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8 October 2009 | PR 09/135

University recognises contribution of entrepreneurs

Enterprise Awards

Professor Alastair Gale (centre) receives his award from Professor Neil Halliwell (right) and Mike Southon (left)

Loughborough University has recognised the contribution made to society and the economy by its leading entrepreneurs in a special awards ceremony celebrating 100 years of innovation.

The inaugural Enterprise Awards Gala Dinner at Holywell Park attracted over 100 guests on Friday 2 October – including academics, graduates, spin out companies, and public and private sector organisations – to celebrate the contribution the University makes in this area.

Loughborough University has a well-established reputation for working closely with business and industry partners; confirmed earlier this year when Prime Minister Gordon Brown chose Loughborough to launch the Government’s new strategic plan to invest in Britain’s economic and industrial future.

Phill Dickens, Pro Vice Chancellor (Enterprise), opened the ceremony, emphasising the University's strong heritage of collaborating with external organisations.

He said: "In the Enterprise Office we are very fortunate to have a rich seam of university research to mine.

"At Loughborough, about 70% of our research is undertaken with external partners, compared with the national average of about 20%."

Neil Halliwell, Provost and Deputy Vice-Chancellor, presented the awards and praised the achievements of the 12 projects nominated, in addition to all those involved in enterprise and research collaborations.  He added:

"This is a wonderful celebration of the enterprising culture that is such an integral part of Loughborough University.  At every level there are staff and students undertaking innovative and creative activities, and seeking opportunities to ensure that there is the maximum impact of that work in society."

The Academic Award for Enterprise was presented to Andy Harland of the Sports Technology Institute.  Together with Chris Holmes and Roy Jones, Andy has developed technology to improve the accuracy of ovoid balls in flight.  The patented device can be cost-effectively placed into balls for all levels of sports such as rugby and American Football, from international championship to recreational purposes.

The Knowledge Transfer Award for Enterprise was presented to Jean Soper on behalf of the Centre for Child and Family Research for the Cost Calculator for Children's Services.  Developed from research led by Harriet Ward with Lisa Holmes, the Cost Calculator is a computer software application designed to assist local authorities and other agencies to monitor the true costs of services to children in care and those in need.  Its application has been extended through two Knowledge Transfer Partnerships with local authorities and it has been licensed to 20 councils throughout the UK.

The Consultancy Award for Enterprise was presented to Prof Alastair Gale, head of the Applied Vision Research Centre for PERFORMS ('PERsonal perFORmance in Mammographic Screening').   PERFORMS has been playing a critical role in improving and maintaining the diagnosis of breast cancer since the NHS began breast screening over 20 years ago and it is planned to licence variations of the scheme worldwide.  The evening was a double celebration for Alastair and his team as it has just been confirmed that £1.2M over four years has been awarded from the NHS for the continuation of PERFORMS.

The Graduate Award for Enterprise was presented to Becky Lawson and Alister Fraser for Designers In Residence, a network of designers that aims to raise the profile of design education and encourage industry to re-invest in emerging design talent.  They established the venture in 2007, having won second prize in Loughborough University's Student Business Plan Competition, and are currently working with 250 schools nationwide.

The evening was rounded off by an entertaining speech by Mike Southon, Beermat entrepreneur, FT columnist and co-author of best-selling business books.

Mike said:  "Loughborough University has a great track record in encouraging and supporting enterprise.  Each time I visit I am very impressed with the quality of the business ideas and the determination of the University's entrepreneurs to succeed. The long term future of the region is in good hands."

Full details of all the nominations for the Enterprise Awards are available at http://www.lboro.ac.uk/business/news/enterprise-awards.html

−ENDS−

For all media enquiries contact:

Jo Lumani
Senior PR Officer
Loughborough University
T: 01509 228697
E: J.P.Lumani@lboro.ac.uk 

Notes for editors:

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 was awarded the coveted Sunday Times University of the Year 2008-09 title, and is consistently ranked in the top twenty of UK universities in national newspaper league tables. In the 2008 National Student Survey, Loughborough was voted one of the top five universities in the UK, with 22 out of 30 of its subject areas being ranked in the top ten for overall satisfaction. It was named winner of the 2006, 2007 and 2008 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 institution.

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.

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