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19 September 2008 | PR 08/134

Two Loughborough University spin out companies win first ever Lord Stafford Awards for the East Midlands

Two Loughborough University spin out companies have won prestigious new regional awards for innovation.

The two Loughborough inventions, a handheld screening device to detect the early signs of heart disease and stroke, and interactive playground equipment to engage the ‘Playstation generation’, received two of the three awards presented last week by Lord Digby Jones, Minister for Trade & Investment. The Lord Stafford Awards East Midlands were launched earlier this year to reward innovative partnerships between the region’s universities and business community.

The Innovation in Development Award was received by Dr Vincent Crabtree of Loughborough spin out Dialog Devices and Professor Kamlesh Khunti of the University of Leicester for Padd, a quick and painless test to assess Peripheral Vascular Disease (PVD) in primary care. PVD is a potentially fatal condition that affects over 90 million people worldwide. Vincent, an optical engineer from Loughborough University, developed Padd having been inspired by the plight of his grandfather, who died at 55 after having his leg amputated due to PVD. He founded Dialog Devices in 2003 and is working with Professor Khunti’s team to develop the technology and build on its success in clinical studies.

Pictured with Lord Stafford (left) and Lord Digby Jones (right) is Anna Seddon of Loughborough University and Dr Phil Hodgkins of Progressive Sports Technologies.The Innovation Achieved Award was received by Dr Phil Hodgkins of Loughborough spin out Progressive Sports Technologies and Anna Seddon of Loughborough University for i.play, a solar-powered playground product that uses wireless gaming technology to encourage exercise that’s challenging and fun. Phil developed the i.play concept together with Professor Mike Caine, Director of Loughborough University’s Sports Technology Institute, as part of his PhD research that was jointly supervised by Professor Steve Rothberg, Dean of Engineering.

i.play was developed in partnership with leading British manufacturer, Playdale Playgrounds, who have already installed 30 units in municipal playgrounds across the UK; rejuvenating what had become a stagnant market. Walkers Crisps (PepsiCo) has also installed i.play as its premier feature for is ‘Parks for Life’ initiative. Over £750,000 revenue has been generated since its launch in 2007, and circa £3M of potential orders have been quoted to date.

Both the Loughborough spin outs received a cheque for £5000 and a Wedgwood Trophy was also awarded to each company and their university collaborator to commemorate their achievement.

Loughborough University expertise was also recognised in the third and final category of the Lord Stafford East Midlands Awards.  ‘More from Less’ was a collaborative project led by Dr Jacqueline Glass of the Department of Civil and Building Engineering together with The British Precast Concrete Federation designed to help manufacturers improve sustainability in the precast concrete sector by addressing important issues such as energy use, water consumption and fuel. This was short listed for the Innovation in Sustainability Award.

Commenting on their success, Professor Shirley Pearce, Loughborough University Vice Chancellor said, “I am delighted that the innovative achievements of two of our spin out companies and researchers have been recognised in the inaugural Lord Stafford Awards for the East Midlands Region. Padd and i.play are excellent examples of how collaborative partnerships can stimulate innovation and competitiveness in industry – an ethos that Loughborough University shares with the Lord Stafford Awards.” 

-ENDS-

For all media enquiries contact:

Judy Wing
Senior PR Officer
Loughborough University
T: 01509 228697
E: J.L.Wing@lboro.ac.uk

Notes for editors:

  1. The Lord Stafford Awards were developed in 1997 to recognise and encourage the development of collaborative relationships between Businesses and Universities. Formerly held solely in the West Midlands, 2008 marks the launch of the awards in the East Midlands.

    The Awards recognise the region’s innovators and bring together the wealth of research and development work produced by Universities and diverse business enterprises. The awards seek to generate increased competitiveness and knowledge transfer. The Lord Stafford Awards support growth and economic prosperity for the region, and aim to encourage all businesses and universities across these two regions to participate in collaborative activity, and to embrace innovation.

    More information on the Awards is available at www.thelordstaffordawards.com/east/about.php.

  2. Loughborough is one of the country’s leading universities, with an international reputation for excellence in teaching and research, strong links with industry and unrivalled sporting achievement.

    It is a member of the esteemed 1994 Group – a set of internationally recognised, research intensive universities – and has a reputation for the relevance of its work. Its degree programmes are highly regarded by professional institutions and businesses, and its graduates are consistently targeted by the UK’s top recruiters.

    Loughborough is also the UK’s premier university for sport. It has perhaps the best integrated sports development environment in the world and is home to some of the country’s leading coaches, sports scientists and support staff. It also has the country’s largest concentration of world-class training facilities across a wide range of sports.

    In the 2007 National Student Survey, the University was voted fourth in the UK, with 23 out of 29 of Loughborough’s subject areas being ranked in the top ten for overall satisfaction. Loughborough is also ranked in the top fifteen of UK universities in national league tables. It was named winner of the 2006 and 2007 Times Higher award for the UK’s Best Student Experience and winner of the 2007 award for Outstanding Support for Overseas Students. In recognition of its contribution to the sector, the University has been awarded six Queen's Anniversary Prizes – an achievement bettered by no other university.

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