The University of Warwick has been awarded £2.2 million as part of a £60 million Government drive to help pioneering scientists and engineers create successful businesses from their research, improve industrial collaboration, and foster greater entrepreneurship.
The University of Warwick has been awarded an ‘Impact Acceleration Account’ (IAA) by the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC), the UK’s main funding agency for scientific research.
The money will go towards a number of initiatives to boost the University’s impact on the wider economy, including supporting the very early stage of turning research outputs into a commercial proposition – the “valley of death” between a research idea and developing it to a stage where a company or venture capitalist might be interested.
It will also allow the University to fund secondments for scientists and engineers to spend time in a business environment: improving their knowledge and skills and returning to the lab with a better understanding of the way companies operate and the challenges they face.
In addition, the funding will boost Warwick’s Global Research Priority Programmes, multidisciplinary initiatives which focus on finding solutions to the world’s biggest challenges, specifically in the areas of energy, innovative manufacturing, science and technology for health and sustainable cities.
The IAA money will be complemented by further funding from the University itself, as well as the Higher Education Innovation Fund Round (HEIF) and the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF).
University of Warwick Vice-Chancellor and President Professor Nigel Thrift said “The University of Warwick already has a widely-acknowledged reputation for its strong links with business and industry and for producing research with high commercial value.
“The Impact Acceleration Account will enable us to deepen these links and to further develop as an entrepreneurial and innovative research centre responding to real-world challenges.
“Universities have a key role to play in nurturing UK economic growth, and we are proud to be at the heart of this drive.”
The IAAs were announced by Business Secretary Vince Cable during a visit to the London studios of university spin-out company Space Syntax.
The Business Secretary said: “The UK's scientists are some of the most innovative and creative people in the world, but they need support to take their best ideas through to market. This could be by establishing a successful, technology-driven SME like Space Syntax which I visited today.
“This investment I'm announcing today will help our leading universities become centres of innovation and entrepreneurship, generating commercial success to fuel growth.”
EPSRC chief executive Professor Dave Delpy said: “The research we support is recognised as outstanding on the international stage. These awards aim to make a step change in the impact that has on society: generating new business opportunities which drive economic growth, creating better, more informed, public policy.”
The IAAs will help companies to engage with research projects at an earlier stage and benefit from research breakthroughs and the fundamental knowledge they generate.
The funding will be used to support partnerships with SMEs and larger companies and take some of the risk out of their investment.
For further information please contact University of Warwick press officer Anna Blackaby on firstname.lastname@example.org or 02476 575910 or 07785 433155