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IADS researchers awarded Impact Fund internal funding to help enable and accelerate impact from their innovative research

16 June 2021

Dr Nay Aung
Dr Nay Aung
Dr Lorenzo Jamone
Dr Lorenzo Jamone

Queen Mary has awarded 13 academics across all three Faculties with Impact Fund internal funding to support generation of impact from their innovative research.

The Queen Mary Impact Fund programme is a new, harmonised approach to allocating Queen Mary's impact-enabling internal funds: UKRI Research England Higher Education Innovation Fund (via Queen Mary Innovation Proof of Concept funding programmes in the past), and UKRI Impact Acceleration Account funding programmes. Queen Mary's Impact Fund offers financial support for Queen Mary researchers to carry out projects that aim to enable and accelerate commercial and/or non-commercial impact from their research, to facilitate people, knowledge and skills exchange and to support new, innovative and imaginative approaches to achieving and enabling knowledge exchange and impact.

The first edition of the Queen Mary Impact Fund funding competition was run in early 2021. Applicants were invited to submit their expression of interest forms for impact-enabling projects for three categories: commercial impact (BioPharma), commercial impact (Technology and Engineering) and non-commercial impact. The first edition saw a record high number of expression of interest forms being submitted: 58, with a total value of over £2.2m of funding requested for impact-enabling projects. This demonstrates that Queen Mary researchers are hugely aware of and actively interested in pursuing opportunities for bringing their research to the non-academic world to generate and accelerate the process of making change through their research.

Congratulations to the ten winning Impact Fund projects from the January 2021 call which are listed below. All awarded academics will be supported by Queen Mary Innovation and Queen Mary's Professional Services: Impact and Business Development teams.

To find out more information about Queen Mary Impact Fund programme, please visit the QMUL Impact Acceleration Account webpage. Please contact Impact Acceleration Account team if you are interested in discussing your idea for the Queen Mary's Impact Fund programme. Next round of Queen Mary Impact Fund programme will be launched in late summer 2021.

Queen Mary Impact Fund winning projects - January 2021

Commercial Impact (BioPharma)

  • Professor Gareth Ackland, William Harvey Research Institute, Rapid diagnostic for urinary tract infections
  • Professor Francesco Dell'Accio and Dr Anna-Sophie Thorup, William Harvey Research Institute, Formulation and validation of a ROR2 decoy receptor for disease modification in osteoarthritis
  • Dr Matthew Caley, Blizard Institute, Testing novel anti-ageing compounds in 3D skin models of aged skin
  • Professor David Kelsell and Dr Stephen Murtough, Blizard Institute, Biomarkers for the early detection of oesophageal and oral squamous cell carcinoma

Commercial Impact (Technology and Engineering)

  • Dr Nay Aung and Professor Steffen Petersen, William Harvey Research Institute, AI Solution for early detection and monitoring of heart failure
  • Dr Lorenzo Jamone, School of Electronic Engineering and Computer Science, NES:Novel Electronic Skin based on soft materials and magnetism
  • Dr Joe Briscoe, School of Engineering and Materials Science, Aerosol treatment of commercial perovskite solar cells for improved efficiency and stability

Non-Commercial Impact

  • Professor Paul Heritage, School of English and Drama, How will we live together? Mobilising awareness of indigenous peoples' fight against the climate crisis at Venice Biennale and COP26
  • Dr Anthony Phillips, School of Physics and Astronomy, Materials in the browser: authentic condensed matter physics research in schools
  • Dr Jane Sosabowski, Barts Cancer Institute, Re-establishing the UK supply of radionuclides

More detail on some of the winning projects:

  • Rapid diagnostic for urinary tract infections by Professor Gareth Ackland. This project will address an urgent unmet clinical need for an efficient diagnostic technology solution that can rapidly and accurately diagnose urinary tract infections and reduce the morbidity and mortality associated with urosepsis, especially in paediatric and elderly populations.
  • NES: Novel Electronic Skin based on soft materials and magnetism by Dr Lorenzo Jamone. This project aims to develop a working prototype of a robot with a novel electronic skin that provides highly sensitive distributed measurements to extract both stiffness and texture of external objects. This electronic skin is inspired by the structure and functional properties of the human skin, and will allow robots to detect contacts at different scales of intensity. The robot's performance will be validated in a relevant industrial environment (for the robotic packaging of fruit). This project is supported by a number of UK industrial stakeholders.
  • Re-establishing the UK supply of radionuclides by Dr Jane Sosabowski. This project aims to create an active and responsive UK network of researchers and clinicians in the field of radionuclide supply for molecular radiotherapy and imaging with excellent links with existing EU and US radionuclide networks. Working with a range of stakeholders, including UK Government's Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy, Welsh Government Office for Science, National Nuclear Laboratory, Innovate UK, industry partners and clinicians, the project team will: (i) carry out and publish the first comprehensive survey of radionuclide usage in the UK since the 2003/2004 British Nuclear Medicine Society survey, (ii) run a series of networking, dissemination and training workshops, and (iii) produce three reports to inform infrastructure investment in the UK. The long-term impact of this project will lead to the process of re-establishing the domestic production and supply of radionuclides for medical and commercial applications.