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London colleges announce collaboration to promote excellence in scientific design

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External Sites:
-Imperial Innovations
-Royal College of Art
(Imperial College is not responsible for the content of these external internet sites)

For immediate release
Wednesday 23 February 2005

A formal collaboration to promote innovation in scientific design is announced today by Imperial College London and the Royal College of Art (RCA). The two institutions will work together to share industrial contacts, enhance professional practice support for RCA alumni, and set-up funded 'Triangle Projects' that unite scientific invention, commercial skills and user-centred design.

Established as part of a £1.1 million award from the UK Government's Higher Education Innovation Fund to the Royal College of Art, the collaboration will enable Imperial to develop its portfolio of products for licensing to industry by providing access to RCA's user-centred design expertise as well as its rapid prototyping service (RapidformRCA, funded by the London Development Agency).

Dr Colin Wyatt, Director of Business Development at Imperial, said: "We believe that this is an exciting initiative to exploit the synergies between two world-class institutions."

One of the first areas to benefit from the collaboration will be medicine, with the development of new tools for use in keyhole surgery. Dr Herbert Arnarsson, a surgeon at Imperial, is developing new laparoscopic devices, one of which acts as a 'stopper' in laparoscopic surgery while the other is a laparoscopic port cleaner. The laparoscopic stopper helps prevent damage to underlying tissue and organs. The laparoscopic port pipe cleaner helps to prevent bleeding and absorb any blood, fluid or debris from obstructing the surgeon's view during an operation.

After filing for patents was completed, Imperial Innovations contacted InnovationRCA for assistance with design and rapid prototyping. Newly launched by the RCA, InnovationRCA is a network giving business organisations access to the expertise of its graduates. Tony Hickson, Head of Medicine and Life Sciences explains:

"Since graduate RCA industrial design engineers already had experience in the design of surgical instruments, this seemed to present an ideal way of matching innovative ideas with design expertise at the highest level."

Subsequently, MBA students from Tanaka Business School undertook a commercial viability survey commissioned by Innovations.

The collaboration between Imperial and RCA will enable the design and construction of more prototype devices in the future. In addition, both are actively exploring broader areas in which they could collaborate to leverage their combined strengths.

For further information please contact:

Charlotte Stone
Marketing Officer
Business Development
Imperial College London
Tel: +44 20 7594 1014

Notes to Editors

About Imperial College London

Consistently rated in the top three UK university institutions, Imperial College London is a world leading science-based university whose reputation for excellence in teaching and research attracts students (11,000) and staff (6,000) of the highest international quality.
Innovative research at the College explores the interface between science, medicine, engineering and management and delivers practical solutions that enhance the quality of life and the environment - underpinned by a dynamic enterprise culture.

About InnovationRCA

The Royal College of Art, the world's only entirely postgraduate university of art and design, has launched a major innovation network so that business organisations can tap into the creative and commercial potential of its graduates.
The new venture, entitled InnovationRCA, creates a 'graduate gateway' for companies to engage directly with the College's world-renowned community of designers, artists and researchers.
InnovationRCA aims to bring greater coordination, clarity and reach to the Royal College of Art's relationship with business, as well as higher levels of professional support for new RCA graduates and alumni.

About Imperial College Innovations Ltd

Imperial College Innovations Ltd is one of the UK's leading knowledge transfer companies, having created over 60 spin-out companies and concluded over 90 licence agreements.
Imperial Innovations is wholly owned by Imperial College London. Imperial Innovations is committed to the creation of wealth for Imperial College, and the company's mission is to match the outstanding quality of research at Imperial College with excellence in technology transfer.