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The University of Southampton
Global Network for Anti-Microbial Resistance and Infection Prevention

Translating innovation

Front over of 'Translating Innovation' book
Front cover of Royal Society's 'Translating innovation' book


Labs to Riches brings together representatives from industry, academia, finance and government. The event celebrates the translation of research innovation and invention, to benefit commerce and society, through the Brian Mercer fund. The Royal Society’s premier prize for Innovation is the £250,000 Brian Mercer Award for Innovation, which was awarded to StarStream in 2011.

The theme of the evening was entrepreneurial risk and reward, exploring how science and innovation systems can best support and encourage entrepreneurial success, strengthening the case for the importance of science and industry to economic growth and productivity.

To accompany the Lab to Riches event, The Royal Society published a book of inventors and inventions. Starstream and Tim Leighton were chosen as the cover image for the 'Translating innovation: Showcasing UK entrepreneurial science' book. Inside, it was noted how the Brian Mercer award had formed the nucleus of NAMRIP:

‘Antimicrobial resistance (AMR) is an increasingly serious threat to global public health that requires action across all government sectors and society. The threat of a post-antibiotic age means that new ways of cleaning and sanitising at the microbial level will become important. But Professor Leighton cautions against using only chemical approaches to this problem: “microbe populations can become resistant because we leave ‘smoking guns’ in our water run-off, giving clues as to what killed the previous bugs. These ‘clues’ in sub-therapeutic concentrations might assist the vast reservoirs of microbes in our water and sewage systems to develop resistance… StarStream doesn’t leave a trace of anything in the water supply. There are no chemicals to tell the bugs what was used to kill their predecessors.” The interdisciplinary team that developed StarStream has formed the basis for a strategic research group on AMR at Southampton University (Network for Anti-Microbial Resistance and Infection Prevention – NAMRIP), which secured first £50,000 of university internal funding, followed by an additional £868k through the EPSRC. NAMRIP now funds other research and commercialisation activities aimed at tackling the growing challenge of AMR.’

The article also quotes Professor Leighton as saying of NAMRIP that “We have given out £150,000 of funds to replicate the multidisciplinary team we had in the Brian Mercer award – we have done that for 12 other teams and have calls out to double that”.

The book, including the article 'Starstream:tackling the challenge of antimicrobial resistance', can be accessed via the Industry and innovation - Case studies webpage on the Royal Society's website and following the link to 'download the case studies'.




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