Business & Innovation Magazine

by Business & Innovation Magazine Reporter 10 Aug, 2017
A massive round of applause for Gloucestershire marketing and advertising agency The Isaac Partnership which has secured the contract to design the branding and website for a game-changing NASA and MIT mission.

Proof, if proof were needed, that it doesn’t matter where you are in the world, whether in downtown Boston, Massachusetts, or Stonehouse, Gloucestershire, if you’re brilliant at what you do, then the world is your oyster.

The Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite (TESS) mission is a two-year project developed by Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) to discover exoplanets (planets beyond our solar system). The mission is being led by Sara Seager, Professor of Planetary Science and Physics at MIT, Massachusetts.

MIT is one of the world’s most prestigious universities renowned for its work advancing knowledge, particularly in the areas of science and technology.

Chris Isaac, Creative Director at Isaac Partnership, is delighted with securing the larger project after a successful working relationship with MIT earlier this year:

“Our strong science and engineering background means that MIT are confident that they can hand us the information and we can present it in a way in which they are happy. We have had three of our design team working on branding and website concepts in order to meet the tight deadline set by the team at MIT. I think our work will really portray the ambitious work that this mission is working towards.”

TESS is scheduled to launch from Cape Canaveral in June 2018 for the two-year mission. The satellite will be launched using the SpaceX re-landing Falcon 9 rocket and will discover thousands of planets during it’s time in orbit

The website will clearly present the mission through its various stages, from launch to its findings. Chris explains: “It’s a platform that the science team can use to present their data and a share it with the world. We want to create a website this incredible mission deserves.”
by Business & Innovation Magazine Reporter 03 Aug, 2017
At 488 metres in length, that’s longer than four football pitches, and weighing roughly six times as much as the largest aircraft carrier, Prelude, Shell’s new Floating Liquefied Natural Gas Facility (FLNG) was always going to represent a formidable challenge even for the skilled tug masters who were charged with towing the facility from the shipyard in South Korea where it was constructed, and delivering it to its final destination, a remote gas field 475 kilometres off the coast of Western Australia.

HR Wallingford, based at Wallingford, Oxfordshire provided navigation simulation expertise to prepare for manoeuvring the monster facility whose storage tanks can hold the equivalent of 175 Olympic-sized swimming pools.

To practise the vital manoeuvres, Howbery Business Park-based HR Wallingford, has been using its Australia Ship Simulation Centre in Fremantle to create an accurate and detailed navigation simulation of Prelude for Shell, which was used to prepare the Tow Masters, Tug Masters and Pilots, allowing them to familiarise themselves with a realistic simulation of Prelude manoeuvres at sea.

And on 25 July 2017, Prelude arrived safely at its destination off the coast of Western Australia. HR Wallingford also created and provided Shell Australia with a bespoke, web-based decision support tool, to assist with the operations planning.

Dr Mark McBride, HR Wallingford’s Ships Group Manager, said: “There was a need to assess many aspects of this unique offshore floating facility. We used real time navigation simulation, so that we could identify the limiting conditions for safe manoeuvring, as well as the tug requirements, and for developing appropriate manoeuvring strategies.”

Up to six integrated simulators at the Australia Ship Simulation Centre were used to simulate the Prelude and the tugs for the shipyard departure operation, and for the positioning during connection of the facility’s mooring lines, once at its installation site. Actual wind, wave and tidal conditions were recorded, and then modelled, which meant that the crew were able to accurately test the capability and power of the tugs in advance. The simulated positioning operation was used to prepare for the real-life operation in which the tugs were attached to the FLNG facility by 700-metre-long wires, weighing approximately 30 tonnes each.

Captain Roy Lewisson, Master of the Deep Orient, the vessel that connected Prelude to its 16 mooring lines, and who took part in the simulator training said: “Being able to accurately test the manoeuvring beforehand was a real advantage. Never before in oil and gas history have we had the chance to practice in the simulator before we get on the water.”

