Businesses in the north west of the UK could soon benefit from work undertaken by the North West Laser Engineering Consortium (NWLEC), following a £882,000 grant from the Northwest European Regional Development Fund (ERDF).
The NWLEC, a joint venture between Liverpool University and Manchester University, was set up in 2005 to research laser capabilities in the field of micro and nanotechnology. While NWLEC claims that there is evidence of interest in the technology, its application in an industrial context remains unproven.
The grant is intended to overcome this by speeding up the results of research into commercial products, particularly in the field of advanced engineering. The NWLEC hopes that this will allow it to assess benefits and gain feedback on potential improvements to their research.
To achieve this, facilitators and technical translators at the NWLEC will work alongside companies and act as a knowledge base to utilise the technology.
John Flamson, director of strategic partnerships and development at Liverpool University, said: ‘This new project will help us to translate cutting-edge laser technologies to the local business base, strengthening university-industry collaborations and adding value to the university’s considerable expertise in this area. We are delighted that our collaboration with Manchester University can continue to build the advanced engineering sector of the north west.’
Prof Lin Li, director of the Laser Processing Research Centre at Manchester University, added: ‘This is an exciting opportunity for the NWLEC to capitalise upon many years of basic scientific research in laser processing for commercial applications and practical implementation.
‘It is a challenge for us, as the nature of knowledge transfer is quite different than with normal academic research activities, although in the past we have worked with many UK companies in laser processing research and development. This new project will undoubtedly take the NWLEC into a different dimension.’