CERN launches competition for SMEs to get tech into UK

The UK’s Science and Technology Facilities Council (STFC) have announced a competition that will allow entrepreneurs and SMEs to take ideas from some of the world’s most innovative technologies developed at CERN.

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The UK’s Science and Technology Facilities Council (STFC) have announced a competition that will allow entrepreneurs and SMEs to take ideas from some of the world’s most innovative technologies developed at CERN.

Famous for its Large Hadron Collider and the recent discovery of the ‘God particle’, this is the first partnership of its kind for CERN, which will see a substantial support package provided to five companies per year, each over a period of two years.

Winners will receive £40,000 funding for use in intellectual property protection, design prototyping and market studies, as well as access to up to 40 hours of CERN and 40 hours of STFC scientists and technical expertise.

Access to CERN’s intellectual property at preferential conditions will also be provided, plus access to potential sources of financial support through STFC’s links with venture capitalists and funding bodies.

“CERN’s knowledge transfer policy is inspired by the principle of sharing our knowledge with every sector of society, from education to business, from training to other fields of research,” said Steve Myers, CERN’s director of accelerators and technology.

“Through a UK-based business incubation centre CERN will test a new scheme of knowledge and technology transfer which could be extended to other CERN member states.”

He adds: “The objective is to facilitate even further the access to our unique engineering know-how acquired during the building and running of the Large Hadron Collider, the largest scientific machine ever built.”

Successful applicants will also benefit from a dedicated STFC business champion for business planning and guidance, as well as access to some of STFC’s facilities, including the new Hartree Centre, which hosts the most powerful supercomputer in the UK.

John Womersley, chief executive of STFC, told the Financial Times that the scheme is aimed at getting technologies out of CERN and translating them into marketable services and products in the UK.

“We want to get technology from inside the ivory tower into the economy. CERN understands that this is something it needs to get better at,” said Womersley.

In other CERN-related news, researchers in Geneva recently said that they were being held back from adopting cloud computing on any significant scale due to the delay in establishing a European regulatory framework for data protection.

Bob Jones, head of CERN openlab, said: “We are working with high-tech companies, industrial companies and European agencies, and the key point is the regulatory framework is creating a barrier.”

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