Prelude will produce gas at sea, turn it into liquefied natural gas and then transfer it directly to the ships that will transport it to customers, a significant innovation, cutting costs and eliminating the need for long pipelines to onshore LNG processing plants.
by Business & Innovation Magazine Reporter 03 Aug, 2017
ADEY’s pioneering work in maintaining and protecting central heating systems has been rewarded with a second Queen’s Award for innovation, presented by Gloucestershire’s Lord Lieutenant, Dame Janet Trotter.

ADEY’s staff were joined by local dignitaries to celebrate receiving the certificate and Queen’s Award bowl, as well as a citation signed by HRH The Queen and Prime Minister Theresa May.

The Queen’s Award for Enterprise celebrates the excellence achieved by Cheltenham-based ADEY in developing its innovative range of high performance chemicals used by heating engineers and plumbers in households and workplaces all over the UK – and to a growing international customer base too.

Specifically, the award recognises the development of new chemical formulations for the company’s MC1+ ‘Protector’ and MC3+ ‘Cleaner’ range of products, uniquely designed to work in tandem with ADEY’s market-leading MagnaClean magnetic filters. The chemicals safely help to clean the water that circulates inside central heating systems and prevent further corrosion, before the water passes through a magnetic filter which makes it easy to capture and remove the ‘sludge’. By keeping the system clean, the boiler will work more efficiently, saving energy and reducing repair costs.

“We were delighted to welcome Dame Janet Trotter to ADEY and incredibly proud to receive this great honour,” says John Vaughan, ADEY Chief Executive. “It’s a real achievement to be able to show the Queen’s representatives around the business and have the highest recognition for what we do. We also celebrated with an afternoon tea for the whole team.

“Since our original invention of magnetic filtration and the MagnaClean filter – which also received a Queen’s Award for innovation – we’ve been committed to developing an integrated approach to heating system protection. The introduction of a new arm within the business to research, create and test innovative and highly advanced chemical formulations was a natural step,” he adds.
by Business & Innovation Magazine Reporter 28 Jul, 2017
Immunocore Limited, the world’s leading TCR company developing biological drugs to treat cancer, infectious diseases and autoimmune diseases, and MEPC Limited (MEPC), a leading property developer and asset manager, announced today that Immunocore will expand its operations at Milton Park in Oxfordshire initially by a further 53,000 square feet (sq ft). The new purpose-built research laboratory facilities will support Immunocore’s continued growth in the area. Additional space will provide purpose-built research laboratories accommodating around 450 scientists at Immunocore.

Immunocore was established in 1999 and has been based at Milton Park since 2000, and currently occupies 135,000 sq ft of laboratory and office space. The Company will lease a new 53,000 sq ft purpose-built premises in the Enterprise Zone at 95 Park Drive and will also take further leases on a total of 48,000 sq ft in existing buildings at 96 Jubilee Avenue and 92 Park Drive on Milton Park. This forms a key part of Immunocore’s continued expansion plan on Milton Park. Planning consent for the new building at 95 Park Drive was obtained through the fast-track Local Development Order, which enables MEPC to secure consent for a wide range of development at Milton Park in just 10 days.

The Milton Park expansion reflects the growing demand for state-of-the-art, strategically located premises from established and emerging science and technology businesses in Oxfordshire, which benefits from access to talent from the University of Oxford and excellent transport links into London and other key regional hubs. 

Eliot Forster, Chief Executive Officer of Immunocore, said: “Immunocore is one of the world’s leading independent biotechnology companies. Milton Park has served as an ideal location for our headquarters, providing us with the communication advantages we depend on day-to-day, and a unique and supportive business culture that helps to reinforce our attractiveness as a place to work. The additional space will provide purpose-built research laboratories accommodating around 450 scientists at Immunocore. We are delighted to be able to renew our relationship with MEPC, and look forward to moving into the premises which we hope will be the backdrop to the next 10 years of our growth.”

