London Technology Network stimulates and supports collaborative ventures in the Greater South East of England with its successful innovation matching service
Small to medium-sized enterprises have been under increasing commercial pressure over the last decade to innovate or perish, and the government has been encouraging them to innovate by offering tax credits, grants for R&D and a wide range of other support mechanisms.
Universities are a hot-bed of innovation (clearly all research is innovative) and the UK has many world-class research departments. The London, SEEDA and EEDA regions combined host 60% of the UK?s academic research and the majority of the UK?s industrial R&D. The problem for most businesses though, is that even if they believe that collaboration with others could help them develop new products, processes or services, they just have no way of finding the best executive or academic who is capable of working with them to solve their problem.
LTN (London Technology Network) provides impartial and swift innovation matchmaking to businesses from the ?Greater South East of England? ? having been initially funded by central government, it has more recently been supported by the three development agencies in the Greater South East to stimulate and support R&D collaborations between businesses and the research base.
The results are impressive. From July 2004 to June 2008, LTN assisted 5,080 substantial discussions between industry and academia, and supported the conclusion of 1,187 deals. This totalled more than £52m of targeted investment in collaborative projects.
LTN is a not-for-profit organisation that works openly and equally with over 38 universities in the region. LTN assists companies with the transfer of innovation through networking events and ?technology matching? ? putting businesses in contact with their links to more than 180 departments. It holds regular networking events, bringing business executives, university researchers and knowledge transfer officers together on a vast array of sectors such as waste management, digital media, infectious diseases, sensor technology and grid computing.
The following are just a few examples of the collaborations that have been spawned by these events: International engineering consultancy firm Renuda expanded its computational technology with the help of top-level researchers at an LTN event; and leading Kent-based healthcare company Michelson Diagnostics Ltd found experts to test their innovative microscope at a sector-focused gathering.
LTN also helps small businesses find development partners through ?technology matching?, a process by which a firm?s needs are sent anonymously to more than 7,000 academics. Academic responses are presented to the company, which then choose who they want to work with. This has generated scores of new collaborations between universities across the South East and firms including HFL (detecting ?gene doping? in athletes and racehorses), Carbonate (novel fluid pump testing), and MAST Carbon (advanced carbon materials). And bigger firms such as Philips, Pfizer, Atkins Rail and Smiths Detection have also benefited from LTN?s assistance.
As an additional service, LTN hosts the London and South East England hub of Enterprise Europe Network ? an initiative of the European Commission aimed at helping SMEs access the latest technology on the Continent. Companies or academics contacting LTN for help with their scientific discovery now have access to a network spanning the UK region and 40 European countries.
Thanks to the support of regional development agencies and the EC, LTN remains a free service to SMEs. For companies in the Greater South East it?s a vital factor in developing new products and getting them to market, helping businesses save time, money and reduce risk.
For more information, contact:
LTN (London Technology Network)
Tel: +44 (0) 870 730 8686
Added the 25 August 2009 in category Innovation UK Vol5-1