A researcher working in the Loughborough University biotech spinout Figura Analytics' lab

Loughborough University biotech spinout Figura Analytics

Over £300,000 funding to fuel University boost to region’s innovation ecosystem

Loughborough University is part of a new regional initiative that has been awarded £330K by Research England to develop a pioneering approach to creating new products, services, and business from university ideas.

Innovation Catalysed & Enabled (ICE) Leicestershire will create new accelerated pathways for university intellectual property and ideas. The University of Leicester, Loughborough University and De Montfort University will share IP and ideas with a community of businesses, graduates and students adopting an open innovation approach to sharing, testing, and developing business concepts.

The target is to deliver novel products, services and businesses and energise the innovation culture of the city and county. The project will build connections with businesses and create opportunities for students to deploy and develop skills, build experience, and catalyse enterprise.

The delivery and success of the model will be reviewed and documented to deliver a scalable model capable of deployment across the UK.

Dr Nik Kotecha OBE DL, Chair of Innovative Leicestershire, said: “The ICE Project being led by the county’s three universities aligns powerfully to our strategic aims, as it will unlock the skills, knowledge, energy and networks within our local innovation eco-system. We are alert to, and champion, the significant innovation assets within our county, yet this is presently not exploited to the fullest potential.

"We have low levels of investment in R&D in Leicestershire and low proportions of technology driven, export intensive businesses. Our region is also underserved by public investment overall, with the lowest level of public spending per head in the UK.

“This initiative is potentially transformational, as it seeks to challenge and tackle some of these key issues, and we stand ready to make the most of this opportunity.”

“We are really pleased that Research England has chosen to invest in innovation in our city and county and we look forward to developing best practice which can be further exploited here and in other parts of the country.”

Professor Dan Parsons, Loughborough University Pro Vice Chancellor Research and Innovation, said: “Across the region we have a vibrant research community with a strong track record collaborating on innovative research that turns ideas into successful businesses.

“This project helps create an ecosystem to better support our research entrepreneurs and encourage innovation. By cultivating an environment where postgraduate students and researchers with commercial ideas can benefit from accelerated pathways for IP leading to impact, we can create opportunities for our people, place and partnerships to flourish.”

The ICE project aligns with Midlands Mindforge the ambitious patient capital investment company aiming to transform ground-breaking science and technology into successful businesses with the potential to positively impact our world and accelerate the commercialisation of research from the Midlands Innovation partner universities.

De Montfort University, Loughborough University and the University of Leicester are part of the Universities Partnership civic agreement. The agreement is a commitment between the three universities and the city and counties of Leicester, Leicestershire and Rutland to work together for the benefit of local people and the prosperity of our places.

Find out more by visiting the Universities Partnership website.

Loughborough University biotech spinout Figura Analytics' new platform nanopore technology rapidly characterises, identifies and quantifies particles in liquids - helping to save time and money in a number of sectors.