James Dipple, MEPC Chief Executive Officer, said: “It’s been a real pleasure working with the Immunocore team and we are delighted to accommodate their continuing expansion at Milton Park. The start of work on building 95 Park Drive brings the total new development under construction at Milton Park to over 160,000 sq ft. These projects, which are over 50% pre-let, reinforce our commitment to providing scope for organisations of all sizes to grow within this thriving and supportive community of likeminded businesses and individuals. 

“This announcement further bolsters the reputation of Milton Park as a globally significant science and technology hub, which attracts innovative businesses who will drive long term growth for the UK economy.” 

Lord Prior, Business Minister, said: “Immunocore’s expansion in Oxfordshire is a boost for the UK’s life sciences sector and a vote of confidence in both our economy and global leadership in developing cutting-edge drugs that improve people’s lives.

“Our Industrial Strategy and sector deal with the life sciences will make the UK one of the most competitive places in the world to grow a biotechnology business and encourage even more firms to invest, creating jobs and sustainable growth across all parts of the UK.”
by Business & Innovation Magazine Reporter 13 Jul, 2017

Two major investments in research partnerships that will strengthen the links between the UK's research base, industry and business partners have been announced by Jo Johnson, Minister for Universities and Science.

Both investments show the pivotal importance of engineering and the physical sciences to the country's continued development as a global research and innovation leader.

The first investment is a new initiative, a set of Prosperity Partnerships, which will receive £31 million of government funding from the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) and the Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund (ISCF). This will be matched by a further £36 million from partner organisations in cash or in-kind contributions, and £11 million from universities' funds, resulting in a £78 million investment.

Ten universities, including the University of Warwick and University of Bristol, will lead on 11 projects that range from the future networks for digital infrastructure to offshore wind and they will partner with businesses operating in key areas of the innovation landscape. These include household names such as Siemens, BP and Unilever and also firms like M Squared Lasers that are leading in areas such as advanced photonics.

WMG, at the University of Warwick, WMG at the University of Warwick has been awarded £5.7 million by the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC). In conjunction with Jaguar Land Rover, Brandauer Holdings, Dynex Semiconductors and ST Microelectronics, WMG will be researching the science of high performance electrified propulsion ( Addressing emergent challenges in vehicle electrification through collaboration to grow scientific understanding).

WMG’s Professor Barbara Shollock said: “This Prosperity Partnership will tackle the emerging challenges for vehicle electrification through a unique collaboration to grow scientific understanding. This integrated approach brings the potential for the UK to lead, both industrially and scientifically, in an area of high growth and relevance in the UK's industrial strategy.”

The University of Bristol, in partnership with Thales Bristol will be designing new processes that guide the engineering of hybrid systems with embedded autonomy.

Jo Johnson, Minister for Universities and Science said: A central part of our Industrial Strategy is boosting the economic impact of our world-class research base by supporting the flow of innovative ideas and techniques from concept to market-place.

This investment will ensure the work of our universities continues to have positive impact around the world and maintain the UK's global leadership in science and innovation.

Professor Nigel Titchener-Hooker, Professor of Biochemical Engineering at UCL, who chaired the panel that approved the Prosperity Partnerships projects, said: “The Partnerships awards are a further demonstration of EPSRC's vision in creating exciting opportunities for industry and academia to work together on strategically significant problems. The quality of the applications we reviewed was outstanding and demonstrated strength of vision, relevance and a determination to pursue long term collaborative research. The breadth of applications too speaks to the diversity of UK industry and to the alignment between the UK's very best academic teams and our industrial base.

The grants promise to create a series of exciting avenues of research leading to industrial implementation. It's a wonderful new example of how, in partnership, we can harness our collective capabilities to strengthen our economy and once again underscores the importance of ongoing investment in the HE research base.

