13 December 2018 | By Professor Dame Jessica Corner Community

Innovation: the passion universities and business share

Partnerships can change lives. The University of Nottingham’s Professor Dame Jessica Corner explains how

Universities are key drivers in the UK’s vision of becoming the most innovative country in the world. And, at the University of Nottingham, we passionately believe that this goal can only be achieved by an exchange of ideas, skills, expertise and discoveries with business and the communities we serve.

Business and the world of academia share a core value: innovation is at the heart of everything we do. We both believe that by delivering pioneering solutions, products and services our businesses will become more competitive, more productive and more prosperous.

And like successful entrepreneurs, research-focused universities are continually alert to new opportunities to develop pioneering ideas and transform these into new products and processes, which we license to business giving them a competitive advantage.

Take, for example, the remote keyhole surgery for jet engines we have developed in partnership with Rolls-Royce – just one of the winners at the University of Nottingham Knowledge Exchange and Impact Awards 2018. This technology will save significant costs by reducing unplanned engine removals from aircraft wings.

Or the foetal heart-monitor or the bacteria-resistant plastic for use in catheters, which are both clear examples of how partnerships can change lives.

To drive even greater success, the university is reviewing its strategy for knowledge exchange and working with business. Our vision is to further excel in the exchange of ideas with our partners in industry and commerce, and embed a culture of innovation and enterprise in every academic discipline across the university.

What does this mean for you?

More than ever before, we are open for business.

As a research-intensive university we engage with businesses through a number of mechanisms: licensing of our patented inventions, contract and collaborative research (often co-funded by government through organisations such as Innovate UK) and continuous professional development and degree apprenticeships.

We want to ensure that it is easy for businesses to engage with us by making our processes faster and more flexible.

We have created the largest university patent offering in the UK by engaging with eight other universities in the region under the Midlands Innovation Commercialisation of Research Accelerator (MICRA). We are developing our SME programmes to identify and partner with businesses in a way that delivers real value for both the company and the university. And we will do what we can to secure increased funding for local businesses and communities through forging new partnerships. 

On a strategic level, we will grow our industrial partnerships, joint research centres and co-located partners. And we will develop a forum to support exchange of insights and knowledge between researchers, industry and policymakers to identify opportunities to bring together research and technology to support transformative change in key sectors.

But the evolution of a vibrant strategy for knowledge exchange is, of course, continually informed by the insights and creativity of our partners. We cannot do it without you.

Nottingham is a university where productive engagement with business really matters: where an innovative and enterprising culture supports a rich flow of ideas between our partners, and ensures we work together to ensure our discoveries have the greatest possible impact on society.

For more information, visit our Services for business website.

More inspiring research can be found as part of a campaign by the university, Discovery. For the World

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