An improved method for diagnosing breast cancer, recycling waste materials into
new products and an advanced system for detecting potential bio-terrorism threats
to the UK's water supply are just some of the leading innovative projects sharing
in an expected £90million funding through the Department
of Trade and Industry 's Technology Programme.
The projects are the first of an expected 160 projects to be announced as successful
recipients of the Autumn (November) 2004 Technology Programme competition.
The Technology Programme is designed to provide a boost to companies developing
exciting technology with long-term applications, and backs research and development
that will bring commercial advantage to the UK economy.
Science and Innovation Minister, Lord Sainsbury said:
'The Technology Strategy is stimulating innovation in three ways; supporting
our leading sectors and businesses maintaing their position in the face of global
competition; helping those sectors and businesses with the capacity to be among
the best in the world fulfil their potential; and enabling the emerging technologies
of today become the growth sectors of tomorrow.'
'The projects announced today are at the cutting edge and are helping to make
the UK the best place in the world for science and innovation.'
The funding was divided amongst eight technology areas: design, micro and nanotechnology,
pervasive computing, waste management and minimisation, smart materials, bio-based
industrial products resources, energy technologies, imaging technologies and
opto-electronic and disruptive electronic technologies.
Some of the projects announced include:
> Kodak European Research Cambridge, are leading a project to provide a more
sensitive method for radiologists to diagnose early-stage breast cancer from
> The University of London is developing optical biosensors to help with the
potential threat of bio-terrorism to water security which are maintenance free,
highly sensitive, have a rapid response time, and are portable and easy to use;
> Innovene are taking mixed waste materials such as waste plastics, rubbers
and oils, which would normally be sent to a landfill for disposal, and are instead
recycling them into new plastics, rubbers and other petrochemical products by
using existing technologies in new ways;
> Artificial Lift Company are developing a new pump to help hundreds of oil
wells in the North Sea who no longer have the internal reservoir pressure required
to drive the oil and gas they contain to the surface. The new pump can be deployed
without a rig inside existing well structures, and economically unlocks these
> Sondex are leading a project that will develop a new, rechargeable battery
to aid oil and gas exploration devices that are lowered into wells, deep in the
earth at high temperatures. This new battery technology, because of its high
energy storage capability and long life, will find many further potential applications
such as in electric vehicles and even for storing electricity in the home, guarding
against power cuts and using low rate off peak electricity;
Technology Strategy Board Chairman, Graham Spittle, who oversees the National
Technology Strategy, of which the Technology Programme is a funding stream said:
'I believe the UK is now in a strong position to really drive the innovation
agenda forward, fostering UK wealth creation, and collaborating with business
to engage with the research base to help realise this vision."
Over the period 2005-2008, £320 million is available to businesses in the
form of grants to support research and development in the technology areas identified
by the Technology Strategy Board and an additional £50million from DEFRA.
In the Spring and Autumn each year, businesses will have the opportunity to compete
for funding for Collaborative Research and Development Grants
The technology areas covered in the November 2004 competition were:
> Design, simulation and modelling - powerful computing tools that allow designers
and developers to envisage new systems, products and services;
> Micro and nanotechnology - exploitation at the micro and nano-scale (atom
and molecule) to produce materials with commercially valuable properties, e.g.
strong, lightweight, hard wearing;
> Pervasive computing - finding ways of embedding devices and computer systems
around us to provide access to content, applications and services that are on
tap and dynamically personalised;
> Waste management and minimisation - developing new technologies to reduce
or eliminate creation of wastes, find new ways to re-use and recover waste products,
treatment of hazardous wastes, and finding new alternatives to landfill;
> Smart materials - materials that respond to environmental stimuli, such
as temperature, moisture, pH, or electric and magnetic fields that can be used
for novel commercial purposes e.g. reducing the effects of earthquakes in bridges,
or in sportswear;
> Bio-based industrial products - using biological agents to produce new products
that lower costs through reduction in water and energy consumption, waste production
and depletion of natural resources;
> Energy technologies - technologies that can help the sustainable development
of new and renewable energy sources;
> Imaging technologies - a key technology for obtaining information about
the location, shape and composition of people and objects, with a wide range
of applications particularly in healthcare and security; and
> Opto-electronic and disruptive electronic technologies - transmission and
manipulation of information and energy in the form of light rather than electricity
that could transform the world of silicon-based microelectronics.