The second EPSRC investment is £60 million for 33 universities to advance their Impact Acceleration Accounts (IAA). These allow institutions the flexibility to operate tailored schemes that help increase the likelihood of impact from their research. The IAAs speed up the contribution that scientists make towards new innovation, successful businesses and the economic returns that benefit the UK.

Professor Philip Nelson, Chief Executive of the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council said: If innovation is an ecosystem then it is dependent on having a fertile soil of research and the fresh air of ideas to nourish its growth. These new EPSRC Prosperity Partnerships and IAAinvestments will provide the right conditions in which new technologies and products can be developed more quickly. In turn, this will return social and economic benefits and ensure the UK continues to be one of the best places in the world to research, innovate and grow business.

The IAAs' aims are to promote movement between universities, businesses and other organisations; to support the very early stage of turning research outputs into a commercial proposition; improve engagement with businesses, government and third sector to sow the seeds of new collaboration and more strategic engagement, and reach out to researchers who do not normally engage in exploitation activities and driving culture change within the university.

The flexibility within each IAA means that different universities support activities in different ways, in line with their own unique needs and opportunities.

by Business & Innovation Magazine Reporter 12 Jul, 2017
It has been a strong quarter for Oxford University Innovation (OUI), not least being named the leading technology transfer office worldwide.

The strength and value of Oxford University’s innovation ecosystem was demonstrated in a report showing that Oxford University contributes £7.1 billion to the global economy every year, with the University’s commercialisation activities responsible for £1.2 billion.

As of 2015, Oxford had generated 136 new spinout companies – more than any other UK university – boasting a combined global turnover of £600 million. Oxfordshire is home to 80 of these innovative companies, employing 1,886 people and contributing £132 million annually to the local economy, while 129 remain based in the UK.

In May, Oxford University Innovation (OUI) was named Technology Transfer Office of the Year by university innovation magazine Global University Venturing, marking the second time OUI has been highlighted as a world leader in the field.

Oxford University companies raised £93 million during Q2 of 2017, of which £3.9 million was at the seed stage. In addition, £268,037 in translational funding was awarded.

During this period, OUI launched four spinout companies, including Oxford Quantum Circuits, the first quantum computing spinout to emerge from the University.

The Oxford University Innovation Fund, the early-stage investment fund for OUI, has now invested a total of £3.9 million into 16 companies.

During the second quarter of 2017, it added three new companies to its portfolio: Ultromics,  Cycle.Land and Oxford Quantum Circuits.

DiffBlue, an Oxford University spinout company developing an artificial intelligence (AI) capable of writing code, has secured £17 million in Series A funding. The round was led by Goldman Sachs Principal Strategic Investments, with participation from Oxford Sciences Innovation (OSI) and Oxford Technology and Innovations Fund (OTIF).

Zegami, an Oxford University analytics spinout company focused on image management, has raised £2.3 million to develop its image search and analytics platform for the cloud and take its technology to the consumer market. The round was led by returning investor Oxford Sciences Innovation, and included Parkwalk Advisors.

Scenic Biotech BV, an international collaboration from Oxford University and the Netherlands Cancer Institute (NKI) that looks to tackle diseases on the genetic level, secured €6.5 million (£5.7 million) in Series A funding. Backers included Biogeneration Ventures, INKEF Capital and Oxford Sciences Innovation.

Oxbotica, the autonomous vehicle spinout from Oxford University, has announced plans for the most ambitious self-driving vehicle trial worldwide to date. Leading the newly-formed DRIVEN consortium with £8.6 million in grant funding, Oxbotica aims to trial an autonomous vehicle driving from central London to central Oxford unassisted by 2019.

Colwiz, an OUI incubator company developing a software-as-a-service for academic articles, and Oxford Gene Technology (OGT), a DNA technology spinout launched in 1997, both completed successful exits in the last week of May. Colwiz sold to publisher Taylor & Francis, while OGT sold to Sysmex.
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