Imperial College ThinkSpace welcomed business leaders and academic partners to White City to showcase its thriving innovation ecosystem.
The event at the I-HUB brought together corporate and academic partners to hear about Imperial’s world-class research and commercialisation activities, as well as the range of services on offer at White City that support ideation, incubation and business growth.
ThinkSpace provides facilities and co-location services for companies looking to collaborate with Imperial’s world leading researchers and access to west London’s vibrant scientific and technology community.
John Anderson, Director of Financial Strategy at Imperial, opened the event by outlining Imperial’s vision to create a world-leading innovation district at White City. He gave an overview of Imperial's facilities and services at White City - spanning hackspace, incubation, acceleration and collaborative research – that offer businesses the opportunity to work alongside Imperial’s world-leading academics and researchers.
The co-location of knowledge-intensive organisations with world-leading Imperial research groups is creating a wave of innovation at White City, he said. He added: “co-location and entrepreneurship are the key ingredients to well-functioning cluster ecosystems – what we are seeing at White City is a flourishing innovation ecosystem connected to global research markets.”
Professor Oscar Ces, Professor of Chemical Biology and Co-Director of Imperial's Advanced Hackspace, presented on the Molecular Sciences Research Hub (MSRH) which is providing a new home for Imperials’ Department of Chemistry. The MSRH brings together nearly 800 scientists, clinicians, engineers and business partners who are collaborating under one roof in a way that they have never been able to before.
Professor Ces also spoke about Imperial’s Advanced Hackspace facility located in The Invention Rooms at White City. Here, Imperial staff, students, and alumni can get involved in prototyping and manufacturing, working alongside expert ‘hackers in residence’ as well as corporate partners.
He said: “Our Advanced Hackspace is a hotbed of creativity and innovation, where hackers, inventors and entrepreneurs from across all corners of the College can come together to turn their innovative ideas into a reality.”
Professor Justin Cobb, Chair of Orthopaedics and Director of the MSk lab at Imperial’s Charing Cross Campus, gave insights into the Michael Uren Biomedical Engineering Research Hub (BmE Hub). Professor Cobb's Lab is due to move into the building after it is completed in 2019. The BmE Hub will bring together latest advances in medicine and engineering to develop affordable treatments and tackle some of the world’s most pressing healthcare challenges.
The final speaker from Imperial was Graham Hewson, Head of Incubation at Imperial Innovations, who explained how the Imperial White City Incubator has created more than 100 jobs and attracted £85m of investment in its first 18 months of operation.
A series of talks followed from corporate partners to demonstrate how university-industry collaborations are extremely important mechanisms for technology transfer:
- Airbus Defence and Space division by Martin Agnew, Senior Manager – R&T (DISCON), AD&S Central Engineering at Airbus
- Drug development and commercialisation programs by Dr Will Maier, Chief Scientific Officer, ICON plc
- BioSolar leaf – World’s most advanced organic food cultivation system by Julian P Melchiorri, CEO, Arborea
- A finger prick test – Revolutionary prenatal care solution by Ana Luisa Neves, Co-founder of Momoby, 2018 Venture Catalyst Challenge winner
- Creating a new source of water by Jonathan Risley, CEO, Thin Air, 2018 Scalable Business Awards winner and finalist in the Global XPRIZE Water Abundance competition
- Novel ocean plastic pollution clean-up technology by Inty Grønneberg, COO, Remora Marine, 2018 Scalable Business Awards winner
The day came to a close with an exhibition and networking session, with exhibitors including: Imperial Consultants (ICON), Corporate Partnerships, Imperial Business Partners, Central Working, Scale Space, Upstream (Partnership for Growth & Innovation).
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