A research associate from the Department of Engineering has been awarded an Engineering Enterprise Fellowship by the Royal Academy of Engineering (RAEng).
"Business-minded engineers need investment and support from experienced industry practitioners to exploit their research ... which could become the commercial success stories of tomorrow."
—Ian Shott CBE FREng, chair of the RAEng selection panel
Dr Damian Gardiner is based at the Centre of Molecular Materials for Photonics and Electronics (CMMPE). He has substantial industrial and academic experience in the development of functional organic materials for optics and electronics.
The support offered by the Fellowship will enable Damian to establish a spin-out company based on printable laser technology, which will focus on developing innovative solutions to combat the $500 Billion global annual cost of counterfeit products. He plans to develop his work on unique optical signatures, combined with scalable print processing, to provide security and brand authentication features and devices, which could help prevent the sale of counterfeit goods. Damian will be supported by colleagues in CMMPE and the Inkjet Research Centre with commercialisation support from Cambridge Enterprise.
Damian said: "I am really delighted to have been awarded the Enterprise Fellowship. The support offered by the Royal Academy of Engineering gives a huge boost to the commercialisation of this exciting new technology developed in the Engineering Department."
The Royal Academy of Engineering awarded five of its prestigious Enterprise Fellowships to outstanding innovators at UK universities. These Fellowships form part of the Academy's Enterprise Hub, a new resource for entrepreneurial businesses that will see Academy Fellows providing expertise and mentoring for engineering and technology start-ups and small/medium enterprises.
Providing up to £85,000 of funding and support per awardee, the Fellowships allow researchers to spend 12 months totally and exclusively committed to developing a spin-out business around their technological idea. This is the second year of the scheme, with individuals from the first cohort already forming companies and attracting significant investment.
Ian Shott CBE FREng, Managing Partner of Shott Trinova and chair of the RAEng selection panel, said: "It is fundamental to the wellbeing of the engineering sector, which will drive growth of the UK economy, that researchers are given support to create the next generation of businesses based on effective innovations. Business-minded engineers need investment and support from experienced industry practitioners to exploit their research, filling gaps in the market and providing solutions to industry problems, which could become the commercial success stories of tomorrow. This is why activities such as the Enterprise Fellowships and the Academy's new Enterprise Hub are so important."
Damian and his team have also been awarded additional financial backing for their project in the shape of a $10,000 Blue Ocean Grant from Ocean Optics. Recipients were chosen based on their potential to change the world for the better, out of the box thinking, technical merit and potential commercial viability.