Innovation is not a Magic Sausage Machine

The UK’s House of Commons Science and Technology Committee published its report on Managing Intellectual Property and Technology Transfer this week, something that grew out of the initial inquiry about the commercialisation (or lack of it) around graphene. Focussing on graphene was an excellent starting point, but it soon became apparent that the UK has a problem with linking its …

Reflections in the Northern Powerhouse

This week I spend two days at the Northern powerhouse Conference in Manchester trying to understand what it actually is, and how the kinds of hard technology (also called deep technology or really anything that requires more than IT to develop) would fit in. After attending every session and listening to the panel discussions I came away with a slight …

Henry Bessemer and the Northern Powerhouse

northern powerhouse

The Northern Powerhouse is a hot topic at the moment following the launch of the First Report of the Northern Powerhouse Partnership and the upcoming Northern Powerhouse International Conference in Manchester. Even the Chinese are getting in on the act. The North Needs More Than Infrastructure While it’s important to focus on infrastructure – from where I live near Skipton …

Delivering A Northern Technology Powerhouse

I posted recently on the N8 Universities and their lack of entrepreneurial spin out activity. This reiterated by todays Northern Powerhouse Partnership First Report which point out that “The North also currently loses around 30,000 people with graduate level skills every year as students choose to leave the city in which they have studied after their course finishes.” The report also calls for …

The Science Behind Fake News and Fake Nanotech Products

graphene lightbulb moment

As a UK parliamentary enquiry into fake news gets underway, members of parliament could take a few lessons from the history of nanotechnology. It isn’t just democracy under threat from made up stuff, it’s science too. Even more discomforting is the realization that scientists have been doing this for decades, and nobody really cares. Despite the off high profile case …

Technology Commercialisation – More Light than Heat?

graphene lightbulb moment

An interesting snapshot on the commercialisation of graphene emerges from some recent evidence submitted to the UK’s Parliament’s Science and Technology Committee. Policy makers and academics have much in common, especially the ability to make extravagant promises and then conveniently forget them when it comes to delivery. In short the University of Manchester has been signing NDA’s and furiously patenting graphene …

The N8 Northern Universities Seem To Prefer Stotties To Spin Outs

The recent N8 report “The Power of 8” by a group of 8 northern English Universities (Durham, Lancaster, Leeds, Liverpool, Manchester, Newcastle, Sheffield and York) is wonderfully bombastic but also illustrates what is wrong with university technology transfer and how little they understand about the real world. Despite all the big numbers –  the 8 Universities have calculated that they …

Dull, Unimaginative Wearables from Apple and Samsung

Keeping half an eye on the latest set of Apple product announcements, especially the wearables,  I wondered “Has Apple Run Out Of Innovation?” Perhaps not totally, the innovative wireless headphones and Waterproof iPhone indicate that there is at least some incremental innovation happening, but it looks increasingly like an effort to extract ever more value from existing technologies than to …

Disrupting Water Treatment Technology – Equal Parts Economics and Technology

I’ve seen lots of water treatment technologies over the last fifteen years consisting of almost every conceivable variant of nanotechnology, from electrospun nanofibers to graphene. Some of them are great, but many won’t succeed, for a simple reason that is obvious to anyone outside the science community. Hardly a week goes by without some new form of graphene being promoted as …