Innovate UK – Our work to INVOLVE

Sponsor: Innovate UK

Innovate UK EDGE has been helping Cubi-Tech Pharmaceuticals for more than three years

Our aim is to involve people and organisations from every part of the UK to ensure all can share in the benefits of innovation.

Innovate UK Knowledge Transfer Network (KTN)

Innovate UK KTN drives innovation that shapes the future and creates lasting economic impact by connecting ideas, people and communities together.

KTN accelerates ambitious research and ideas into real-world solutions by connecting sectors, disciplines, geographical areas and supply chains. Its expertise is broad and substantial, with more than 200 staff across the UK, reaching nearly 40,000 organisations.

KTN works in close partnership with the wider Innovate UK family to help scope new funding competitions and create new communities by:

  • linking manufacturers to technologies they didn’t know existed to solve an issue or improve productivity
  • unlocking the value of new cutting-edge research or products by linking to industry partners and market understanding
  • identifying new opportunities, challenges or gaps then building communities to exploit them
  • helping to embed new knowledge into a business

KTN teams in chemistry, industrial biotechnology (IB), and materials and manufacturing work in partnership with Innovate UK’s Manufacturing and Materials team.

Innovate UK EDGE

Innovate UK EDGE provides bespoke support for innovative manufacturing and materials companies, helping them to develop growth-orientated commercial strategies.

EDGE complements Innovate UK’s project funding with intensive, specialist-led support for ambitious companies. Each high-potential, innovative business in the EDGE portfolio benefits from the objective view of a dedicated, local innovation and growth specialist.

An EDGE specialist works closely with a business’ leadership to identify the most effective ways to accelerate growth. EDGE specialists can draw on resources such as EDGE programmes, events, innovation and international networks, and their domain expert colleagues. For some businesses, EDGE resources, such as the investment readiness programme ‘Pitchfest’ and the Global Business Innovation Programme, will also be a gateway to its bespoke, specialist-led support.

An initial engagement with EDGE, usually initiated via a thorough audit of challenges and opportunities, typically results in targeted action in one of the following areas:

  • exploiting innovation – EDGE expertise and networks help businesses protect and harness IP, improve innovation management and access the innovation ecosystem globally
  • sourcing funding and finance – with EDGE help, businesses can find the best option and get investment ready to propel their growth
  • entering new markets – EDGE provides connections and guidance for ambitious businesses to expand into vertical and international markets and achieve scale.

CASE STUDY: Cubi-Tech Pharmaceuticals

Innovate UK EDGE has been helping Cubi-Tech for more than three years. This assistance began with help in reclaiming more than £200,000 in R&D tax credits, followed by assistance to develop the strategy to transform the business into a hot-melt extrusion (HME) pharmaceutical manufacturer.

In 2020, Cubi-Tech Pharmaceuticals protected its intellectual property around a novel HME manufacturing process with help from Innovate UK EDGE.

Its technology enables continuous production of 3D-printed tablets and formulations in varying dosages, combining active pharmaceutical ingredients with polymers to mask
any unpleasant taste. Using HME
for medicinal products cuts both manufacturing time and cost of production by 50%, giving the company a significant advantage in the market.

CEO and founder, Saumil Bhatt, says; “Our Innovate UK EDGE specialist, Valerie Pondaven, introduced me to the IP audit just at the right time. We reviewed our patents and then we filed for another three in May, so that’s six patents in all.”

Turnover is now at £1.5m. In five years, I expect it to rise to £10m or more.”

The Knowledge Transfer Partnership (KTP) scheme

This scheme links businesses with academic or research organisations and graduates in the UK to support innovation and growth.

KTP matches a business with the latest academic thinking. The result is the delivery of a specific, strategic innovation project through a knowledge-based partnership. With more than 800 live projects spread across almost every sector, KTP is a truly national programme.

KTP is funded by UKRI through Innovate UK with the support of co-funders including the Scottish Funding Council, Welsh Government, Invest Northern Ireland, Department for Environment Food & Rural Affairs and Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy.

Diversity and Inclusion

Supporting people from a variety of backgrounds and walks of life to innovate and succeed in business will improve the UK economy.

Diversity is proven to lead to economic growth and Innovate UK is committed to encouraging diversity and inclusion in business innovation. From an ethical and economic standpoint, it is imperative to provide the support and resources needed for the best and most talented innovators from a diverse range of backgrounds to succeed.

We commissioned a report in July 2020 outlining the barriers, challenges, opportunities and support needed for minority ethnic groups and disabled people to participate in business innovation. To tackle under-representation in business innovation we must look closely at our structures, processes and operations.

Two diversity and inclusion campaigns already having a significant impact are Women in Innovation, our first diversity and inclusion campaign, which aims to get more women innovating in business in a variety of areas, and Young Innovators, a partnership between Innovate UK and the Prince’s Trust which supports young people aged between 18 and 30 to develop their innovative business ideas.

By 2023, the Young Innovators programme will award up to 100 young people from diverse backgrounds with a £5,000 grant, one-on-one business coaching and an allowance to cover living costs.