A new way to kick start academic and business collaborations has been launched at De Montfort University Leicester (DMU).
QUIDS – Quick Innovation Developers – connect DMU experts with companies looking to solve a problem.
Five projects have been given seed funding working with different companies and academics across the university. They are:
- Developing an augmented reality training tool to detect sepsis more quickly in young children
- Building software which can assess the green credentials of suppliers, helping the company to choose more environmentally-aware firms
- Working with an engineering company to design a microscope which can analyse materials at very cold temperatures
- Investigating diversification into sustainable sportswear
- Exploring whether textile assembly can be added to a very automated workflow
The concept was devised by DMU’s knowledge exchange team Dr Rhianna Briars and Darsheet Chauhan to give academics more experience of working with industry and vice versa.
They are based on the model of Knowledge Transfer Partnerships which team up a business, an academic and a researcher – normally a postgraduate student – to work on a business-led innovative project, funded by Innovate UK.
Dr Briars said: “Creating a mechanism for local small organisations to work with our academics and benefit from our knowledge, on a quicker and flexible basis has been really exciting.
"It allows partnerships to try things out; building trust and potentially informing longer term projects. It also creates opportunities to work with organisations and on projects that would struggle to fit within the KTP funding criteria but are still valuable collaborative innovation projects.”
Professor Geoff Smith, of the Leicester School of Pharmacy, is working with company Lyosenz to develop the microscope. He said: “Companies have to put in quite a bit of money into a KTP and that’s not possible for smaller organisations. DMU has decided to get the ball rolling here and it allows us to help those smaller firms. They have access to our application knowledge and expertise, and it de-risks the process for them. I have always wanted to do a KTP and looking forward to being part of this project. It’s a win-win.”