The National Physical Laboratory (NPL) is calling for businesses to apply for support through its new Technology Innovation Fund (TIF).
According to the NPL, the TIF is designed to help companies benefit from measurement to quickly take ideas to market with minimised business risk. It believes that it can achieve this by providing a successful mix of research-and-development expertise with proven commercial insight.
The new fund is inspired by the Measurement for Innovators (MFI) programme. This was developed in response to a government innovation report and introduced businesses to the expertise available at the NPL for the first time. It is said to have provided participants with business benefits worth almost £10m through more than 400 secondments, consultancies and joint industry projects over a five-year period.
The TIF offers UK businesses three different levels of support to service a range of measurement issues. The first engagement with NPL staff is through individual one-to-one surgeries.
The new programme can also offer more detailed support through subsidised consultancies to address more complex business issues. Interested companies identify their issue with the NPL before applying online and agreeing objectives. Once agreed, the consultancy work lasts for up to 10 days, culminating in a report delivered by the NPL.
The final level of support is through subscription-based research clubs in which businesses pool resources to meet collective challenges. Companies pay a joining fee, which contributes to research time in areas dictated by the club members. Research clubs are available in advanced manufacturing, energy, sustainability, healthcare, defence and security and digital economy.
Jenny Elshorst head of knowledge services at the NPL, said: ‘We have developed the TIF to allow businesses to benefit from our extensive measurement expertise and take managed business risks that allow them to successfully innovate.
‘The burden of investing in new products and ideas is lessened through a subsidised service that outsources to the NPL’s experts in science and technology.’