British business turns to academia to supercharge major new R&D projects

British business turns to academia to supercharge major new R&D projects

Online service Konfer matches business with 130,000 academics to collaborate on developing innovative products and services

Leading business groups and companies representing bioscience, commercial chemistry, cyber security, digital media, energy, food production, intelligent mobility and transport, land management, technology and textiles have joined the Konfer Trusted User Group to accelerate research partnerships with UK universities. The founder members of the group include Almac Sciences Group, Antiverse, Campden BRI, Capgemini, National Trust (North Region), The Oil & Gas Technology Centre, Surevine, Transport Systems Catapult and Wired Sussex and represent a collective turnover/income of over £48.6 bn.

Business and universities can unlock huge benefits from greater collaboration. The Government’s Industrial Strategy noted that UK universities already gain £1.1bn income every year from working with business. Meanwhile, the Government aims to raise public investment in R&D to £12.5bn in 2021.

Konfer is a free online match-making tool for connecting business with research expertise and funding opportunities. It is backed by 132 UK universities and includes profiles of 130,000 academics who can collaborate on research projects. Trusted User Group members will use Konfer to identify partnerships that will bring new products to market and drive job creation.

David Sweeney, Director of Research and Knowledge Exchange at the Higher Education Funding Council for England (HEFCE) and Executive Chair Designate of Research England, said, “Commercial innovation will benefit hugely from accelerated partnership between business and publicly funded research resources. Konfer makes it easy to bring the right people together at a speed and scale that has never been possible before.”

David Docherty, Chief Executive at the National Centre for Universities and Business (NCUB), said: “Konfer makes it easier than ever for business to take full advantage of the incredible expertise that exists in universities. With Brexit on the horizon there’s never been a greater need for collaborative research projects that will drive future growth and productivity. We want Konfer to help make Britain the best place in the world for innovators.”

Murat Tunaboylu, co-founder Antiverse, said, ”We want to accelerate our partnerships with research institutions and see Konfer as a great way to identify the right partners. It makes it much easier for us to quickly open up conversations and share ideas.”

“In the transport industry we regularly see that UK universities can provide a wealth of knowledge and experience to businesses looking to develop new technologies and services. The collaborative opportunities that Konfer Trusted User Group can provide have a huge potential to unlock innovation in areas such as Connected and Autonomous Vehicles, Data & AI, and new mobility service models - which can make transport better for everyone,” said Beata Szoboszlai, Head of Academic Engagement at the Transport Systems Catapult.

Paul Bentham, business development lead, Surevine, said, “Konfer is democratising access to the right expertise and funding. Previously, we were sometimes reliant on chance meetings and introductions, we now we have the ability to quickly identify the most relevant people. Konfer is a step-change in the transfer of ideas between business and universities that makes it much faster to create effective collaboration.”

Konfer is a not-for-profit resource that has been funded and developed by the National Centre for Universities and Business (NCUB), Higher Education Funding Council for England (HEFCE), Research Councils UK and Innovate UK.

Launched in beta in November 2017, Konfer has already helped a diverse range of organisations including Jaguar Land Rover. Current live research projects include certification techniques for autonomous systems from Thales UK, integrated design for resilience from the University of Bath, and developing advanced sewage waste treatment processes from Severn Trent Water.

About Konfer

Konfer is an online match-making tool to enable collaboration between academics and business. It is a not-for-profit resource that has been funded and developed by the National Centre for Universities and Business (NCUB), Higher Education Funding Council for England (HEFCE), Research Councils UK and Innovate UK. It connects businesses with research resources and funding opportunities, including over 130,000 academics and over 50,000 publicly funded research projects.

About the National Centre for Universities and Business (NCUB)

Promoting business-university collaboration for a prosperous and inclusive economy

As a membership not-for-profit organisation, the National Centre brings together leaders from across higher education and business to tackle issues of shared interest. Created by the National Centre for Universities and Business with the Research Councils (RCUK) and the Higher Education Funding Council for England (HEFCE), konfer makes it easier to find collaboration opportunities and partners. 

For further information please contact:

Platform Communications
David Lawrence or Philip Iacob
0207 486 4900
david.lawrence@platformcomms.com/ philip@platformcomms.com

National Centre for Universities and Business (NCUB)
Joe Marshall
COO and Director of Strategy
0207 383 7667
joe.marshall@ncub.co.uk

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