The Science and Technology Facilities Council (STFC) and CERN (The European Organization for Nuclear Research) have announced a first call for proposals to enable small high-tech businesses to bridge the gap between basic science and industry, and create profitable UK companies.
This call marks the official launch of the STFC CERN Business Incubation Centre (STFC CERN BIC). The scheme, which is open to applications from entrepreneurs, research groups, or small start-up companies, will provide an outstanding support package to five companies per year, each over a period of two years.
Operated by STFC Innovations Limited, STFC’s commercialisation company, the scheme builds on STFC’s strong track record in small business incubation, already running the highly successful European Space Agency Business Incubation Centre (ESA) at the Harwell Science and Innovation Campus, as well its own award winning incubator, the Innovations Technology Access Centre at Daresbury. CERN has a particularly active and successful track record in knowledge transfer activities, but this will be the first time it has taken part in such a partnership, which could eventually be rolled out into other European countries.
“CERN’s knowledge transfer policy is inspired by the principle of sharing our knowledge with every sector of society, from education to business, from training to other fields of research” explained Steve Myers, CERN’s Director of Accelerators and Technology. “Through a UK-based business incubation centre CERN will test a new scheme of knowledge and technology transfer which could be extended to other CERN Member States. The objective is to facilitate even further the access to our unique engineering know-how acquired during the building and running of the Large Hadron Collider (LHC), the largest scientific machine ever built.”
Professor John Womersley, Chief Executive at STFC said: “The STFC CERN BIC brings together the whole package - some of the most advanced technologies in the world, plus essential business support and the knowledge needed to take new ideas through to market reality. STFC has a very strong and long standing relationship with CERN, funding the UK’s involvement for all CERN activities, and the STFC CERN BIC will highlight and increase the significant impact that arises from this relationship both in job creation and economic opportunities and growth.”
Participating companies will also benefit from a dedicated STFC business champion for business planning and guidance towards access to STFC's facilities at Daresbury, which include landmark accelerator technology, access to the new Hartree Centre which hosts the most powerful supercomputer in the UK, and to STFC’s Innovations Technology Access Centre which provides access to £3m worth of specialised laboratory equipment.
The STFC CERN BIC will sit within the Cockcroft Institute at the Sci-Tech Daresbury national science and innovation campus in Cheshire, which is also an Enterprise Zone and already home to over 100 high-tech companies.
The deadline for proposals is 23 November 2012. Relevant technology areas include: particle accelerators, detectors, vacuum technology, cryogenics, magnets, superconductors, radio frequency, material science and high performance computing.