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Innovative firms boosted by government funding

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Nine projects have been awarded £660,000 from the Intellectual Property Office to help businesses take their innovative ideas off the drawing board and into the marketplace.

The prizes, awarded as part of this year’s Fast Forward competition, were given out during a ceremony at the University of Birmingham by Intellectual Property Minister, Lord Younger. The competition, which has been running for the past four years, is designed to encourage universities and public sector research bodies work collaboratively with businesses. In total, more than £2.7m has been awarded to 44 projects.

This year, the winners will each receive funding of between £40,000 and £99,000 for their projects in the horticulture, sport, education, healthcare and games industries.

“The UK is a nation of inventors, and each year we see cases of successful businesses that have turned their innovative ideas into products and services for the UK and international markets,” says Lord Younger, Intellectual Property Minister.

“Our world-class universities are a key driver of this innovation and we should always look to find new ways of working with them to better support businesses and drive economic growth. This is why I am so pleased to see so many innovative applications to the Fast Forward competition. The competition this year was tough. I would like to congratulate this year’s winners on their success and I will follow their progress with interest.”

The projects that were awarded funding this year through the Fast Forward competition are:

  • Royal Botanic Garden: Horticulture Micropropogation Services – a project that will help small plant breeders to source affordable and flexible services to develop new plant varieties
  • University of Abertay Dundee: Investing in Digital Assets – this project will work with game developers to help them identify and value their intellectual property
  • University of Stirling: Sports innovation challenge – a project that will link in with the 2014 Commonwealth Games and the Ryder Cup to give entrepreneurial students the opportunity to come up with sports company ideas. The best ideas will be supported by the university to form new companies
  • University of Oxford: Encouraging IP uptake for SMEs – a project that will support a new scheme offered by Oxford Isis Innovation that will make it easy and affordable for small and medium businesses to create new intellectual property
  • Plymouth University: App Challenge Model – this project will demonstrate how charities can manage software applications and create health apps
  • University of Dundee: Technology Accelerator Program – this project is designed to bring together students, university staff, industry and SMEs to look at the commercial potential of platform technology
  • Nottingham Trent University: Nottingham Creative IP Project – this project will provide businesses and students in the creative industries with a better understanding of how they can protect their IP
  • Cardiff University: Health Technology Challenge – this project aims to increase innovation in the NHS to find solutions to help healthcare practitioners to deliver better care for patients
  • Lancaster University: Philanthropic crowd-funding of IP through the ‘valley of death’ – this project will develop a new model to overcome the stalling of inventions between academic research and industrial application by trialling internet-based public crowd-funding to support patented medical research

The winners of this year’s competition were picked out of more than 60 entries. 

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