Cumbria’s successful technology commercialization programme, Innovus, has now created 44 jobs linked to projects it has supported. With support from the Regional Growth Fund to work with innovative Cumbrian businesses and with Game Changers, a new partnership with Sellafield Ltd, more jobs are forecast and it looks set to grow in 2016.
Innovus has been helping innovative companies grow through developing and selling their solutions to industry challenges since its launch in 2013. Run by National Nuclear Laboratory and The University of Manchester through its Dalton Nuclear Institute, the programme is transforming the culture of research and development in Cumbria, inspiring its clients to continually seek out the next innovation that will be the future of their business.
By teaming up with Sellafield Ltd on Game Changers, Innovus now reaches out to individuals, researchers and both small and large businesses wherever they are based to seek out the solutions they can bring to Sellafield’s decommissioning challenges.
Innovus has teamed up with Sellafield Ltd to work with small and medium sized enterprises, universities and larger companies nationwide to unlock the potential for game-changing innovation to speed up decommissioning at the Sellafield site. £5,000 is available for each successful applicant to develop and discuss their idea, with follow on support and funding available too.
The decommissioning of the Sellafield site is predicted to take over 100 years at a cost of over £50bn. In order to meet the decommissioning challenges at the Sellafield site there is a need to invest in new and novel technologies, ideas and methods, which are either new in concept or new to the industry.
Over coming months, a series of challenges will be issued, where fresh thinking can potentially save millions of pounds and speed up the vital decommissioning work.
Sellafield Ltd and Innovus are inviting proposals for Game Changers: new technologies, ideas, and methods which can accelerate the delivery of this challenging programme – reducing the cost, reducing the risk and making operations safer. From technologies and methods already used in other industries to non-standard technologies and approaches that address specific needs, Game Changers is looking to harness innovation wherever it is.
Innovus has already helped to develop some exciting projects from surprising places. Last year a business from near Penrith which produces equipment for scallop trawling for the fishing industry delivered an eye-catching example of ‘technology transfer’. Working with Innovus, Barrnon adapted its products for removing sludge from the bottom of the historic fuel storage ponds at Sellafield. The company continues to develop new technologies in that area and is creating new jobs.
Businesses will have the opportunity to find out more about specific challenges and how to apply for funding and support at an event on 2 March at Rheged, staged in collaboration with Innovate UK. To view some of the innovation already taking place within the nuclear sector there is a Technology Supply Chain in Action event taking place on 11 February at Energus. Booking for both is through the innovus.org.uk website.
Adrian Simper, the NDA’s Strategy and Technology Director, said: “The decommissioning of Sellafield – the NDA’s number one priority programme – is one of the greatest scientific and engineering challenges facing the UK.
“The challenge is not only to complete the mission safely and securely, but also to accelerate progress and reduce costs in order to deliver maximum for the taxpayer. We can only achieve this if we embrace innovation from other industries and open the site up to new ideas and ways of thinking that challenge the orthodoxy.
“Game Changers is a fantastic way of identifying innovation and developing the new techniques and technology that will drive forward this progress.”
Paul Foster, managing director of Sellafield Ltd, said: “Every day at Sellafield we are using world-class innovation to overcome the huge challenges on the site. Our adoption of the decommissioning mind set has allowed us to embrace fit-for-purpose solutions, utilising off-the-shelf technology from other industries and reducing our reliance on nuclear-led design.
“This has already resulted in huge progress in the clean-up of the legacy ponds and silos – our number one priority. In order to sustain this, we must be sure we are exploiting every available avenue to innovation.
“Game Changers offers us a direct route to the individuals and organisations that can help us make the breakthroughs we need to successfully complete the mission.”
Anne Knott, Commercial Manager at The University of Manchester’s Dalton Cumbrian Facility said:
“The University of Manchester and National Nuclear Laboratory are very proud of the way that Innovus has taken root in Cumbria and Game Changers shows that it can have a part to play in other areas too, whilst addressing a particular sector. The key is to be adaptive, flexible and imaginative, to find that idea that changes something to make a big difference.”
NNL’s Adrian Davis-Johnston, manager of the Innovus programme said:
“Innovus is the perfect vehicle for Sellafield Ltd to reach its target audience, with great routes into the SME and supply chain communities, as well as academia and the national laboratory, Innovus has quickly built a reputation for promoting great new technologies.
“We want to reach out for innovation from all sectors, perhaps especially those that don’t have a knowledge at present of the nuclear industry, to have a fresh perspective and to challenge us with new ways to address our most pressing challenges.”