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Norwich Research Park event showcases the research and technology platforms innovative businesses can access

13 June 2024

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Anglia Innovation Partnership, the campus management organisation at Norwich Research Park, hosted its latest Enterprise Tuesday event on Tuesday 11 June at the John Innes Conference Centre, showcasing novel technology platforms and debating the value of ‘science push and industry pull’ activity in the cluster.

The event entitled ‘Research and Technology Platforms Open for Innovative Business’ presented case studies to explain how the specialist facilities were created, at the campus, how they are used in publicly funded research, on the campus, and their current and future potential application in industry.

Four of the platforms presented:

  1. Dr Carolina Grandellis and Dr Iain MacAulay will introduce Biofoundry at the Earlham Institute is an engineering biology and automation facility for processing biological samples by using robots to do experiments faster and more accurately for microbiology and biotech companies wanting to screen a high number of bacterial strains.
  2. Dr Alan Brailsford, Operations Manager, Quadram Institute will present QIB Extra which is the Quadram Institute’s commercial arm that works with industry partners in the food, diet and health sectors to provide its expertise and services to help develop their products with the profits being reinvested into further research.
  3. Dr Penny Hundleby, Senior Scientist, John Innes Centre will talk about the Crop Transformation platform which offers transformation and genome editing for a range of species including wheat, barley and Brassica crops. It can help to advance research in many areas of plant science by providing functional characterisation of genes of interest and by providing knock-out mutants using CRISPR/Cas9 based technologies.
  4. Dr Ofir Meir, Chief Technology Officer at Tropic will explain the working of its GEiGS (Gene Editing induced Gene Silencing) platform a frontrunner in the agriculture gene editing sector which uses universal gene editing tools such as CRISPR, to minimally edit the host’s own non-coding genes and redirect their silencing activity (RNAi) towards any desired target gene or gene family enabling critical disease resistance and valuable quality improvement traits across crops, livestock and aquaculture.


The second half of the event was a panel discussion –  ‘Strengthening engagement through ‘science push’ and ‘industry pull’’ chaired by Dr Nick Goodwin, COO of Anglia Innovation Partnership and featuring James Phillips, Head of Translation and Innovations Capability at the Biotechnology and Biology Sciences Research Council (BBSRC), Linda Bedenik, Senior Policy and Public Affairs Manager, The Bioindustry Association, Luke Young, CEO and co-founder of Alora, Dr Jonathan Clarke, Head of Business Development at the John Innes Centre, Prof Brian Reid, Professor of Soil Science, UEA, Dr Jenny Longmore, Director of Research Operations, Norfolk & Norwich University Hospital and Dr Cathrina Edwards, PulseON Foods.

Roz Bird, CEO, Anglia Innovation Partnership, said: “Norwich Research Park is one of the largest research clusters in Europe, with over 30,000 people on site every day.

Our aim is to raise awareness of our technology and research platforms and encourage more research collaborations, and more industry access, to maximise the impact of the enormous amounts of publicly funded research taking place on the campus.

“These events are a really good way to highlight the genuinely fantastic opportunities that exist here and the importance of our facilities. We actively support fledgling companies with access to funding, facilitating collaborative partnerships and introducing them to useful business networks. Our unique combination of top-class facilities, access to funding and ease of collaboration means we can fast-track ideas to become viable start-up companies.

It was great to be able to show case unique technology and new enterprise activity yet again and to get a great response from our audience of over 100 delegates.”

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