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  1. Training Course on Research Impacts

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    A two-day training course on research impacts was designed and delivered to a group of researchers in Turkey.

    Horizon 2020, the EU’s research programme, and national research schemes are placing more emphasis than ever on research impacts to justify investments in R&D. Research teams across the EU and beyond are commonly failing to address the requirement to define and quantify impacts in research proposals.

    To address this gap, Beta developed a training course on research impacts and delivered it for the first time to a group of researchers from the Middle East Technical University in Ankara, Turkey in late 2015. The two-day programme, delivered by Beta Director Jayne Evans, was attended by 30 academics and contained the following elements:

    • Defining and quantifying research impacts;
    • Key Exploitable Results;
    • Developing dissemination plans to deliver impact;
    • Exploitation and economic impacts;
    • Wider impacts and engaging with policy makers;
    • How to measure and evaluate impacts.

    The course also included an insight into best practice and tips for success on how to achieve the highest scores in a competitive bidding environment.

    Beta delivered the course as part of the Newton Fund Capacity Building Programme on behalf of the British Council.

  2. University Business Plan Development

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    The development of an overarching business plan to focus a UK university’s research portfolio in a way that integrates industry and university research objectives

    Brunel University London has been successful in attracting significant research funding in support of its world class research in liquid metal engineering. The portfolio of projects, including EPSRC and Innovate UK funding, covers fundamental science through to industrial research activities. The university and industry have both committed significant funds, in partnership with public sector grants, and includes the establishment of significant UK facilities at the Uxbridge site.

    In 2015, Beta was commissioned to develop a business plan using our expertise and experience from establishing national centres of excellence, such as Cenex, together with our automotive and metals expertise. Combining these three capabilities enabled the development of an overarching business plan for the Brunel Centre for Advanced Solidification Technology (BCAST).

    The assignment led to developing a comprehensive business plan that addressed the following:

    • BCAST overview;
    • Strategic context;
    • Research excellence;
    • Industrial engagement;
    • Partnering opportunities;
    • Facilities and market offering;
    • Budget and financial projections;
    • Risk assessment;
    • Management structure;
    • Communications and marketing;
    • Monitoring and evaluation.

    The business plan outlined a number of recommendations and a supporting timeline and was well received by the client.

  3. EU PiG – a Europe-wide project to further develop a sustainable European pig industry

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    The European Union (EU) is the world’s second biggest producer of pig meat, and is the market’s largest exporter.  To maintain an economically viable and sustainable pig industry, innovation is a key factor.

    EU PiG is a novel four-year €2m project launched in November 2016 that specifically aims to improve the connection between producers and the latest science, husbandry techniques, and technologies from within their industry, via fellow producers, academics and advisors.

    The consortium consists of 19 organisations from all across Europe, representing 13 Member States, that together accounted for 92% of the EU’s pig meat production and 89% of the EU’s pig herd in 2014. The project is led by the UK Agriculture and Horticulture Development Board (AHDB) and Beta will have a lead role in supporting dissemination activities over the next four years.

    The project will look at health management, precision production, animal welfare, and meat quality issues, and will see tools created and practical guidance available for all parts of the industry. Innovative best practice combined with scientific knowledge will be identified and shared via a comprehensive website explaining in detail the project objectives and how to get involved.

    Funded by the European Commission’s research and development programme, ‘Horizon 2020’, the project will also link with the European Innovation Partnership (EIP-AGRI) which works to foster competitive and sustainable farming and forestry that ‘achieves more and better from less’.

    EU Logo for EU PIG 1

     

  4. Creating Impact from Research

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    Beta, one of 14 partners in the DynaHEALTH collaborative research project, is responsible for translating research results into clinical practice through the effective dissemination and exploitation of results, thus creating impact. DynaHEALTH is a European Horizon 2020 funded research project focused on healthy and active ageing by reducing the risks of obesity and type 2 diabetes, and promoting social interaction and a longer working life. These conditions are increasing with alarming prevalence among ageing populations across the European Union, posing a severe economic burden on healthcare systems.

    The project aims to have a significant impact on healthy and active ageing by developing a model which will predict health outcomes in later life related to type 2 diabetes and obesity. This will allow healthcare professionals to provide the most appropriate preventative healthcare strategies throughout a person’s life. The impacts associated with this include:

    • Optimising the health and cognitive function of EU citizens as they age, promoting social functioning and workability;
    • Developing new technologies for targeted disease prevention and the development of clinical interventions;
    • Improved evidence-based policy recommendations for strategies to improve healthy and active ageing;
    • Contributing to Europe-wide economic development.

