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East Midlands Chamber News

High-tech start-ups within five years

A cutting edge engineering institute set up by the University of Derby will be creating new hi-tech start-up businesses within five years, says its Director.

The Institute of Innovation in Sustainable Engineering (IISE) was set-up earlier this year at the former Victorian mill building of Lonsdale House on Quaker Way, north-west of Derby city centre.

It is currently being refurbished and will eventually contain some of the most advanced engineering equipment and processes in the country.

When it officially opens in spring next year the Institute will accommodate specialist resources for advanced manufacturing, product design and development and electronic solutions.

It will support ongoing engagement with local industrial partners, based on a solid foundation of research and development, and will provide an Active Learning Laboratory for innovative and creative teaching and learning.

The Institute’s Director – Professor Richard Hall – anticipates that within the first five years enterprising staff and students working at the facility will be setting up their own spin-off companies to advance engineering progress in the power, automotive and aerospace sectors; with these start-ups then benefitting local industry.

Professor Hall, who has worked with high value manufacturing businesses across the world, said: “The Institute’s mission is right there in its name; to help companies innovate and improve their supply chains, and to do this in a sustainable way.

“Our biggest global challenges are those of finite resources and minimising our environmental impact. The Institute will focus on creating new components and processes which use resources more efficiently, and can be more easily recycled. Companies that innovate with sustainability in mind will be increasingly more competitive in world markets.

“Along the way, the resources we have at the Institute will feed directly into the teaching of the University’s students. When they leave us they will have the skills employers need and will already be used to working with the very latest technological equipment.”

Specialist equipment – including 3D printers able to recreate physical objects and components from computer generated models, complete with moving parts, made from a variety of materials – have already been installed at Lonsdale House. These technologies are stimulating a revolution in product development and manufacturing, and are becoming more affordable for all to benefit.
The University is also working closely with Derby City Council and local trade bodies, and is a supporting partner for the new Innovation Centre at the Infinity Park, near Sinfin, Derby.

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