University of Strathclyde: Launch of new national network to boost innovation

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The University of Strathclyde is part of a new £6.75 million national network to accelerate UK innovation.

The Innovation Launchpad Network+ will bring together leading universities, the Catapult Network and regional innovation ecosystems to enrich the exchange of ideas and knowledge across these organisations.

The network is a national collaboration, led by the University of Sheffield with the Universities of Strathclyde, Leeds, Warwick, Bristol and Exeter, and the Catapult Network. There are nine Catapults, each established by and working in partnership with Innovate UK and which support businesses across healthcare, energy, emerging technologies and manufacturing in transforming great ideas into valuable products and services.

Academic engagement
To foster new links between individuals or groups and the network, the programme will deliver 100 world-class Researchers in Residence (RIR) programmes and will focus on the themes of net zero, healthcare and wellbeing, and resilience.

The RIR scheme promotes academic engagement and enables researchers to work within the Catapult environment as part of one or more centres, undertaking a project or activity in an area of strategic importance

The programme builds on the successful Catapult Fellows and RIR programmes and aims to create a truly inclusive and integrated science-innovation community.

Professor Stephen McArthur, Associate Principal and Executive Dean of Engineering at Strathclyde, is a co-investigator on the grant and the Impact and Dissemination Lead, responsible for adoption and exploitation of research results within the Catapult.

He said:

This is an exciting opportunity to further link activities within Catapults and universities, leading to the exploitation and scale-up of innovation across a range of societal and industrial challenges.
“It also builds on Strathclyde’s existing engagement with a large number of Catapults.”

Professor Patricia Connolly from Strathclyde’s Biomedical Engineering Department is also on the network’s Health and Wellbeing-Scientific Advisory panel.

Applications for the Researcher in Residence scheme will open in October and additional funding for travel and feasibility studies will also be available to support the co-creation of research residencies. The Innovation Launchpad Network+ includes previously successful academics, who will offer their support and mentoring to new applicants.

Online event
An online event is being held from 12pm-2pm on Thursday 6 October 2022, where researchers can find out more about the network and opportunities of the RIR scheme.

Matthew Durdy, Chair of the Catapult Network and CEO of Cell and Gene Therapy Catapult said: “We welcome this important initiative which strikes right at the heart of our aim to build a collaborative research, development and innovation landscape.

“Catapults and academia working together will provide first-class knowledge exchange and a launchpad to bring researchers closer to innovation in industry, giving them valuable exposure to the translation and commercialisation of research.”

Research residencies
The programme will support two complementary pathways for research residencies, both of which aim to place the right researcher in the right Catapult at the right time. The first pathway will support residencies that contribute directly to delivery of the Catapults’ strategic roadmaps, which are near-term industry needs.

The second aims to leverage the capability of the Catapults to accelerate the translation of science in partnership with higher education institutions (HEIs) and regional innovation ecosystems, which can include other non-Catapult research and technology organisations (RTOs) and incubators.

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