Working with Cambium LLP, the Science and Technology Facilities Council’s (STFC) Hartree Centre has pioneered a process that uses direct insights from businesses to help translate pioneering data-centric research into commercial benefits for the UK.
The goals of better productivity, increased exports and greater growth are shaping the UK’s drive to strengthen its competitiveness and secure sustainable economic success. Crucial to achieving these objectives is the ability to extract maximum benefit from the latest generation of high performance computing, big data and cognitive technologies. For the Hartree Centre, with its extensive pedigree and portfolio in all these fields, a key question is how to bring its research expertise to bear on industrially relevant problems and translate this into cost-cutting, time-saving, innovation-enabling applications of practical value to UK businesses.
Identifying real business problems that HPC, big data and cognitive technologies can solve is at the heart of the Hartree Centre’s mission. The INCEPT™ process improves our engagement and as a result, the quality of these industry projects.
Deputy Director, Hartree Centre
Working in collaboration with Cambium, the Hartree Centre has developed a structured process called InCEPT™ which is rooted in close engagement and dialogue with the UK business community. This process is enabling the Hartree Centre to map its research capabilities onto industry needs more effectively than ever. Developed and delivered with sustainable innovation company Cambium, InCEPT™ is applicable to any sector, any field of science & engineering, or any specific challenge (e.g. drug development, food security). Following identification of a potential research idea, a workshop is hosted involving a cohort of 8-12 relevant businesses, to review, critique and refine the research concept to enhance its applicability to priority challenges faced by those businesses. One-to-one discussions are used to fine-tune the idea before a follow-up workshop enables scrutiny and validation from a business risk/reward perspective.
The InCEPT™ process ensures a strong link between the creation of digital assets to real business problems. Companies – both those involved in the process and others – can then reap the commercial benefits of these digital assets via a range of routes, through licensing agreements, spinouts or service offerings. Direct involvement of relevant businesses in the process can also reap rewards such as enabling access to real company data or input that strengthens and validates the projects that emerge. Keeping the process closely linked to industry ultimately ensures a faster, smarter pathway for UK innovation for tangible economic impact.