Department for Business, Innovation and Skills
Printable version E-mail this to a friend

£750,000 competition launched for innovative university-industry projects

The Intellectual Property Office (IPO) launched its annual Fast Forward competition today, to encourage universities and public sector research establishments to collaborate with businesses and local communities on innovative projects that benefit UK society and can help grow the economy.

Now in its third year, Fast Forward has so far provided £1.25 million in prizes to 23 winning projects in diverse areas, ranging from the creative industries to medical research and social enterprises.

The total prize fund available for this year’s competition is £750,000, which will be awarded to around a dozen projects in individual awards of between £10,000 and £100,000.

The IPO’s Chief Executive, Sean Dennehey said:

“UK universities lead the world as seats of learning, but they are also hubs of innovation, creating and harnessing intellectual property to fuel market competitiveness and economic growth.

Fast Forward recognises and rewards projects that demonstrate innovative approaches to university-industry collaborations, providing funding that can help create new companies and services which benefit the UK economy and society.”

One of the highest profile winners to date is the Bloodhound@University project based at the University of the West of England, which is involved in the Bloodhound Super Sonic Car (SSC) world land speed record project. Bloodhound@University secured £80,000 in funding from last year’s competition to support an open and collaborative approach to intellectual property arising from its Super Sonic Car.

Dr John Lanham, Director of Bloodhound@University at the University of the West of England said:

“The IPO’s Fast Forward funding has enabled the project to foster an open and collaborative approach to IP sharing. The BloodhoundSSC project will share data from the designing, building, testing and running of the car to provide unprecedented access to teachers, lecturers and students. The project is also working with small and medium enterprises in the technology sector to adopt and adapt some of these practices and policies to improve their competitiveness in the marketplace."

This project is one example of the way Fast Forward can encourage universities and industry to benefit from each other’s strengths and capitalise on their intellectual property.

The closing date for the competition is Friday 14 December 2012.

Notes to editors

1. The 2013 Fast Forward Competition will award prizes to projects that improve the management of IP and Knowledge Exchange (KE), thereby creating new companies or services which benefit both the UK economy and society. It aims to encourage Higher Education Institutions (HEIs) and Public Sector Research Establishments (PSREs) to work with businesses and local communities to develop innovative KE practices that set, test, develop or embed best practice.

2. The Intellectual Property Office (IPO) is within the Department for Business, Innovation, and Skills (BIS) and is responsible for the national framework of Intellectual Property rights, comprising patents, designs, trade marks and copyright.

3. Its role is to help manage an IP system that encourages innovation and creativity, balances the needs of consumers and users, promotes strong and competitive markets and is the foundation of the knowledge-based economy.

4. It operates in a national and an international environment and its work is governed by national and international law, including various international treaties relating to Intellectual Property (IP) to which the United Kingdom is a party.

5. Further information relating to the Fast Forward Competition can be found at:

6. For media queries, please contact Veena Mapara on 0207 215 5614.

7. For emergency media calls out-of-hours please contact the duty press officer at the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills on +44 (0) 207 215 3505.

8. The Government's economic policy objective is to achieve 'strong, sustainable and balanced growth that is more evenly shared across the country and between industries.' It set four ambitions in the
‘Plan for Growth’ (PDF 1.7MB), published at Budget 2011:

  • To create the most competitive tax system in the G20
  • To make the UK the best place in Europe to start, finance and grow a business
  • To encourage investment and exports as a route to a more balanced economy
  • To create a more educated workforce that is the most flexible in Europe.

9. Work is underway across Government to achieve these ambitions, including progress on more than 250 measures as part of the Growth Review. Developing an Industrial Strategy gives new impetus to this work by providing businesses, investors and the public with more clarity about the long-term direction in which the Government wants the economy to travel.

10. BIS's online newsroom contains the latest press notices and speeches, as well as video and images for download. It also features an up to date list of BIS press office contacts. See for more information.