    Impact Management Plan

    Beta is supporting the whole consortium to deliver these impacts through the development of a comprehensive ‘Impact Management Plan’. The implementation of the plan ensures that communication and dissemination activities are focused and tailored to the key stakeholder groups. It also ensures that exploitation activities allow key results to be successfully exploited.

    Working with the consortium, Beta has achieved the following to date:

    • Built a contact database of end users including policymakers, healthcare professionals and organisations representing patients;
    • Developed key messages and created marketing material for use with end users;
    • Promoted research and news via social media and the website;
    • Organised events to promote the project.

    It is very important to engage with the end users of the research results at the earliest possible stage. With this in mind, Beta recently hosted a meeting with external policymakers and healthcare professionals from the South Yorkshire region.

    The purpose of the meeting was to raise awareness of the DynaHEALTH project at a local level. It also enabled us to better understand what is important to policy makers and healthcare professionals, in terms of disseminating research results in order to influence future policies. The event was well-attended and well-received, with the main discussion enabling bi-directional feedback, and centered around how to deliver messages in line with what the group want to receive.

    As part of our plan to maximise the impact of the research, we will continue to develop this local network. We also hope to replicate in other countries as the project progresses.

    You can find out more about DynaHEALTH by visiting the project website – www.dynahealth.eu.

    DH and EU logo

  5. Doncaster Leadership and Entrepreneurship Academy

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    Supporting the growth of local businesses.

    Beta joined forces with Doncaster Chamber of Commerce and Industry and Doncaster Metropolitan Borough Council in the ‘Doncaster Leadership and Entrepreneurship Academy’ project to increase the productivity of small firms in Doncaster, by creating and delivering an innovative programme to upskill and enhance the leadership and entrepreneurship capabilities of business leaders.

    Through a novel approach to public/private collaboration and the engagement of some of Doncaster’s large employers, the project team developed a 12 month programme derived from European best practice and expert local knowledge. The four-day leadership and entrepreneurship series was delivered, in conjunction with The Consultancy Academy, to three cohorts of small firms in one-day modules. The programme focused on peer-to-peer learning, exposing participants to real life examples of strategies and growth plans, and self-evaluation techniques. This allowed them to reflect on their own businesses more effectively. Many modules were held at the premises of large employers and featured ‘meet the boss’ presentations, which enabled leaders of the large companies to share their insights and experiences. The project demonstrates how effectively large firms can contribute to the growth and sustainability of small firms in their local area.

    The project ended with a celebration event where delegates were able to network with their peers and were also presented with a certificate of attendance. Feedback from programme participants was very positive.

    “The programme enabled participants to learn from other small business owners by sharing experiences and bouncing ideas around. Taking time away from their businesses allowed them the freedom to develop their goals and take their ambitions to the next level. Results included creating a vision and strategy, writing and developing business plans, having a greater understanding of communication styles and the impact of that on staff and customers, and developing relationships with larger businesses with one leading to the establishment of a new partnership.”

    Richard Wrigley, Managing Director of Beta Technology

    The project was funded by the UK Commission for Employment and Skills, and was one of only eight selected throughout the UK.  Each project represented a joint investment with UKCES, with organisations investing in cash, in-kind, or both, alongside a maximum government contribution of £200,000 per project. The total government contribution is £1.3 million.

  6. The Charles Hatchett Award

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    Advancing our knowledge of niobium and its alloys

    Beta facilitates and manages the award process for this prestigious accolade on behalf of its sponsor, Brazilian mining company Companhia Brasileira de Metalurgia e Mineração (CBMM). Having been involved since its inception over 30 years ago, Beta has developed the procedures for identifying and selecting the best published research paper on the science and technology of niobium and its alloys. The selection is made by a panel of international experts and is ratified by the UK’s Institute of Materials, Minerals and Mining (IOM3).

    The annual Award brings together a network of leading metallurgists from around the world and the activity highlights trends in research and the end use application of niobium alloys. Over the past five years Beta has introduced two new aspects on behalf of the client. A Lifetime Achievement Award was initiated in 2008 to recognise long-term commitment to niobium metallurgy and the Charles Hatchett Award seminars. Held adjacent to the annual prize-winning ceremonies in London, the subject of each seminar is built around each year’s winning paper. A video, produced by Beta, about the 2016 seminar can be viewed here. The presentations from the seminar are also available to view here.

