Commercialisation partnership

The National Physical Laboratory and Surrey University are to collaborate on the delivery of a £10m programme to develop three key areas of technology set to benefit the UK economy.


The National Physical Laboratory (NPL) and Surrey University are to collaborate on the delivery of a £10m programme to develop three key areas of technology set to benefit the UK economy.



The three-year partnership aims to turn university research into viable commercial platforms in the areas of communications and signal processing, next-generation materials and nanotechnology and photonics.


In the field of photonics and nanotechnology, Dr David Cox will be working on generating a range of ultra-miniature nanotechnology devices to be used as ‘sniffer’ sensors able to detect explosives or drugs.


The university will also work alongside NPL to develop precise time signals to be used on new satellite systems.


The collaboration is being funded through a £4m knowledge transfer account (KTA) from the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC), with a £6m investment from industrial partners and Surrey University.


Prof Christopher Snowden, vice-chancellor of Surrey University, said: ‘This award affirms Surrey’s track record as a leading university for innovation and commercialisation. The KTA represents a fantastic opportunity to expand the already-successful partnerships developed by the university and, most importantly, it will be of great benefit in helping create business opportunities in these difficult times.


‘Surrey developed the laser diode that is used in CD and DVD players worldwide and NPL has also had a fantastic track record of transferring technology to industry. This major award will enable Surrey and NPL to work together to create more opportunities of this kind,’ he added.


Future plans for the partnership include increasing support and facilities needed by high-technology start-up companies, expanding the expertise in Surrey’s satellite and space engineering facilities and focusing on innovation for the healthcare market.