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The University of Liverpool’s Innovation Pump-Priming Fund

7 November 2018

Innovation is the driver for many businesses in the life science sector. It provides the means of translating good, sometimes unusual ideas into products and services that subsequently improve lives. However, finding the technology and expertise to turn a promising idea into a viable and profitable product can be both difficult and expensive.

Say for example you’ve had a great idea for a new product that isn’t part of your core business. How will you develop it? You could apply for investment from a private fund or government scheme but it will take a lot of time and effort and, without some sort of proof the idea works, it’s unlikely to be successful.

What you really need is some pilot data to show your idea is viable and importantly, to convince an investor to back it. The trouble is, it’s a chicken and egg situation: you need pilot data to get investment but getting the pilot data itself requires investment. Catch 22!

Through its Technology Directorate, the University of Liverpool is trying to bridge this gap and hopefully provide businesses in the North of England with a novel route to innovation.

The Technology Directorate is an unusual, if not unique approach to managing the infrastructure that underpins much of the research in the University’s Faculty of Health and Life Sciences. Key enabling technologies, like genomics, cell imaging and NMR metabolomics are managed as Shared Research Facilities or SRFs. Each facility enjoys a high level of investment and perhaps more importantly, is led by an eminent member of academic staff, who is an acknowledged expert in their field. They are highly efficient and experienced service providers and innovation is their core business.

The Technology Directorate Innovation Pump Priming Fund provides a mechanism for regional SMEs with innovative business ideas to use the SRFs in the Technology Directorate and get the vital preliminary data for leveraging funds to bring new products to market.

Ordinarily, anyone using the SRFs in the Technology Directorate, including University staff, pay access fees, which contribute to the high level of investment required to sustain them. The Innovation Pump Priming Fund allows an SME to undertake a pilot project, up to £10,000 in value, without incurring any cost to the business.

To qualify, you must be an SME based in the North of England and perhaps more importantly, you must have a good, novel idea that you’d like to explore. Sadly, we can’t consider anything that’s part of a company’s core business or has already received funding: think acorn rather than sapling or oak tree.

Applying is an easy, light-touch process that will be assessed very quickly. If successful, we’ll introduce you to the technology and expertise to take your idea to the next stage and hopefully, provide a platform for developing it.

You can find out more about the Innovation Pump Priming Fund by visiting:
https://www.liverpool.ac.uk/technology-directorate/business/sme_voucher/

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