NERC IAA - The University of Manchester

Lead Research Organisation: University of Manchester
Department Name: The Research Office


The University of Manchester achieves a high level of knowledge exchange by virtue of strong institutional commitment and an effective KE infrastructure that successfully delivered the NERC IAA Pilot Phase I. This base of experience allows us to further develop our priorities and focus on opportunities that will significantly enhance the impact of NERC funded research.

The University believes that to best deliver the aims of the IAA, it should develop the capability to exploit all of its NERC-funded research where exploitable knowledge and technologies emerge, and where opportunities or demand for exploitation are identified. To provide focus for the University's efforts, key Research Institutes and research strengths have been identified that offer the potential for significant contribution to key challenges faced by the UK and / or which offer potential for contribution to the leading-edge technologies that will underpin business growth, including:

The Dalton Nuclear Institute is the focal point for the University's nuclear research, covering areas ranging from fusion to materials performance and from geological disposal to societal impact. Within the Institute, the Research Centre for Radwaste and Decommissioning (RCRD) undertakes research that supports the development of effective, long-term treatment and storage solutions for radioactive waste materials. Activities of the RCRD draw on expertise from many groups within the University, especially the Centre for Radiochemistry Research for environmental radioactivity and radwaste characterisation, the Materials Performance Centre for determination of the performance of waste containers, the Modelling and Simulation Centre for a predictive capacity of materials performance, and the Williamson Research Centre for microbiological and geological understanding and investigation.

The Centre for Atmospheric Science studies processes important to climate change and air quality within the troposphere and lower stratosphere. As one of the largest groups in UK universities, there are extensive collaborative links with leading atmospheric sciences bodies worldwide. The Basin Studies and Petroleum Geoscience group incorporates all aspects of the sedimentary basin system, from source to sink and from micro- to macro-scales. Projects integrate structural, sedimentological and geomorphic studies and span the fundamental and petroleum geosciences, with major research programmes supported by the petroleum industry.

Our plan proposes a range of KE measures enabling a step change in KE performance to ensure that we fulfill the University's strategic objective in this area in the domains covered by NERC research:

'To maximise the University's economic and social impact, by ensuring research and expertise/know-how are delivered in a timely and effective manner to relevant external partners so as to ensure that impact, and in turn to inform and strengthen research activity by means of interaction with those partners.'

The activities we propose will aim to:

- Develop early stage contact and strategic alignment between business and academics as a baseline for extended collaboration
- Bridge the gap in support for early stage commercialisation of ideas with potential to lead to significant further investment
- Extend the culture and skills for engagement in the University, with a particular focus on researchers who do not normally engage in exploitation
- Disseminate and capture successful impact from NERC research

The plan will be implemented against a background of step change in the University's support structure for Business Engagement and Knowledge Exchange. The University is already recognised as being in the leading group for commercialisation through its subsidiary UMI3, and for a strong portfolio of strategic research relationships with business. The IAA activity will help us to achieve our published aim of trebling the level of this activity by 2020.


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