Firms urged to tap into funding to develop cutting-edge research

CUMBRIAN firms are being urged to take advantage of a £350,000 pot of funding for developing cutting-edge research into marketable products and services.

Lancaster University is looking for innovative businesses keen to bridge the gap between the lab and the marketplace.

The Impact Acceleration Account — funded with £600,000 by the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) — is designed to stimulate a collaborative culture between university researchers and industry so the commercial value of research can be exploited.

The Impact Acceleration Account can be used to fund the commercial exploitation of any previous EPSRC research, including areas such as advanced manufacturing, energy, chemistry, security, environment, information and communication technology and quantum technologies.

More than £250,000 of funding has already been allocated, with £215,000 distributed to Lancaster researchers to support around 40 projects with a range of external partners that are mainly small and medium-size enterprises (SMEs). However, large enterprises and charities are also being helped. Dr Mark Rushforth, Lancaster University’s head of business partnerships and enterprise, said: “The funding allows organisations to explore a new working relationship with our researchers, gain access to expertise and facilities, and develop new products and processes that will open up new markets for businesses and facilitate economic growth.

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“I’ve been impressed with the scope of the projects we have been able to fund through the Impact Acceleration Account so far and I’m really excited to see what develops in the future.

“The fund is a great way for SMEs to be able to explore product development and I would encourage businesses to get in touch to see how the funding can benefit them.”

The Impact Acceleration Account is set to run until October 2015.

More information about the fund is available at www.lancaster.ac.uk/sci-tech/business/iaa/ Businesses interested in taking part in the Impact Acceleration Account can email m.rushforth@lancaster. ac.uk or call 07964921891.

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