Horizon 2020: Fast Track to Innovation Pilot


The Fast Track to Innovation pilot supports projects from the demonstration stage through to market uptake.

A wide range of activities will be supported including piloting, test-beds, systems validation in real world/working conditions, validation of business models, advanced R&D, standard-setting and advanced performance testing.

The scheme targets relatively mature new technologies. Concepts, processes and business models that need a last development step to reach the market and achieve wider deployment are the focus.

The total budget for FTI in 2015 is EUR 100 million, which will be divided equally among the three cut-off dates in April, September and December. The EC plans to fund 50-70 projects each year and it is expected that the scheme is going to be extremely competitive.

FTI is open to all types of participants, including universities, RTOs, SMEs, large companies, incubators, first time applicants, etc.

Consortia must be comprised of three to five beneficiaries from different Member States or Associated Countries, with significant industry participation.

No typical commercial activities (including marketing activities) will be supported due to EU competition rules but funding can be used to improve an existing marketing strategy to help maximise impact (i.e. developing the marketing strategy to include more countries, etc).

All proposals must include a business plan that clearly describes the market potential and business opportunities for participants, in addition to measures to enhance the probability of potential commercial take-up as well as a credible commercialisation strategy.

Maximum project duration will be 36 months with a maximum EU contribution of EUR 3 million. The Commission expects that the average project duration will be 12-24 months.

29/04/2015, 01/09/2015, 01/12/2015

For further information go to: http://ec.europa.eu/programmes/horizon2020/en/h2020-section/fast-track-innovation-pilot-2015-2016

Under One Roof – Social Enterprise Launch

Under One Roof – Social Enterprise Launch

Tuesday 14 October 2104 9:30 a.m. – 15:30 p.m.  The Ballroom – Keele Hall, Keele University

Book your Place to Attend Event

You are warmly invited to attend the launch of “Under One Roof” a partnership project on Social Enterprise led by Keele University in conjunction with Staffordshire University.  “Under One Roof” is one of six Social Enterprise Thematic Clusters funded via a Government initiative offered by UnLtd (https://unltd.org.uk/).This strategic launch event will connect key partners who are passionate about Social Enterprise and its role in Staffordshire. It will address the following questions:

  • What is the national picture for Social Enterprise?
  • How are we responding to Social Enterprise in Staffordshire?
  • How we can all collaborate and champion Social Enterprise across the county?
  • How can organisations connect and share knowledge to raise the profile of Social Enterprise in Staffordshire?

You can expect excellent plenary speakers, including Prof Nick Foskett Vice Chancellor from Keele University and Prof Michael Gunn Vice Chancellor from Staffordshire University as well as representatives from UnLtd, Prime and the YMCA.

The afternoon will offer Social Enterprise workshops as well as opportunities to meet new people and networking opportunities to shape the future of Social Enterprise in Staffordshire.


9.30        Arrivals and Registration

Chair for the day:  Kym Billington-Baddley & Pete Twilley

10.00     Welcome Address: Vice Chancellors – Professor Nick Foskett, & Professor Michael Gunn

10.20     Cliff Prior, CEO, UnLtd, HEI perspective and wider partnership initiatives

10.35     Danny Flynn, CEO, YMCA

10.50     CEO, Princes Initiative for Mature Social Enterprise (Prime) to be confirmed

11.05     Round table discussions – Social Enterprise in Staffordshire – Looking to the Future

  •  What will the best possible future for social enterprise in Staffordshire look like?
  •   What will help us get there?

11.30     Coffee break

11.40     Dr Sharon George, Entrepreneurship, Keele

11.0     Peter Twilley, Growing Your Social Enterprise, Staffordshire University

12.00     Workshops 1,2,3,4

1.00       Lunch and networking

2.00       Workshops 1,2,3,4

3.00       Plenary

3.30       Thanks and close

IP Protection for all businesses – great and small

From little acorns, great oafs do grow; IP protection is important for businesses and other entities both big and small.

An interesting short article is attached concerning IP protection, for small businesses but translatable to other entitities commercial and non-commercial.

An additional reference to the suggestions contained in the above article (registering trademarks and distinctive logos, patent protection for Software Apps, and protection by asserting copyright and design rights in Software), would be to highlight the continuing success of the Intellectual Property Enterprise Court. For multitrack cases (complex legal issues cases) the IPEC has a limit on damages of up to £500,000 – which Court can hear trademark, patent and copyright infringement cases. Costs orders will be made which are proportionate to the nature of the dispute and subject to a cap of no more than £50,000. This arguably puts resolution of intellectual property disputes within reach of small and medium sized enterprises, especially in meritorious cases with a considerable sum in dispute.

The small claims track is for suitable claims in the IPEC with a value of up to £10,000. Costs orders on the small claims track are highly restricted.

The Intellectual Property Enterprise Court and Guides can be found at:

Factsheet on Knowledge Alliances fund under Erasmus+

The European Commission are encouraging Higher Education institutions to work in partnership with businesses on innovative projects that address teaching and learning. The projects are expected to generate long term partnerships which develop entrepreneurship.

The funding is called Knowledge Alliances and is part of the Erasmus+ scheme. Although the deadline for 2014 has recently closed, it takes time to develop a strong consortium and project idea. The External Projects Team is encouraging staff to get thinking on project ideas for 2015. To help have we have created a factsheet giving an overview of the fund.

