Posted: Sep 20, 2010

Surrey nanotechnology funding scheme encourages interaction between industry and academia

(Nanowerk News) The Nanotechnology Knowledge Transfer Network (NanoKTN) in the UK has announced the launch of BlueSkyNano, an award scheme aiming to increase engagement between industry and academia. The first award is in partnership with the University of Surrey.
The first award scheme is in partnership with the University of Surrey and will offer companies funding to encourage them to undertake a feasibility study to help solve technology challenges utilising the University's expertise. The call for applications opened on 13 September 2010 and will close on the 26 November 2010.
BlueSkyNano has been established to fund feasibility studies aimed at new product development or product enhancement. Focused primarily on innovation in nanomaterials, it will cover application areas including ICT, environment and energy, medicine and high value manufacturing and aims to establish a recognisable brand for UK industry.
Sophie Woodward, project manager of the Knowledge Transfer Account, University of Surrey, said the awards scheme would provide a route to access world class research, expertise and facilities. "At the University we encourage research into relevant and practical applications and by working with the NanoKTN's BlueSkyNano award scheme and bringing together industry and academia, the goal is to support companies, helping them to make huge improvements in a number of areas."
The funding is available to all SMEs working in the nanotechnology arena. Applications will be reviewed by the Research and Enterprise staff at the University of Surrey and successful applicants will be introduced to suitable academics to deliver the project. As well as working as part of BlueSkyNano, there will also be opportunities for further funding using Knowledge Transfer Account (KTA) / Knowledge Transfer Partnerships (KTP) / Integrated Doctoral Centre (IDC) mechanisms.
"Much of nanotechnology is uncharted territory, and companies need assistance to try out new innovative ideas," said Martin Kemp, theme manager at the NanoKTN. "This assistance can be provided by universities and research organisations, but finding a 'way in' to meet the right experts can be daunting, especially for SMEs with limited resources. Developing relationships between industry and academia offer a fast track route to realising the significant benefits that nanotechnology can bring to many UK industries, gaining competitive advantage and market share."
Kemp believes that to support the successful exploitation of nanotechnology in the UK, academia and industry need to collaborate to bridge the gaps in the supply chain and to develop projects and research. He noted: "BlueSkyNano acts as an SME-friendly and easy way for companies to get help from academia and research organisations to improve and develop products. It is crucial for industry leaders to take advantage of the state of the art research facilities in the UK to ensure nanotechnology advances."
The NanoKTN is encouraging companies working in the nano space to apply for the £5000 grant and is able to assist with proposals and applications.
Established by the Technology Strategy Board, the NanoKTN is managed by Centre for Process Innovation Ltd, a leading technology development and consulting company.
Source: University of Surrey