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Thursday, November 23, 2006

Manchester wins £500k KT challenge prize

The University of Manchester has emerged from fierce competition as the winner of the £500k science and engineering prize of the Dragon’s Den-style contest at the inaugural Knowledge Transfer (KT) Challenge in London, Tuesday.

It would be recalled that the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) launched the KT Challenge earlier this year to celebrate outstanding examples of knowledge transfer from the academic world into industry and the public sector, and also to encourage further innovation and development in this field, presently by United Kingdom-based institutions.

The entry from the University's Faculty of Engineering and Physical Sciences made the five-strong shortlist after detailing the success of Transitive Ltd, which was founded in 2000 by long-standing Computer Sciences lecturer, Alasdair Rawsthorne, according to Natasha Richardson of EPSRC.

Transitive Limited, a spin-off company, develops computer chip technology that makes life easier for people around the world.

The technology allows software designed for one type of processor or Operating System (OS) to run on a different type of processor or OS, thus removing a problem that traditionally limiting the range of software that could be utilised by hardware.

The company's QuickTransit family of products has enables Apple to adapt its entire Macintosh product line for Intel processors in an extremely short period of time.

Vice-President and Dean, Faculty of Engineering and Physical Sciences at The University of Manchester, Prof. John Perkins, described the prize as a fantastic achievement and great news for the entire university community.

"I would like to pay tribute to the team who worked so hard on the proposal and the final presentation to the judges. If the UK is to compete effectively in the global marketplace, we need to increase our knowledge transfer and collaboration to ensure innovative and novel research is put into practice,” Prof. Perkins said.

He stressed that the university, has adopted a proactive approach to ensure better knowledge transfer into many areas of industry and the injection of funding through the prize will allow the institute to build upon the firm foundations already laid and build new bridges between the institute and business sector.

Secretary of State for Trade and Industry, Alistair Darling, while congratulating the Manchester team and the four runners up, said "The high calibre of the five finalists shows the tremendous strength of UK research in engineering and the physical sciences. The UK has a rich history in innovation and discovery in these areas and it's great to see so many researchers continuing this trend.”

For research to be truly useful, Darling said, “it needs to be turned into the products and services that we will need in the future - these awards will support this process. The winners have a proven track record in taking their research all the way through to developing viable businesses, which is exactly the kind of work we want to encourage.”

The secretary further said that boosting innovation is key to helping to create the products and services to benefit the economy and society in years to come.After being invited down to London, the University of Manchester team had to present their proposal to a panel of industry experts and convince them they were offering the best investment for the prize money.

They also had to show the panel they have innovative ideas for undertaking future knowledge transfer activity.

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1 comment:

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