Industry-academic boom

Published 20th August 2013 at 3:04pm

Industry-academic collaborations are booming, according to the University of Sheffield.

This year, the University launched what it calls the Science Gateway with the aim of building partnerships between researchers in the Science faculty and corporations both large and small, as well as professional bodies and Government agencies.
The department is currently working on about 100 projects with partners from a variety of industries, from healthcare to green technologies.

Sheffield’s Science Gateway will allow businesses to create a relationship with researchers at the University. By working together, research can be pushed to higher levels, and the opportunities for students to gain work placements are far greater.
There are a diverse range of research projects underway at the University. An exciting example is the development of special gels, built into dressings for wounds which would help clinicians to quickly identify and treat infections.

Professor Steve Rimmer, from the Faculty of Science within the University, explains: “The availability of these gels would help clinicians and wound care nurses to make rapid, informed decisions about wound management. Importantly, it would also help to reduce the overuse of antibiotics.”

Collaboration with a green roof supplier, Boningale Ltd., has allowed scientists to engineer bespoke roofs which are optimised for specific climate zones. This technology will be important in the future, as Maggie Fennell, Project Manager at Boningale, says: “This project will provide reliable, scientific answers to questions that are very important to green roof designers and clients. We’re looking at a new generation of roofing with much higher environmental performance, conserving energy in homes and saving people money.

This has the potential to make a massive difference across the globe.”

Dr Jen Evans, Research Development Manager, explains “University-industry collaborations benefit both partners and generate solutions that help society at large. At the Science Gateway we have an excellent track record of working with external partners. We believe that knowledge exchange is the most effective way to bring about beneficial change based on scientific insight.”

She added: “By an organisation using their reputation and influence, they are able to use the results and expertise from the University to guide the industry towards a better future, leading by example.”