LogoERDF_Col_PortraitThe iNet, in conjunction with LATi, hosted an excellent EDRF-funded event for local businesses, on opportunities for R&D collaboration with universities, at ATIC, Loughborough University Science & Enterprise Park on 6th April.

The event looked at the kind of benefits, from both a business and university perspective, which smaller companies and academics seek when embarking on R&D collaborations to innovate and create impact.

Nick Weatherby showed real “impact” in describing the journey from laboratory to roadside, for his company, Haydale Composite Solutions – developing “Frangible Safety Posts” to improve vehicle occupant and pedestrian safety – and the subsequent development of the business.

Martin Rigley helped to de-mystify the practical steps taken by his company, Lindhurst Engineering, in developing a scalable anaerobic digestion system, to turn organic waste into renewable energy, and applying this to agriculture and food and drink production.”

Prof Jacqui Glass gave frank and constructive insights into how collaborations with universities work best, and Georgette Hall outlined the practical steps through the collaborative R&D application process with The iNet.

John Frodsham, Director of The iNet, commenting said, “It was great to see a “full house” of ambitious businesses, wanting to hear the experiences of others, about getting the best out of the R&D support available, including various ERDF part-funded routes available through us. We know from several conversations since, that the candid stories were a real inspiration.”

Attendees said …

“…I was very interested in the programme for “Enhance your R&D – joint working between SMEs and Universities” but unfortunately had to be at a working group meeting in London the same day. I missed what I expected to be the highlight for me – Nick Weatherby’s presentation on Frangible Safety Posts which is the other half of my field of work – vehicle safety.  Prof Jacqui Glass and Georgette Hall not only made up for my disappointment by a very good explanation of the various schemes from both sides of the academic/business interface, but in a follow-up phone call, Prof Glass identified just the right professor I needed to make progress with a possible project that has had a couple of false starts, and a meeting is already set up. Well worth rushing back for!”
Alan Thomas – CAVT Ltd

“… I found the event well organised, easy to get to and informative yet concise which is preferable. The talks showed some of the opportunities available to Loughborough based businesses that take advantage of local funding and I enjoyed hearing the positive experiences from other SMEs in the region. Following the event we are investigating the SING/CrD funding opportunity with iNet and collaboration opportunities with a fellow-attendee, good going from a 2-hour local networking event!”
Chris Kay –  Interface Polymers

“… I found the session both informative and revealing, really good to have had speakers with firsthand experience of funding streams and to better understand their trials and tribulations acquiring funding for their projects. I hope at some point GLW Feeds can take advantage of a funded project.”
Mark Goodman – GLW Feeds

“… A really stimulating  event with inspiring speakers and a great cross section of presentations.  The insights shared by Prof Jacqui Glass into how collaborations with universities work best helped enormously. Taken along with the presentations of the other speakers, whose projects have developed over years of persistence and step-by-step development, this LATi run iNet event exuded positivity ! A very encouraging event which helped focus thoughts.”
Steve Clayton – MEM Installations

“… I found the event well organised and very insightful, providing practical advice on the best ways for SMEs to initially engage with and then build on their relationship with University research teams. It also clarified for me how the iNET could help facilitate this.”
Rick Norsworthy – Riverfresh

“… In my view the event was efficiently organised and although small, a good group of people had been brought together. We are organising one or two followup meetings as result of meeting colleagues during the event and I am hoping to apply for some funding under the new scheme.”
Dr Samad Ahmadi – DMU

“… Thank you for arranging the most recent event on collaboration research and development with Universities.  It was very informative on the funding interactions available from the iNet and the resources available from there.  Most interesting were the presentations giving the voice of SME’s and their perception of dealing with Universities and funding bodies.  Especially for someone looking at it from the University side of the fence.”
Martin Cockrill – ASDEC

“Martin Rigley’s talk on H2AD pointed to some really interesting innovations with commercial prospects in an area perhaps too few of us understand. I met some fascinating people and look forward to the next time.”
Mike Philips – Renfrew Group

“Another great and welcoming event. Useful insight and advice given for those looking to collaborate on R&D projects with Universities. Both in terms of how to approach the universities, how the process works and the current grants available. Great to hear real life experiences of local companies that have been through it. The mix of guest speakers from all sides involved was well considered and put together.”
Niall Kingsley – Duncan & Toplis

Event thanks …

Many thanks to our outstanding speakers from industry: Martin Rigley, MD of Lindhurst Engineering for and Nick Weatherby, Technical Director of Haydale Composite Solutions. Both talks demonstrated what could be achieved by small businesses when they collaborate with universities on projects, enabling them to achieve more than they would have done if they had tried to tackle the problem independently. 

To Professor Jacqui Glass, Director of the Centre for Innovative and Collaborative Construction Engineering at Loughborough University, for sharing her insights on what universities look for out of a collaborative project and what ‘fires up’ the academics to take on a project. It seems the best starting point is talking to people and starting small!

And, finally John Frodsham, Director of The iNet and Georgette Hall, Innovation Advisor at The iNet for explaining the process of accessing Collaborative R&D funding and how to apply.

Find out more about the iNet and how to apply for funding



LogoERDF_Col_LandscapeThe funding for this event and the Collaborative R&D projects was provided through the Smart Innovation and Networking for Growth (SING) project, which is part funded through ERDF and delivered by the iNet through Loughborough University.


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