News

CREST@UCS first geospatial Special Interest Group

October was a busy month for CREST@UCS events; we held the first meeting of our geospatial special interest group. The group members have a shared interest in advancing geospatial mapping & science, and learning and technology.  The SIG came about as response to the geospatial workshop run by Andrew Miles in June.  It gives members the opportunity to communicate, meet, and organise events. Likewise, they are able to cooperate to impact or to produce solutions within the geospatial field.

This meeting was timely as the Government are establishing a Geospatial Commission to oversee and open up geospatial data held by Government Departments. It is anticipated the Geospatial Commission will publish a strategy in Spring 2019 based on the call to businesses that was due at the end of October 2018.

One result of this meeting was a successfully completed questionnaire in response to the Geospatial Commission’s call for evidence. We are awaiting to hear the overall outcomes from this call for evidence.

R&D Tax Credits and Intellectual Property Event

This event was held in October 2018 and attended by businesses who work in a variety of different areas. We had extremely knowledgeable speakers providing information useful for anyone starting a new business or developing their own products.

“Use of case studies was particularly helpful in gaining an understanding of the subject matter” G.M.

“The Intellectual Property Office gave an overview that was particularly useful” M.S.

“I will look into R&D tax credits further to see if they are applicable to my business” M.W.

CREST@UCS: Our impact so far, October 2018

The project differentiates itself from providing general business support, by supporting enterprises with innovation and research. In particular, Priority 1b allows CREST@UCS to focus on promoting business investment in research & innovation with the intention to:
1) increase the proportion of small and medium enterprises that are innovation active
2) increase the number of businesses actively innovating to bring new products or new processes to the market

Since the official launch in February 2018 CREST@UCS has built a growing pipeline of businesses that have expressed a desire to innovate and obtain research support.  To date:

32 SMEs in the Marches have applied for innovation or research support
Of these, 29 have received different types of either innovation support or have been assisted with expert research.
Of the 29, 12 have received our standard package of support under ERDF which is a minimum of 12 hours support. They have come from the following areas:

  • Renewable Energy – 2 companies
  • Software/Geospatial – 5 companies
  • Manufacturing – 3 companies
  • Waste – 2 companies

To date we have delivered the following (please note, due to privacy we are unable to provide company names):

Energy:

  • Successful Department for Transport funding bid
  • Technical expertise that the SME could not have secured themselves due to limited funds. Support also provided to help the SME complete a funding application

Software/Geospatial:

  • Research collaboration to create a geospatial map of existing green space in Shropshire. This can then be modelled to include potential plans for future housing or regeneration developments. This will lead to the generation of a new product
  • Research collaboration to help the SME develop and launch a new product
  • Research collaboration to develop a new product and bring it to market using academic expertise
  • Support to develop a Knowledge Transfer Partnership leading to development of a new software product
  • Research collaboration into data sources to develop a new product

Manufacturing:

  • Innovation support to shorten development time on a new project allowing the SME to generate more income more quickly
  • Advice on Intellectual Property and identification of opportunities for new products
  • Researching the market opportunity for the re-use of existing products to create a new business

Waste:

  • Research collaboration into developing an AD facility on site (including regulations and licensing). They would be unable to carry out the activities without our support as they do not have the funds or the expertise
  • Support with developing funding and grant applications for a novel waste management scheme

Is your business working hard to improve and protect the water environment?

The Marches Blue Business Award celebrates those leading the way in protecting local water resources. It focuses on innovative projects being implemented by businesses across the Marches and beyond which aim to reduce or eliminate water pollution, improve water quality, and cut the use of water within their own organisation. Enter the Marches Blue Business Award competition and your business could join a growing network of exemplary organisations helping to conserve the most valuable resource of all, water! The closing date is Friday 5th November 2018. For more information click here

Julieanna Powell-Turner joins CREST@UCS

CREST@UCS is pleased to announce the appointment of Dr Julieanna Powell-Turner as Research Director. She joins us from Cranfield University where she was Head of Research and a Senior Lecturer in Sustainable Supply Chains. Julieanna’s experience includes environmental management and policy development which builds on her background in environmental sciences.

Her work at Cranfield covered the interfaces between environmental sustainability and the circular economy where products and services are considered through life from design to final disposal in a supply network. The aim of this through life approach is to investigate and advance early stage innovative ideas. Therefore reducing the likelihood and/or the impact of supply disruptions to business through risk identification (disruptions), assessment (occurrence and impact), action (strategy and mitigation) and monitoring (reduce risk).

We’re in the middle of a tech revolution…!

Our Tech Business Breakfast demonstrated that there are a huge number of tech companies based in Shropshire. Attendees heard about opportunities for the county to grow upon its existing strengths in geospatial, manufacturing and environmental technologies. Could Shropshire become the place for digital innovation in artificial intelligence, open source data, digi health, sports tech and assistive technology?

Geospatial data workshop, June 2018

On 26th June CREST@UCS held its second funded workshop for SMEs. It was run by Dr Andrew Miles and focused on how the opening up of geospatial data held by public bodies can benefit businesses in the area. It was a small, hands on event that provided the opportunity to bring like minded individuals together. This workshop identified that there is a need for a local GIS usergroup to be established in the area. CREST@UCS is now working with Dr Andrew Miles and local businesses to develop this. Stay tuned for more information!

Shropshire Chamber Business Awards

CREST@UCS was proud to sponsor the ‘Environmental Innovation’ award at the Shropshire Chamber Business Awards, held on Friday 15th June 2018 at Telford International Centre. We were very pleased to celebrate with Hobson’s Brewery, winners of the award.

First ever CREST@UCS workshop, May 2018

CREST@UCS held its first funded workshop on 15th May 2018, which was a great success, being attended by over 50 people.
There were some interesting talks from both academics and people in industry about how flooding can be managed naturally, and what the benefits of this are to businesses in Shropshire and Telford & Wrekin.

The workshop featured talks from Dr Anne Wheeler, Chair of the Severn and Wye Regional Flood and Coastal Committee; Mike Morris, Deputy Director of the Severn Rivers Trust; Dr Phil Marren, CREST Researcher; Dr Nicola Hall from Reaseheath College; Guy Pluckwell from the Environment Agency and Peter Lambert, from Shropshire Wildlife Trust.