Promoting awareness; In association with NETPARK NET.
I last week's column I commented on One North East's concept of Innovation Connectors and their role in linking together technology-based businesses with university research and promoting community awareness of, and engagement in, science, innovation and creativity.
This provides a good fit with the headline statement on the website of the Government department which brings together responsibilities for science, innovation, skills and further and higher education.
The Department for Innovation, Universities and Skills (DIUS) website declares that Britain can only succeed in a rapidly changing world "if we develop the skills of our people to the fullest possible extent, carry out world class research and scholarship, and apply both knowledge and skills to create an innovative and competitive economy".
So, at both national and regional level there is a clear focus on knowledge and its practical application. The DIUS also sponsors the Technology Strategy Board (TSB).
Designed to help businesses work with each other and with academic partners, its vision echoes that of its sponsor in wanting "the UK to be seen as a global leader in innovation and a magnet for technology-intensive companies, where new technology is applied rapidly and effectively to create wealth".
The TSB wants to stimulate innovation in areas which offer the greatest scope for boosting UK growth and productivity. Its primary aim is translating knowledge into innovation and new and improved products and services.
One of the areas in which the TSB was allocated money to invest in industry-led, highly innovative collaborative research was more energy efficient lighting, lasers and displays.
The investment aims to stimulate the development and deployment of technologies which contribute to the UK's climate change goals, and which represent major business opportunities for the UK. Earlier this month I attended an event held at Hardwick Hall Hotel to demonstrate one new technology that has received TSB funding and which exemplifies collaboration between universities and business.
The Topless project (or Thin Organic Polymeric Light Emitting Semi-Conductor Surfaces) is developing flexible printed electronics that within a decade will be printed like wallpaper.
Bringing together Durham University and Zumtobel (the parent company of Thorn Lighting) the project also involves Sumation, a leading centre of P-OLED materials expertise which is itself a joint venture between Sumimoto Chemical and Cambridge Display Technology.
Not only will this technology benefit society by revolutionising and transforming the environmental impact of lighting and reducing energy costs, it also represents the kind of investment in innovation which will see the UK better equipped to face the economic future.
Stewart Watkins is managing director of County Durham Development Company, which is driving the development of NETPark and NETPark Net.
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|Publication:||The Journal (Newcastle, England)|
|Date:||Dec 11, 2008|
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