Innovation and knowledge centres

Innovation and Knowledge Centres (IKCs) are a key component of the UK's approach to the commercialisation of emerging technologies through creating early stage critical mass in an area of disruptive technology. They are able to achieve this through their international quality research capability and access to companion technologies needed to commercialise research.

Based in a university they are led by an expert entrepreneurial team. While continuing to advance the research agenda, they create impact by enhancing wealth generation of the businesses with which they work.

Seven IKCs have been funded since 2007.

Cambridge Innovation and Knowledge Centre (CIKC): Advanced Manufacturing Technologies for Photonics and Electronics - University of Cambridge

Developments in the molecular engineering of polymers, advanced liquid crystals and nanostructures are set to have a disruptive impact on fields such as microelectronics, displays and communication systems. CIKC develops advanced manufacturing technologies using new macromolecular material systems and creating valid exploitation models for these innovations.

Funded by EPSRC between January 2007 and December 2012.

Ultra Precision and Structured Surfaces (UPS2) - Cranfield University

Precision engineering and structured surfaces are critical to components including those critical for optoelectronics and displays, solar energy and medical device, and applications in the automotive, aerospace, defence and space industries. The UPS2 IKC has led to spin-out companies, a new MSc course, and an independent structured surfaces laboratory in North Wales.

Funded by EPSRC between February 2007 and January 2013.

Centre for Secure Information Technologies (CSIT) -Queen's University Belfast

CSIT creates the security infrastructure needed to safeguard the trustworthiness of information stored electronically, both at home and in the workplace. As well as developing licensing deals and spin-out companies, CSIT works closely with the entrepreneurial community to facilitate an environment that will foster innovation and entrepreneurship and ensure wider economic benefit.

Funded by EPSRC and Innovate UK between March 2009 and March 2020.
Additional funding from Invest Northern Ireland.

Medical Technologies IKC - University of Leeds

The Medical Technologies IKC delivers innovation right across the medical technology spectrum - from implantable devices through to regenerative therapies that can be enhanced with autologous stem cells. The centre focuses on technologies that have viable and feasible routes to commercialisation and supports these through an approach that reduces late failure and cost.

Funded by EPSRC, Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC) and Innovate UK between October 2009 and June 2015; and by EPSRC between July 2015 and June 2020.

Sustainable Product Engineering Centre for Innovative Functional Industrial Coatings (SPECIFIC) - Swansea University

SPECIFIC aims to develop functional coated steel and glass products that will transform the roofs and walls of buildings into surfaces that will generate, store and release energy. The ambition for these products is to generate over one third of the UK's total target renewable energy by 2020; reducing CO2 output by 6 million tonnes per year and creating new jobs in high-value manufacturing.

Funded by EPSRC and Innovate UK between April 2011 and March 2016.
Additional funding from the Welsh Government.

Centre for Smart Infrastructure and Construction (CSIC) - University of Cambridge

CSIC is an international centre of excellence in sensors, data analysis and interpretation, and smart city systems. Working with industry partner organisations, CSIC is transforming infrastructure and construction through smarter information to bring better performance at lower cost, more intelligent operation of mature networks, increased capacity, efficiency and resilience and improved whole-life value.

Funded by EPSRC and Innovate UK between April 2011 and June 2021.

Synthetic Biology Innovation and Commercialisation Industrial translation Engine (SynbiCITE) - Imperial College London

To accelerate the translation of synthetic biology technology to new applications SynbiCITE will:

  1. Act as an industrial translation engine which translates university and industry based research in synthetic biology into industrial process and products.
  2. Be an effective vehicle for the support of small to medium sized UK companies including Start-ups in synthetic Biology.
  3. Actively engage in open dialogue with the public and other stakeholders focusing on the risks and benefits of synthetic biology technologies.

Funded by EPSRC, BBSRC and Innovate UK between October 2013 and September 2018.