Summer updates from companies in our innovation centres
With each season, we are pleased to celebrate the many successes and developments in the companies in our innovation centres. In this summer update, we celebrate fund raises, expansion and growth, recognition, and more. Here are some key highlights we’ve collected over the past few months.
Through UK Research and Innovation’s injection of £45 million into quantum tech development, Oxford Centre for Innovation-based Infleqtion has been awarded funding to develop and manufacture the UK’s first optical atomic clock. This is exciting not only for Infleqtion but also more broadly for the development of quantum technologies in the UK.
Infleqtion have also announced a successful bid with defense company QinetiQ for Innovate UK’s Quantum End-to-end Compilation for Combinatorial Optimisation project, to use quantum algorithms to solve complex combinatorial optimisation problems in the logistics sector beyond the capabilities of classical computing.
Wood Centre for Innovation-based PicturaBio has been awarded Defence and Security Accelerator (DASA) funding through the Point of Care Diagnostics at the Front Line competition. The funding will support PicturaBio in developing a portable prototype of their AI-powered disease testing platform for use in military settings, where infectious diseases are a substantial threat.
Createc has been awarded a contract by Dounreay and Nuclear Decommissioning Authority to deliver an innovative twelve-month robotics and sensing programme, spanning security, planning, environmental and safety use cases. These will all be enabled by Spot, the robotic quadruped ‘dog’ from Boston Dynamics – the robot we are familiar with through its escapades down Oxford streets in 2021. Createc will support Dounreay by providing access to cutting-edge equipment and full time on-site technical resources.
Growth and expansion
Helio Display Materials has expanded its R&D laboratory space in the Wood Centre for Innovation to accommodate its rapid company growth. In just over a year since the company moved into the centre with a team of seven, it has grown to 17 people and has increased its lab space by 546 sq ft. With this growth, Helio moves into the next phase of product development.
Createc are expanding their partnership with Leica Geosystems, a global business based in Switzerland, and adding the Leica BLK2FLY to their sensor and robotic portfolio. This autonomous flying laser scanner has advanced obstacle avoidance and will allow them to capture accurate and comprehensive 3D data from the sky, extending their capabilities in remote surveying and monitoring.
Habitat Energy, in our Oxford Centre for Innovation, is expanding its capacities and reach in battery optimisation. It has signed a new framework agreement with Gresham House Energy Storage Fund plc (GRID) to extend its battery optimisation partnership to over 500MW and make it the single largest optimiser of batteries on GRID’s behalf. In addition, with Pulse Clean Energy, it has activated four UK batteries totaling 100MWh. This forms part of an innovative diesel-to-battery conversion programme designed to accelerate the country’s transition to a net zero energy system.
Along with these key developments in the UK, Habitat Energy has also marked a major milestone in its global expansion with over 1GW of contracted assets across Australia, the UK and the US, and has appointed a new CTO, Richard Gormley.
Welcoming new companies
The Wood Centre for Innovation welcomes newcomer Jack Fertility. The team at Jack Fertility are improving male fertility testing options, and boldly shifting the conversation about male fertility. Read more in our ‘Five Minutes’ with CEO Lily Elsner.
The Oxford Centre for Innovation also welcomes award-winning company CardMedic. We are looking forward to our ‘five minutes’ with CEO Dr Rachael Grimaldi and MD Tim Grimaldi to find out more about their work in overcoming communication barriers between healthcare staff and patients.
Networking and community
The Exit Right 2023 series of events has been a highlight of the past few months. Over the four events, we heard insights from founders who had successfully exited their businesses as well as M&A experts about planning an exit strategy. Speakers included founders based in our Wood Centre for Innovation, David Llewellyn from DJS Antibodies, acquired last year by AbbVie, and Matt Brown from Quorbit, acquired last year by UKG, as well as Andrew Luers from Oxford Centre for Innovation-based Habitat Energy, acquired by Quinnbrook Infrastructure Partners in 2021. If you were unable to attend the events, you can catch up and watch the recordings here.
Supported by The Oxford Trust and based in our Wood Centre for Innovation, Advanced Oxford, in conjunction with Elsevier, published the new Oxfordshire’s Innovation Engine 2023 report, assessing the growth of the region’s science and technology ecosystem over the last 10 years, the challenges ahead and putting forward six actionable recommendations to help Oxfordshire support the government’s ambition for the UK to be a scientific superpower by 2030. It also shines a light on gender disparity in the Oxfordshire innovation ecosystem in a companion report.
In June, representatives from various companies in our centres attended a ‘Women, STEM and Investment: Closing the Gender Gap’ event, hosted by Oxford Brookes University, which inspired a call to action to increase the participation of women as university spinout founders and as investors.
Inspiring the next generation of scientists
A central element of the mission of The Oxford Trust in encouraging the pursuit of science is its objective to inspire young people about science, technology, engineering and maths, which is realised through the programmes and activities of Science Oxford. So, it’s great have the support and companionship of companies in our centres with the same passion.
Habitat Energy have been a valuable partner in Science Oxford’s STEM Careers programme, and are again supporting the STEM Summer Experience for Year 11 to 13 students.
Quantum Dice in our Oxford Centre for Innovation will be hosting students this summer holiday in a Work Shadowing programme, in which students will have the opportunity to learn more about entrepreneurship, tour their quantum technology lab, and work with the team to create a science communication video or blog.
New research assistant at Human Centric Drug Discovery, Simranjeet Sidhu, is also passionate about encouraging other young women to enter STEM careers. She recently spoke to the BioIndustry Association about her motivations to work in STEM as part of the International Women in Engineering Day 2023 (watch the video here). Human Centric are also hosting an A-level student for a work experience, learning about work and life in a biotech startup.
Our innovation centres are filled with ground-breakers leading developments in technologies in their industries, so it’s fantastic to see when individuals are recognised for their achievements, like DJS Antibodies founders David Llewellyn and Joe Illingworth, who were featured in Endpoints News 20 next generation of biotech leaders.
As many enjoy a break over this summer holiday season, we look forward to celebrating more successes with you in the Autumn!
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