Our business innovations have designs on the future

Leicester produces world-class science and technology innovations that positively shape our world and the products of tomorrow.

The University of Leicester is one of only seven universities in Britain to win support from the Design Council, via its 2011 Innovate for Universities competition to turn smart ideas into viable products through design innovation.

Led by our Enterprise and Business Development team, the University will work with a specialist Design Associate to use design and design-led thinking to fast track the journey from ground breaking research to commercial success on four research advances from the University.

The four research projects are:

• Providing potential relief for tinnitus. Project led by Dr Mike Mulheran, Department of Medical and Social Care with clinical trial work undertaken in collaboration with University Hospitals of Leicester NHS Trust.

• Visualisation of latent, or otherwise invisible, fingerprints with great potential for use at crime scenes. Project led by Professor Rob Hillman in the Department of Chemistry.

• More accurately diagnosing between different types of eye conditions. This is a highly interdisciplinary project combining the University’s space research with clinical work underway at University Hospitals of Leicester NHS Trust. Project led by Dr Nigel Bannister at the University’s Space Research Centre and Mr Jeremy
Prydal, Consultant Ophthalmic Surgeon at the Trust.

• More accurate diagnosis of individuals at risk of sudden cardiac death. Project led by Dr Andre Ng, Department of Cardiovascular Sciences.

“These projects with industry illustrate the impact world-class University research can have on the success of industry, delivering the benefits of international quality work to the region working in partnerships.”
Professor Sir Robert Burgess, Vice-Chancellor, University of Leicester

In a separate development the University has successfully partnered with numerous businesses in the East Midlands through its Innovation Partnerships project – an innovation programme unique to the University of Leicester, part-funded by the European Regional Development Fund. The project was designed to help companies achieve cost savings, as well as longterm commercial benefits and growth by collaborating on innovation based environmental efficiency projects with the University of Leicester.

Businesses have already seen major improvements to both their business practices and their future prospects, for example: VDT (Video Domain Technology) Direct in Mansfield, Nottingham has developed in partnership a revolutionary new crime detection product, WebEye CMS with expertise and support from our Computer Science Department, generating record turnover, extra jobs and creation of a new export market.

WebEye is the first and only software of its kind allowing mobile security guards to monitor remote sites and receive video alarms whilst on the move. The development of this pioneering software represents the first in-house researched and developed product for VDT, transforming the company from a distributor and reseller of other people’s products.

As a result of the collaboration the company's turnover has increased by 40 percent, is taking on extra staff and is considering the export of products to the American market. The company anticipates a further 60-80 percent growth in turnover next year.

For more information on the projects in this feature or for any business, enterprise, consultancy or Innovation Partnerships related enquiry, contact:
Lisa Stocks, Head of Business Services and Collaboration,
Tel: +44 (0)116 252 5120; email: lisa.stocks@le.ac.uk
Anjuu Trevedi, Head of Regional Business Engagement,
Tel: +44 (0)116 252 3354; email: anjuu.trevedi@le.ac.uk

This article originally appeared in LE1 Spring 2012/Annual Report Edition 2010/11.

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