needs-to-be-built-on-sustainability/ /discover/news/a-modern-space-race-needs-to-be-built-on-sustainability/515308Researchers have called for a more sustainable approach to the UK’s National Space Strategy in a new publication from Vlogٷ, .

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Researchers have called for a more sustainable approach to the in a new publication from Vlogٷ, .

Based on leading research and expertise on innovative and emerging technologies, experts are calling for sustainability to be at the forefront of humanity’s next phase of space exploration. In On Space, experts ask policymakers to consider space debris, satellite orbits and the investment needed to roll out sustainable space technology on Earth.

Many technologies used to counter climate change, including solar panels, started out as space-age innovations. Future innovations in space technology could be used to further reduce carbon emissions here on Earth.

Dr Aled Roberts explains one of the biggest challenges for off-world habitat construction is the transportation of building materials, which can cost upwards of £1m per brick. A solution could be that ‘local’ resources, such as Lunar or Martian soil, are used to make building materials. , researched at Vlogٷ, is a material is made from bio-based materials and the local planetary soil to make sturdy bricks that can be used to build space habitats.

On the use of this technology on Earth, Aled said: “Given that the construction sector accounts for 39% of anthropogenic CO2 emissions, any relatively green construction material technology developed for off-world habitats could be employed as a sustainable alternative on Earth.”

Researchers also stress the need to take care of space, particularly around the Earth’s orbit. Of the 23,000 objects regularly being tracked in orbit by radar, around 15% are active satellites, the rest is space debris.

As more commercial satellites are launched, such as SpaceX’s Starlink satellite cluster, the potential for space debris increases.

Dr Peter Roberts argues that one way to combat the problem of space debris is to coordinate International space policymakers to agree to for commercial operations to lessen humanity’s impact on the space environment. Higher level orbits should be reserved for science, crewed activities, and space exploration.

Professor Emma Bunce, President of the , said: “It is exciting to contemplate the future of the UK space sector, our use of space for the good of our planet, and its robotic and human exploration more widely. The ‘space age’ is still relatively young – just 60 years – but it is clear that our future and that of our planet will be reliant on space technology and the application of space-enabled data.”

As well as sustainability, On Space advocates for the use of advanced materials, such as graphene, in UK space technology, support for research and development into emerging space technologies in the UK and prioritising international collaborations in UK and international space policy.

On Space is available to read on .

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Wed, 22 Jun 2022 13:42:17 +0100 https://content.presspage.com/uploads/1369/500_policy@manchesteronspace.png?10000 https://content.presspage.com/uploads/1369/policy@manchesteronspace.png?10000
Digital psychosis monitoring system trial launches /discover/news/digital-psychosis-monitoring-system-trial-launches/ /discover/news/digital-psychosis-monitoring-system-trial-launches/515018A groundbreaking smartphone app for remote digital data collection which aims to predict if an individual will relapse into psychosis is to be trialled across the UK in a £12.5 million study.

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A groundbreaking smartphone app for remote digital data collection which aims to predict if an individual will relapse into psychosis is to be trialled across the UK in a £12.5 million study.

Led by University of Manchester researchers, the system will be tested across six Higher Education Institutions and their partnering NHS Trusts in England, Wales and Scotland. The work is also being conducted in partnership with The McPin Foundation.

Called CONNECT, the project whose principle funder is the Wellcome Trust, aims to recruit up to 1100 people who experience psychosis. People will test the remote digital data collection system over 12 months.

Developed at Vlogٷ, the remote digital data collection system combines active and passive remote symptom, emotional, physical and contextual monitoring, along with regular clinical assessments.

The data from the project will be used to develop a relapse prediction algorithm and an adaptive sampling algorithm (for maximising engagement and information obtained from digital remote monitoring) using machine learning / AI methods.

Early Warning Signs, commonly reported to emerge in the days and weeks before a relapse, include anxiety, dysphoria, insomnia, and the beginnings of psychotic experiences.

However, signs are often missed or identified too late, and each patient’s Early Warning Signs are different, which up to now has made it difficult to design a system which can predict a relapse and open the door to time-sensitive, preventative treatment.

The remote digital data collection system designed by the research team sends regular prompts requesting the user complete a digital questionnaire at set times in the week, taking around 90 seconds to complete.

They system will also test whether data collected passively (via wearables and the Smartphone sensors), such as sleep disturbance, inactivity, social avoidance or sedentary behaviour, helps improve the predictive algorithm.

Machine learning methods will be used to detect complex high dimensional non-linear interactions to predict individual patient warning signs of relapse.

The Principal Investigator, Professor Sandra Bucci, said: “Psychosis is a common reason for contact with secondary care mental health services in the UK and a leading cause of disability worldwide.

Up to 80% of people who experience psychosis relapse within 5 years. Each relapse is associated with a higher risk of functional and clinical difficulties.

There is an urgent need to be able to efficiently predict relapse to enable timely intervention and a personalised treatment response.”

John Ainsworth, Professor of Health Informatics at Vlogٷ, said: “The system we will be developing at Manchester provides real-time and in-context patient-generated symptom data, obtained through our remote digital data collection system technology”.

Professor Bucci added: “The system has the exciting potential of providing advanced warning of the need for support and intervention. It also has the potential to give mental health teams a clearer picture of the ebb and flow of an individual’s mental health trajectory.

Our remote digital data collection system could be a crucial advance in the care of people with psychosis.”

Lynsey Bilsland, Head of Mental Health Translation at Wellcome, said: “There have been huge strides recently into improving the outcomes for patients with psychosis but we still need further research into better detection of the early warning signs. Our support recognises the potential of the CONNECT system to enable early identification of patients at risk of relapse. The insight gained could be transformative to how we manage psychosis.”

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Tue, 21 Jun 2022 15:10:00 +0100 https://content.presspage.com/uploads/1369/500_homepage-phone.png?10000 https://content.presspage.com/uploads/1369/homepage-phone.png?10000