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Celebrating success – 2013 Fast Forward Competition winners one year later

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The UK is often named as a world leader in innovation, with our place in respected league tables evidence of our success.

The stats make impressive reading :

  • 1st in the world for IP competitiveness (Taylor Wessing ‘Global Intellectual Property Index’)
  • 2nd in the world for innovation (World Intellectual Property Office ‘2014 Global Innovation Index’)

Reasons for succcess

A significant reason for our success is the role our universities play in the creation, management and exploitation of IP. University derived IP has real value. Data from the Higher Education Funding Council for England (HEFCE) shows that in 2012-13 UK universities contributed £3.57 billion to our economy.  This is from the commercialisation of new knowledge and services to business, which IP is an intrinsic part.

The message is clear, the value of IP to the UK economy is huge and our universities are harnessing their IP for the benefit of all. Despite this success there is another message coming from Higher Education (HE) - there is a lack of funding for innovative IP projects. This is harming the innovation process.

Competition launch

The IPO took note of these messages and in 2010 launched the Fast Forward Competition. The competition offered universities the opportunity to bid for up to £100,000 in funding for IP projects. Funding for IP projects is difficult to obtain through traditional routes but 4 years later we've given more than £2.7 million to 44 projects.

Previous winners

Past winners have come from diverse areas.  From healthcare and social enterprise to advanced engineering and horticulture.  We've produced a series of  fast forward case studies to show how the 2013 projects have developed since obtaining funding. If you have any interest in the work of UK universities I'd encourage you to read them. They provide a fascinating insight into how these projects have developed over the past year.

Cardiff University's 2013 winning project received £65,000 to address unmet clinical needs and it’s already creating a legacy in the healthcare sector. Their project encouraged healthcare practitioners and technology firms to create solutions to clinical problems.  It's since gone on to develop initiatives that translate research in material sciences and engineering into bio-medical applications.

The success of this project encouraged the Cardiff team to apply for funding in the 2014 competition. Due to their achievements and potential for even greater success, they won a further award of £65,000 in follow on funding.

We'll have an update on progress with this project, as well as the other 2014 winners in a later blog. In the meantime, we’re keen to hear your thoughts on the 2013 case studies, so please leave your comments in the section below.

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