2 May 2012
Sound barriers win prestigious Enterprise Fellowship for Loughborough academic
Dr Elford, 26, was one of six outstanding innovators at UK universities to be awarded an Engineering Enterprise Fellowship – a grant which will enable him to spend 12 months developing the commercial potential of his research.
The Royal Academy of Engineering chose six projects for their new fellowships, which provide up to £85,000 of funding and support per awardee.
Each winner also receives business training and mentoring from Academy Fellows with entrepreneurial experience, as well as access to business angels and venture capitalists.
Dr Elford’s novel noise barrier technology was pioneered through a new area of physics called sonic crystals - a periodic array of wave scatterers that severely reduces sound waves in specific frequency ranges.
His noise barriers are more cost-effective than current solutions and, crucially, can be tailored to cut certain types of noise and allow light and air to pass through, making them more useful for an array of industrial situations.
Dr Elford is working with Loughborough University’s Enterprise team who are actively seeking licensing partners from the private sector with whom to commercialise the research.
Loughborough University Pro Vice Chancellor (Enterprise) Professor Steve Rothberg said: “This ground-breaking acoustics research offers significant environmental and aesthetic benefits over existing noise reduction solutions. These Fellowships are very prestigious and underline the real commercial potential of the project. I’m delighted for Daniel and he will continue to enjoy our full support for this venture.’’
Ian Shott CBE FREng, Director of Shott Consulting Ltd and chair of the Fellowships selection panel, said: “It is vital to the UK economy and the engineering sector that cutting edge research is directed to effective innovation. Business-minded engineers need investment and support from industry to exploit their research, filling gaps in the market and providing solutions to industry problems, which could become the commercial success stories of tomorrow.’’
Dr Elford has worked on acoustic meta-materials within the University’s Physics Department alongside Dr Luke Chalmers and completed his PhD at Loughborough under the supervision of Dr Gerry Swallowe and Professor Feo Kusmartsev.