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University receives £5.65m to transform research into impact

15 Jun 2022

The University of Manchester has received £5.65m funding from the UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) Impact Acceleration Account (IAA), in order to turn its cutting-edge research into innovative solutions for businesses, charities and other organisations


Combined award is the largest in the north

UKRI has invested a total of £118m in IAA funding to 64 research organisations over three years. Our University's total combined award for 2022-2025 is the fourth largest, and the largest in the north, totalling £5.65 million. This represents IAA funding from five research councils across the arts, humanities, science and engineering.

The funding will be used to help organisations connect with University researchers working at the forefront of their discipline to improve their operations, services or products. As a result, our University is looking for organisations to come forward to take advantage of the new funding, and the expertise at Manchester.

Manchester was ranked fifth in the UK in the recent Research Excellence Framework, run by government to measure the quality of research across the sector. Our University also has a strong track record in commercialising this research, as sixth in Europe according to the CWTS Leiden rankings and equal third in the UK in the number of spinout companies (HEBCIS).

Two examples of innovation arising from Manchester’s previous IAA funding

The Intensive Care Unit of Wythenshawe Hospital and SME consultancy Designing Science Ltd collaborated with Dr Glen Cooper in the School of Engineering, through an IAA Proof of Concept project, to create a novel PPE respirator. This is designed to reduce the transmission of COVID-19 to healthcare workers while also improving the quality of critical communication between staff and vastly improving overall patient experience.

IAA funding also supported a proof of concept study with sportswear firm Inov-8 and Professor Vijayaraghavan in the Department of Materials, to improve the properties of rubber in trainers through the incorporation of graphene. The initial project led to the partners securing further funding through Innovate UKs Knowledge Transfer Partnership (KTP) scheme and subsequent launch of the world’s first running shoe with graphene-enhanced foam in the sole, which doubles the longevity of the running shoe.

Further examples with organisations large and small are available on our website.

Professor Luke Georghiou, Deputy President and Deputy Vice-Chancellor, said: “This funding is a welcome show of confidence in the University’s track record in knowledge exchange and impact.

"It means we can work with even more organisations, to help them to innovate, scale-up and improve productivity, based on the research across all disciplines carried out here at the University.”

The IAA is a combination of grants awarded to research institutions by UK Research Councils to jumpstart knowledge exchange, translation and commercialisation through partnership with UK businesses, charities and other organisations.  IAA funding provides fast, flexible support for critical early-stage translation of UK research to real impacts, transforming public services, creating new jobs, attracting private investment and forging new relationships with external organisations.