It is expected that the 2015 deadlines will be in March/April, with calls coming out around November 2014.

Download Knowledge Alliance factsheet here

The External Projects Team can help you to find project partners and can help develop project ideas. Anyone who is interested should contact the team on exteranlprojects@staffs.ac.uk


New legislation removing unlimited liability of Cooperatives: a challenge to the Community Interest Company and others?

Please find attached an article in the Guardian related to new legislation (the Cooperative and Community Benefit Societies Act 2014) that appears to remove the historic burden of unlimited liability on Cooperatives; perhaps this will lead to a Renaissance of the Cooperative Society as an economic and social force?

The legislative changes will be reviewed in a separate blog.


Funding for Innovation, Entrepreneurship and Growth research

Grants for innovation, entrepreneurship and growth experiments

Nesta have launched a call for proposals for “experimental research that provides evidence on the best approaches to increase innovation, support high-growth entrepreneurship and accelerate business growth”.  

The scheme is looking to fund a range of approaches through randomized control trials. Example activities provided include models of technology transfer from universities, different approaches to managing and stimulating innovation, networks and collaboration, open innovation, innovative procurement, amongst others.  The call documents highlight economic and social entrepreneurship and return on investment will be supported.

Given our University research and HEIF expertise we expect a lot of interest in this call so please contact externalprojects@staffs.ac.uk if you are interested to ensure we have a coordinated approach. 

The call deadline is 24th February with further details at http://www.nesta.org.uk/about-us/work-us/grants-for-innovation.


Your views on the ‘Knowledge Transfer Chronicle’

ECD’s Knowledge Transfer and Innovation Team would greatly value your feedback about the ‘Knowledge Transfer Chronicle’ – our quarterly newsletter devoted to KTP and KEEN programmes and projects.

Essentially, we want to know if people are reading it, who is reading it, which of its features are useful, and whether the periodic newsletter format is the best way to communicate with enterprise-minded staff.

So please take five minutes to complete the following, bracingly brief survey:


Pitch for £5,000 of HEIF Funding at Enterprise Exchange


People attending the next Enterprise Exchange meeting will be given the chance to give £5,000 to a project of their choice under the HEIF scheme.

Staff are being invited to give an ‘elevator pitch’ –the length of time you get when you want to impress an influential person you have met in a lift. They will be given two minutes to pitch their ideas to the Enterprise Exchange group and the crowd will vote on the project they like the most. Ideas could include business start-ups, support to established businesses or pioneering new products and practices.

There will be a small number of slots available to pitch – you must pre-register with Libby – libby.plant@staffs.ac.uk, Libby also has some tips on helping you to develop your pitch.

The next Enterprise Exchange Meeting is on Wednesday 11th December, 2pm-4pm LT114/116, Ashley Centre, Stoke. So plenty of time to get planning.

Further Information: libby.plant@staffs.ac.uk



Funding opportunity for PhD students

The Private Enterprise Development in Low-Income countries (PEDL) programme has issued an Exploratory Grants Programme (EPG) call specifically for current PhD students.  The ERG programme supports research related to private enterprise development in low-income countries which should contribute at least in part to the student’s planned doctoral dissertation.  Applications in different aspects of private sector development will be encouraged.  For information PEDL’s priority areas include – The dynamics of SMEs: Informality and entrepreneurship; the role of export-oriented industries in driving growth; Gender; fragile and conflict affected states; climate, environment and social compliance.

The upper limit of funding for ERG proposals is £35,000 with a deadline date of 1st July 2013.  Further information is available at http://pedl.cepr.org/content/special-exploratory-research-grant-calls.

Staffordshire University wins support from the Design Council


Staffordshire University has won a place on the Design Council’s Design Leadership Programme. The programme is a unique opportunity to work with the Design Council and their Design Associates, to help us use design in the Commercialisation of our research. In the process the projects have been learning valuable new skills to add to their existing capabilities. The successful projects include the Urinary Flow Assessment Monitor with Mr Khawar Hameed and Dr Abdel-Hamid Soliman, The Development of Unfired Commercial Pavers with Professor Michael Anderson and Mr John Adlen, The Development of Shear Reducing Midsoles Concept and Intelligent Footwear with Professor Nachiappan Chockalingam and Dr Roozbeh Naemi and finally the Forensic Contamination Prevention Project which involves Professor John Cassella, Ms Laura Walton, Mr Julian Partridge and Mr Rob Buurstede. The programme runs from November 2012 through to spring 2013 and over that period we will have up to 8.5 days of Jonathan Butters (Design Associate) experience.

Jonathon has kindly agreed to present at our next Enterprise Exchange Meeting on Wednesday 27th March 2013 to talk about the Design programme. The Enterprise Exchange is a quarterly meeting run by the Enterprise and Commercial Development team as a forum to share best practice and showcase projects and activity. Chaired by Dr Stuart Brown, Head of IP and Commercialisation, the group welcomes all university staff engaging in knowledge exchange activity, enterprise, applied research, consultancy and innovation to attend. If you would be interested in joining the group please contact Elizabeth Plant our Information Officer, on 01785 353851 or email e.j.plant@staffs.ac.uk