    CBMM is the world’s premier supplier of niobium and niobium technology. They have sponsored the Award since its inception with the objective of promoting niobium and its applications. The most important use of niobium is as an alloying element to strengthen steel, with main applications in the oil and gas, automotive and structural sectors.

    CHT10285_239Beta team at the Charles Hatchett 2016 Seminar.

  7. Niobium Technology Video Library

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    Collection of videos to disseminate the broad application of niobium and niobium alloys

    Beta has developed and launched a website to host a series of videos about the science and technology of niobium and its application in a number of industries including mining and oil and gas. The videos were produced by Beta on behalf of Companhia Brasileira de Metalurgia e Mineração (CBMM), the world’s leading supplier of niobium and niobium technology.

    The video collection includes:

    • Niobium Solar-charged Electric Cargo Motorcycle;
    • Sheffield’s Metallurgical Masters;
    • Niobium Catalysts;
    • Niobium in Stainless Steels;
    • Wear Resistant Alloys for the Mining and Processing Industries;
    • Ultra Sour Service, Low Manganese Linepipe Steels.

    To view or download the videos visit the Beta Metallurgy website.

  8. Cenex

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    Establishing a national Centre of Excellence for Low Carbon and Fuel Cell Technologies

    The UK government’s former Department of Trade and Industry (now BIS – Department for Business Innovation and Skills) wanted to establish a low carbon centre of excellence to support the growth of the UK automotive sector.

    Beta was commissioned to undertake a feasibility study to support this concept, which recommended a national centre providing a focus for innovation, skills and the development of new technologies.

    Following the feasibility phase, Beta brought together a team of experts to implement the creation of the centre by developing a business plan, setting up the operating systems and recruiting a CEO.

    Further support from Beta has also helped the centre (Cenex), to establish a sustainable foundation for future growth by providing business advice, access to networks and knowledge of public funding opportunities.

  9. Technology Developer Accelerator Programme

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    Impact assessment of APC automotive technology pilot

    Beta was commissioned in 2015 to undertake an independent review of an innovative pilot programme initiated by the Advanced Propulsion Centre (APC). The Technology Developer Accelerator Programme (TDAP) was aimed at small and medium sized technology developers. The programme supported these businesses to accelerate the uptake of low carbon technologies they had developed into commercial automotive applications.

    Beta’s review evaluated how the programme was shaping the businesses and the economic impact that could be realised in the next five to ten years. Beta experts observed the review process and reviewed the direct impacts of the programme on the businesses in areas such as turnover, employment, IP generated and protected and markets identified. The evaluation indicated that there was a positive impact on all the businesses that participated, with some indicating that their development process has been accelerated by up to 6 to 18 months.

    The findings from Beta’s evaluation have been used to help shape future programmes.

     

  10. European Project Technical Advisors

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    Technical experts in advanced materials and production supporting European research projects

    During the period March 2012 to September 2016, Beta provided Project Technical Advisors (PTAs) to the European Commission. The PTAs were assigned to projects funded by the nanosciences, nanotechnologies, materials and new production technologies (NMP) theme of the European Seventh Framework Programme for research and innovation. They provided supplementary technical expertise to the European Commission and monitored the progress of the research projects. They also provided advice to projects on reporting, contractual issues, project management and exploitation. All the PTAs had direct experience of European collaborative research, either as previous participants in projects or as evaluators of proposals.

    Initially providing the European Commission with 40 PTAs, this network expanded to 63 experts from 16 different European countries. A total of 261 NMP projects had a Beta PTA assigned to them, with a total investment of 1.117 billion euros.

    PTA Infographic

    The pool of PTAs spanned a broad spectrum of technology areas including chemistry, manufacturing engineering, materials science, nanotechnologies, semi-conductor technologies and smart coatings. The PTAs provided projects with a valuable resource by combining their technical knowledge with project management experience and contributed significantly to the success of the projects they were assigned to.

    “The PTA role combined both a monitoring and a mentoring role for projects. In the monitoring role, the PTA advised the European Commission Project Officers on the performance of the collaborative project and its compliance with various obligations while in the mentoring role, the PTA provided advice and support to the project team. The role was therefore quite complex and depended critically on developing good relationships with the project and with European Commission officials, often acting as the interface between them. With the exploitation of project results being an increasing focus in European funding, the assistance that the PTA provided in encouraging and facilitating appropriate planning was often crucial. Successful projects also required careful project management, particularly ones with many partners spread over several countries, and the monitoring activity was an important component of ensuring that each project was able to maximise its impact.”

    Richard Ball, Associate