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We are delighted to announce the results of two recent internal funding initiatives.

These opportunities were the Higher Education Innovation Fund (HEIF) and the External Participatory and Collaborative (EPaC) scheme.

The awarding panels had a tough time selecting which bids to fund as all the entries were of an extremely high calibre. Let’s take a closer look at some of their final choices…

Higher Education Innovation Fund (HEIF)

LSBU received an additional one-off award of £50,000 from Research England for Knowledge Exchange (KE) initiatives that boost outputs through business engagement and commercialisation.

HEIF is led by the Commercial Enterprise team, and they received 14 ambitious and varied applications from five LSBU schools. The proposals covered a wide range of ideas from consultancy and contract research (Knowledge Transfer Partnerships, KTPs) to Intellectual Property (IP) development and spinouts.

The awarding panel, consisting of The Provost, Director of Research, Enterprise and Innovation, and Head of Commercial Enterprise, plus our technology transfer and IP specialists, were looking for innovative entries that had potential to generate income or impact and were aligned with school and institutional priorities.

After much deliberation, Dr Ali Salimian from the School of Engineering was announced the overall winner for his thermal shield coatings project. This contract research (KTP) venture has global commercial potential and will partner with a significant, internationally renowned organisation.

The other projects funded through HEIF are:

Enrico Grisan and Dr Ali Salimian, School of Engineering for their project which looks at hydrogen sensing technology based on artificial intelligence (AI) based spectral analysis of plasma glow. They will work with an SME to enable a KTP submission.

Dr Allan Tyler and Dr Alex Marchant, School of Applied Science will develop a role-playing game as part of safeguarding training. The aim is to develop confidence in a person-centred approach for staff meeting and/or working with young gender non-conforming (e.g., trans, non-binary) people.

Dr Valerio Ficcadenti and Dr Charles Graham, School of Business will be working with an existing external partner to create a digital assistant for multi-platform and mixed tool marketing campaigns. The project output will be a proof of concept allowing a KTP submission.

In addition, an entry from LSBU’s National Bakery School was highly commended and will receive a part funded award from outside the competition.

Neil Pearce who sat on the awarding panel said:

“Well done to all the applicants. Overall, the quality of submissions was very high, and we are now looking at how we can leverage some of the other very worthy submissions that didn’t qualify for funding through this scheme.”

External Participatory and Collaborative (EPaC) scheme

EPaC is LSBU’s exciting new external collaboration and end-user involvement funding call and was established with funding from Research England. Its aim is to build fruitful, high-profile collaborations between LSBU’s researchers and external partners (from university and industry/government/third sector) or end-users actively involved in the design/production of the research.

The Research Office received 27 submissions and with 13 successful bids the scheme proved to be highly competitive. Here’s a taster of the research projects that were awarded funding:

  • Uncovering the life stories of rebellious women in the wake of revolution
  • Helping autistic entrepreneurs to thrive
  • Using bio/nature-inspired design to develop a new generation of drones
  • Creating a national network of researchers and policy influencers to enhance the Windrush compensation scheme
  • Creating a circular economy for the blinds (shading product) sector

These projects include some notable collaborations and research end-users. Among others, we will be collaborating with Nagoya Institute of Technology (Japan), Texas A&M University (USA), Uppsala University (Sweden), Queen’s University Belfast (Northern Ireland) and the University of Otago (New Zealand). Some research end-users will be the British Blind and Shutter Association, Hackney Council, Croydon Council and the Neurodiversity and Entrepreneurship Association.

The judges were greatly impressed by the diversity and ambition of the applications and wish to thank everyone who took part.

The research team hopes to run the EPaC scheme again in 2023/24 and will share updates on the outcomes and achievements of this year’s successful bids later in the year.

For further information, please get in touch with the EPaC scheme organisers Karl Smith and Sarah Plant

Congratulations to all the HEIF and EPaC participants and awardees!


Melissa O’Connor, Commercial Engagement Manager, South Bank Innovation

Dr Karl Smith, REF Coordinator and Research Impact Manager, Research Office

Melissa O'Connor
Commercial Engagement Manager
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