The University of Southampton
Institute for Life Sciences

Our goal is to strengthen and develop links between the Institute for Life Sciences and industrial partners, starting with companies within the Central South region. Among the many benefits of collaboration are reciprocal knowledge transfer, creation of high value jobs and retention of graduates in the region.

To engage with industry and build relationships, we need to have a clear idea of the life sciences enterprise landscape in the Solent and beyond. We therefore applied to Solent Local Enterprise Partnership for funding to support a baseline survey of life sciences enterprise in the Solent region, following a similar exercise with the Swindon and Wiltshire LEP in 2014. The Solent scoping exercise was co-funded by Wessex Academic Health Sciences Network. IfLS commissioned OBN, an Oxford-based life sciences networking organisation, to carry out the survey and provide an external perspective from a neutral third party. A report with analysis, a database and an interactive map, forming foundations to develop a life sciences business plan, were presented to the LEP Board in May 2015.

Key findings are a number of enterprise clusters that should be developed into ‘smart specialisations’ to distinguish our region. These overlap with areas of excellence and critical mass within the University of Southampton:

  • Orthopaedics, Prosthetics and Assistive Technologies
  • Sensors, Devices, Nanotechnology and Fluidics
  • Information Technology, Data and Web Sciences
  • Ophthalmology, Materials and Optics

We have taken the first of these, Orthopaedics, Prosthetics and Assistive Technologies, and created a network, FortisNet, that draws together the necessary elements of the innovation and enterprise ecosystem as the first step to develop a smart specialisation. FortisNet is a collaborative, interdisciplinary network in hard (bone, teeth) and soft (skin, muscle, cartilage) research. Our vision is to create a virtuous circle of product development, connecting clinicians, researchers, enterprise and end-users to build a pipeline of effective, safe, value-for-money physical interventions for stronger, active bodies.

Click on image below to access the interactive map of Solent companies working within the life sciences sector, created by OBN and updated in May 2016.

OBN
Interactive map of Solent companies working within the life sciences sector, created by OBN

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Collaborative research and knowledge transfer

There are numerous ways that businesses can collaborate with the Institute for Life Sciences, for example acting as an industrial advisor to a project, hosting an Excel Undergraduate or Postgraduate student in your business, sponsoring a PhD studentship, leading collaborative applications to Catalyst programmes (Agri-Tech, Biomedical, Energy; Industrial Biotechnology) or taking part in a Knowledge Transfer Partnership, to name but a few. 

Excel Southampton Placement Programme https://www.southampton.ac.uk/careers/students/experience/placements/excel.html
Knowledge Transfer Partnerships http://www.southampton.ac.uk/business/expertise/knowledge-transfer-partnerships.page
CASE Studentships (Co-operative Awards in Science & Engineering) http://www.southampton.ac.uk/ris/funding/researchstudentships.html
http://www.epsrc.ac.uk/skills/students/dta/caseconvert/ 
http://www.mrc.ac.uk/skills-careers/studentships/how-we-fund-studentships/industrial-case-studentships/?nav=sidebar
Innovate UK Catalysts https://www.gov.uk/innovation-get-details-about-innovate-uk-funding-competitions#catalysts
Employers http://www.southampton.ac.uk/careers/employers/

 

For more information on ways to collaborate with the Institute for Life Sciences, please contact Dr Alexandra Mant: a.mant@southampton.ac.uk

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The IfLS is pleased to be a member of OBN

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