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R4i 2022 Conference Highlights International Collaboration

Tue, 12 April, 2022

Our recent Research for Impact: R4i 2022 Conference took place on 7-8 April 2022, welcoming around 100 attendees to the in-person event to celebrate and highlight international collaboration.

The conference provided a day and a half programme of expert speakers from across TWI and beyond, presenting on topics including successful project collaboration, attracting both public funding and private investment, the current UK funding landscape for engineering technology-based R&D, and how to maximise the potential of the Horizon Europe and Horizon Results Booster programmes.

The event was co-chaired by TWI’s group manager of public funding, Heidi Dyson and director of innovation and skills, Tat-Hean Gan. There were also introductory presentations from TWI CEO Aamir Khalid, who spoke on TWI’s place at the centre of a £1.2 billion research network, and Chair of TWI’s Council, Humbert Mozzi, who provided an overview of TWI’s approach to the exploitation and commercialisation of technology.

The first day presentations included Chris Coleridge, the founder and CEO of Carbon13 on the topic of ‘Taking the Venture Road’ and Paul Gadd, deputy director of materials, manufacturing and land transport for Innovate UK on the subject of ‘Building the Future Economy: An Action Plan for UK Business Innovation.’ Brunel University’s vice-provost of research, Geoff Rodgers also spoke on ‘Leveraging Research with Public Funding,’ before Tat-Hean Gan returned to give an introduction to the work of the TWI Innovation Network (TWIIN). The afternoon of the first day also saw Teeside University’s professor of control engineering and system informatics, Michael Short speak on ‘Smart Technology for Demand Response and Renewables Integration.’

In addition, day one saw presentations dedicated to collaborative projects, ISOPREP – a cost effective process for the upcycling of end of life plastics, GEODRILL – a holistic technology for geothermal drilling, and IMPHORAA – a project to amplify the use of renewable nano-grids in Madagascar and the Philippines.

Venture capitalists, Ashley Head and Tom Onions also gave presentations on ‘When Do I Invest?’ and ‘Smart Investing in Scale-Ups’ respectively, before the managing director of the St John’s Innovation Centre in Cambridge, David Gill presented on, ‘From Start-up to Scale-up: the Entrepreneurial Journey.’

The first day was closed with a networking drinks reception before day two opened with a welcome address from co-chair Heidi Dyson. TWI principal project leader, Namrata Kale provided an introduction to the Horizon Results Booster before TWI’s James Foden and Sally Shi spoke on ‘Engaging with TWIIN on Public Funding Opportunities.’ Ashley Head and Tom Onions both returned for a final Q&A session before the conference closed.

Both days included an exhibition running alongside the presentations, showing new and concluded collaborative projects that TWI had been involved in and had received public funding. There were also opportunities for delegates to book 1-2-1 meetings with members of TWI’s Technology Innovation Management team to get advice on getting public funding support for technology developments.

Heidi Dyson, group manager, public funding management at TWI said, “I would like to thank all our speakers, delegates and contributing TWI colleagues for their invaluable input to making R4I 2022 such a resounding success! And, with plenty of time for both networking and exploring project and funding options over the one and a half days, participants were able to meet new people and connect with existing contacts in person, paving the way for future collaborative R&D through joint working.”

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