15 June 2015 15:45

Businesses are being urged to take advantage of a £300,000 funding pot aimed at boosting research and development projects.

SMEs looking to develop new products and willing to invest in research and development can get more than double the value of their funds. The University will help businesses bridge the gap between the lab and marketplace by sourcing expertise and paying half the research project costs for projects up to £50,000. The University is also waiving overhead fees, so the support for businesses is worth more than 75 per cent of the project costs.

Dr Mark Rushforth, Head of Business Partnerships & Enterprise, Physical Sciences at Lancaster University’s Faculty of Science and Technology, said: “The funding allows organisations to explore a new working relationship with our researchers, gain access to expertise and facilities, and develop new products – providing another route for our world-leading research to provide real benefits for society and the economy.”

“This scheme has already supported some very promising and commercially viable projects and we are very keen to hear from more businesses who are interested in capitalising on cutting-edge science and technology research.”

The University is seeking chemistry, computing & communications, engineering, mathematics, and physics projects.

Examples of projects that have benefitted from previous rounds of funding include:

• Burnley-based Process Instruments Limited collaborated with Lancaster University’s Chemistry Department to develop a new sensor to improve water treatment.

• Laboratory device business Microfab Limited developed prototypes and proof of concept of a low pressure pump system and micro fluid incubator with help from Lancaster’s Department of Engineering.

• Compound Semiconductor Technologies Limited (CST) have been developing a thermophotovoltaic (TPV) cell, conceived at Lancaster University, that directly converts waste heat into electric power.

Lancaster University has received the funds as an extension of the EPSRC’s (Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council) Impact Acceleration Account (IAA) – which has already allocated £600,000 to more than 70 industrial partners for collaborative projects. The IAA is designed to stimulate a collaborative culture between industry and university researchers and exploit the commercial value of EPSRC funded research.