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LATi held its largest showcase event to date in celebration of 20 years – in the same building it held its first event in 1996. How the world has changed in that time. To mark the occasion, LATi invited three exceptional speakers to talk about what the future holds for all of us … ‘from earth to space and beyond.’
The audience were captivated by their thought-provoking talks:
Jon Walker of Loughborough University, one of the instigators of LATi spoke about how the vision of LATi as a “Science Park without Walls” has remained constant , and is as relevant today as it was 20 years ago. Jon’s message is that LATi continues to play an important role in building and sustaining the local innovation community, and this has been made possible because ofactive support of the private sector, strong links with organisations involved with research and innovation including local universities, and an enabling public sector, including enterprise partnerships, government departments and the council.
Dr Rose Deakin – a community horticulturalist, spoke about the importance of seed banks and plant sustainability. She started her social enterprise, The Crop Club, to help communities reconnect to the the ‘joy of growing food, encouraging biodiversity and inspiring healthy happy lifestyles’. Rose spoke about how people are increasingly disconnected from the food they eat and where it comes from, disconnected from nature, and that we are losing critical skills – such as growing our own food. She also spoke about biodiversity and food security. Attendees of the event were all given a box which contained one of 20 heritage seeds, including exotically named ‘Lord Leicester’ Tall Pea, Burpees Golden Zucchini, Champion of England climbing pea, Early Fortune cucumber (all seeds sourced from The Real Seed Catalogue). The box the seeds came in was sponsored by Crayfish Design (artwork) and Purely Digital (print).
Andrew Bowyer – a space engineer, spoke about exciting space-related projects Magna Parva are working on. He spoke about their mission experience, the exciting engineering projects and applications they are working on, and the challenges they face designing these products for space, including issues we may not consider an issue of earth such as autonomy, reliability, fluid handling, radiation and power.
Well-known futurist Christopher Barnatt, seen here with Martin Croft of Dynamic Flow Technologies, spoke about what the future could look like, looking at robotics, artificial intelligence and 3D printing. A riveting talk. It was obvious from the conversations taking place around the room afterwards that the speakers had fired up our collective imaginations.
Attendees also had the opportunity to meet the 40 high-tech and scientific companies exhibiting at LATI 2016, including Magna Parva, CommAgility, Bennett Engineering, Datalink Electronics, Campbell Scientific, Energy Technologies Institute, East Midlands Satellite Centre of Excellence – EMBRACE, Dynamic Flow Technologies, Veolia Water Technologies, Medilink East Midlands, Casenio, Nemaura Pharma, Charnwood Molecular, and Xenogesis, amongst many others.
Liz Rendall of Xenogesis seen here with fellow-exhibitor, Stephen Thomason of Nemaura Pharma said: “It was a pleasure to be a VIP sponsor and take part in the LATi 2016 Members Showcase, celebrating 20 years of LATi. XenoGesis is a laboratory-based contract research organization specialised in Drug Metabolism and Pharmacokinetics (DMPK), quantitative bioanalysis and expert interpretation as well as Drug Discovery consultancy. Whilst the service that XenoGesis offers is for a very specific area of science, we highly value being able to meet with people from both other science and technology SMEs, and those whose primary aim is to support other businesses. We find that the larger LATi events are a great place to do this. Random liaisons with unrelated businesses often result in conversations that spark great thoughts!
I doubt there was anyone in the audience who did not find the ‘from earth to space and beyond’ presentations mind boggling and I’m sure many left the evening prepared for some deep soul searching! We all know that technologies move forward at a pretty fast pace, but the time frames in which this can occur were put into context. The speakers were all highly engaging, starting with Jon Walker and the vision for LATi in 1996. Andy Bowyer spoke of space technology with 3D printing that you can hardly imagine. The notion that interpersonal skills will become more and more essential as humans are put out of their jobs by advancing technology has a huge impact on us and future generations – I was intrigued by Christopher Barnatt’s reflections on the future. We shall all be comparing notes next summer for how our crop gardening skills have improved with the gift of seeds from The Crop Club. I hope we will mull over the advances in seed and crop technology presented by Rose Deakin as we potter on our plots! Congratulations to LATi on a great Showcase event and on reaching 20 years!”
Iain Thornton of Campbell Scientific, seen here with Loughborough University Vice Chancellor, Professor Robert Allison said: “As long-term supporters of LATi, Campbell Scientific were excited to sponsor and participate in the recent Members Showcase to celebrate the 20th Anniversary of the East Midlands technology networking group at Loughborough University’s Science and Technology Centre.
The event proved to be very popular with varied platform of thought-provoking speakers taking to the stage ahead of a busy networking/exhibition session. A wide range of technologies and supporting businesses were represented and the event provided members and visitors a relaxed environment to network whilst enjoying some excellent catering provided by the venue.
Campbell Scientific took the opportunity to showcase its optical weather sensors developed and manufactured in its European operations based in Shepshed, nr Loughborough. Also, on display were the latest dataloggers, the product range the company is perhaps best known for.”
John Bennett of Bennett Engineering Design Solutions said: “I thoroughly enjoyed meeting so many interesting and helpful business people from the local area. Additionally, I know that one of my clients will be interested in the anatomical work being done by Nottingham Trent University – Enabling Innovation.
The talks were all very interesting and two of them have partially solved the annual problem of what to buy for Christmas: The Crop Club seeds and Chris Barnatt’s latest book!”
With thanks to our many sponsors and supporters
The LATi Showcase has been a great success thanks to the many people and organisations that have helped us to stage this event. Many thanks to our sponsors, including all our Loughborough University Science and Enterprise Park, imago, and LATi 2016 Showcase exhibitors. Event artwork and graphics is sponsored by Crayfish Design and @LATiLtd Social Media support by BizPaul.com.
Many thanks too to the many individuals who helped us along the way, with special mention to Jon Walker and Anna Leather of Loughborough University, Clare Booth of the Department for International Trade, and Iain Thornton of Campbell Scientific. We couldn’t have done it without you. Thank You!
LATi 2016 made an impact thanks to BizPaul and Crayfish Design > here’s the evidence:
LATi 2016 Social Media journey on storify – thanks to BizPaul.com
LATi 2016 Brand Identity on YouTube – thanks to Crayfish Design
Photography credits to John Fisher