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INNOVATION UK159 Living laboratories Universities and science parks as engines for sustainable urbanisation. By Dr Robin Daniels The urbanisation of the world's growing population is accelerating. People are justifiably migrating into the cities in the hope of improving their living conditions, employment, education and healthcare prospects. This is particularly true of the developing world, where the environmental implications of rapid population growth continue to be magnified by large and resource- intensive infrastructure projects. Despite the seemingly long timeframe associated with many of these city developments, their implications are being felt now. A report produced this year by the Global Humanitarian Forum provided evidence that more than 300,000 people a year are dying from the effects of climate change - a figure that is expected to rise to a half- million annually by 2030. Furthermore, 10% of the world's popu-lation will be somehow affected by the climate change within the next 10 years. The economic costs of climate change are also steep, the report finds. By 2030, the economic losses due to climate change will have reached $ 340 billion annually. The international scientific and business communities have pivotal roles to play in discovering, developing, commer-cialising and deploying the technology required to both significantly de- carbonise the world's economies and mit-igate the unavoidable effects of environmental change. Inside universities, companies and science parks around the world, scientists, engineers and business people are collaborating to accelerate critical technological advances. Very significant public and private- sector investment into the development of energy, transportation and construc-tion technologies in particular is stimulating much- needed and largely productive collaborative research across busi-ness sectors and between science domains. However, progress is just not fast enough. On average it still takes 10 years to take a physical science discovery with commercial potential to market. The number of lives lost during such a time lag is not difficult to calculate. What is required now is a new model, which drives the robust and rapid scale- up and deployment of technologies. The traditional linear model of technology commercialisation consists of discovery, prototype, pilot, productisation and scale- up. We don't have the time to continue with this model alone - and this is where science parks and universities come in. The engine rooms of new ideas, the well- springs of new talent to meet these challenges have the opportunity to become the proving grounds also. Universities and science parks, already practising open and collaborative innova-tion in many cases, must become living laboratories for new technologies, utilising their infrastructure and criti-cal mass of captive consumers to trial, test and develop technologies for national and global markets. Such an approach would deliver multiple and significant benefits to those organisations with the courage to take up the challenge. Not only will they reduce their carbon footprint, thereby driving down energy costs, there is the opportunity to transform the way that research and education are con-ducted: aligning form with function. The commercial potential is also significant. Turning a 20,000 student campus into a living laboratory provides immediate scale- up potential and the capability to accel-erate not only the " proof of concept" stage of technol-ogy transfer, but it even begins to drive down costs of delivery and commoditise specific elements. To take a simple example, estimate the number of next- generation low- energy light bulbs required to illuminate an entire uni-versity. Now imagine those light bulbs being produced by a spin- out company from the university itself. Now that's smart procurement. Finally, the positive effects on research quality, income from IP licensing and reputational value of the university or science park would individually provide significant justification for such a radical strategic innova-tion - and radical innovation is what is required. Robin Daniels is Chief Executive of the Norwich Research Park UK. The views expressed here are his own. For more information, contact: Dr Robin CE Daniels, Chief Executive, Norwich Research Park Norwich, NR4 7UH, UK Tel: + 44 ( 0) 1603 450992 Website: www. nrp. org. uk NORWICHRESEARCH PARK Centres of Excellence UK Science & Innovation Parks: norwich research park

160INNOVATION UK Boosting business innovation through access to European funding At Beta Technology we recognise, through years of experience, the significance and opportunity for large and small companies of becoming involved in pan- European research projects, as an important way of developing new products, processes, markets and relationships. In a challenging economic climate, business innovation is more important than ever and financial support for the development and exploitation of new products and processes is available from Europe. Through helping businesses access this funding, we continue to build our strength as the interface between public- sector funding and private- sector investment to establish and deliver transformational projects. Beta Technology is a private- sector company that has applied innovation to its own services over its 25 years of trading. The company is built around highly skilled peo-ple with various sector backgrounds, bringing many years of experience from industry, academia and the public sector. We support our clients by providing knowledge, access to extensive networks and the expertise to secure public funding to develop and deliver innovative projects. Enabling businesses to access European research funding is one example of how we support innovation. Enterprise and Innovation Beta works extensively with public- sector clients to design, implement and deliver large programmes and bespoke projects to support enterprise and business innovation. We have experience of working with local authorities, regional bodies and national government in supporting programmes which stimulate economic growth, job crea-tion and skills development. To develop and share best practice, Beta is also involved in a number of interna-tional networks and has long- established relationships with a number of enterprise and innovation agencies throughout Europe. European Funding For over 15 years, Beta has been a leading provider of support and advice for organisations submitting Euro-pean funding applications. During that period, we have provided advice to clients and supported applications to the following European programmes: Framework Pro-grammes 3 to 7, Intelligent Energy Europe, Eco- Innova-tion, LIFE+ and Structural Funds, including Interreg. Beta also provides commercial bid management services to organisations throughout Europe, and beyond, looking to access funding. Specialist Sector Suport Our experts and experience have enabled innovative projects to be developed, funded and delivered for both public and private- sector clients. Always at the leading edge of ideas, the projects we develop create real impact and economic advantage for our clients. We work with a wide range of organisations including research centres, universities, sector networks, large enterprises, SMEs and public bodies within our specialist sector areas: » Environmental and low carbon technologies; » Metals and materials; » Food and nutrition; » Health and bioscience. Case Study: Beta Technology successfully brought together and led a transnational consortium to under-take a pilot technology verification scheme for SMEs in Europe. The project, " Environmental Technology Verifi-cation - TRITECH", utilised European funding to design and test a verification scheme for SMEs developing novel environmental technologies. The project explored the dif-ferent mechanisms to verify novel technologies across three areas - soil remediation, waste water and energy. Formally validating the technological claims from SMEs brings many benefits including attracting investment and giving confidence to commercial users. Beta Technology is currently involved in promoting the results from the pilot project and engaging with a variety of stakehold-ers, including policy makers, at a regional, national and international level. " We believe our strength is in our knowledge and net-works and how we provide access to these to create innovative projects." Richard Wrigley Managing Director, Beta Technology. For more information, contact: Jayne Evans Tel: 01302 322633 E- mail: Jayne. evans@ betatechnology. co. uk Website: www. betatechnology. co. ukCentres of Excellence Beta technology