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These case studies highlight researchers fostering partnerships with business and industry to achieve economic and societal impact. Researchers working in partnership with business will help ensure that we generate innovation and commercialisation of ideas for growth.

Professor Martin Bache: from the University of Swansea emphasises the importance of thinking about the knowledge exchange and impact that occurs from the flow of people from research into industry and vice versa. An important route to commercial impact has also been his close working with Rolls Royce.

Ian Lazarus: at the STFC Daresbury Laboratory provides technical and engineering support to nuclear physicists. However, the work of him and his colleagues at the Nuclear Physics Group (NPG) has potential impact beyond his field and applications to the medical and security industries. Further collaborations have resulted from networking which means a new technology in development may help improve future diagnosis of cancer.

Professor Nick Jennings: is from the University of Southampton and has led an award winning project with BAE Systems which has generated a number of patents and technologies. Success has been due to the constant and regular cooperation and communication with the users of research to ensure research outputs were applied effectively and to steer the direction of the research.

Professor Lucio Piccirillo: from the University of Manchester highlights how talking to people outside of his own discipline of radioastronomy has led to many impact opportunities. He encourages other researchers to talk to researchers outside their field when completing their Pathways to Impact and highlights the value of building up a network of contacts.

Professor Rhodri Williams: from the University of Swansea changed the direction of his research from the rheology of industrial engineering fluids to rheology of blood coagulation through a chance meeting. As a result, Swansea is now seen as a world-leading centre in this field and him and his colleagues have two spin-out two companies, and are having a clinical impact in local hospitals. He now regularly engages with a wide variety of users including the general public, as the feedback he receives from them has been invaluable to his research.

Professor Nick Tyler: from University College London researches how people interact with the environment which has led him to set up the Pedestrian Accessibility and Movement Environment Laboratory (PAMELA). To maximise the impact of his research he has engaged with users and the public which has led to a collaboration with Thameslink2000 train link in London which has had national impact for train design in the UK.

Professor Dek Woolfson: Professor Dek Woolfson from the University of Bristol advises against writing the pathways to impact at the end of the grant proposal. He suggests populating it with headings and sub headings for each area where there is a potential impact. Professor Woolfson’s impact activities are very much focussed on building the research capacity of the next generation, helping to lay the foundations for better engineering of biology and engagement with the public. He believes that public engagement encourages an understanding of his science from different perspectives, which in turn has a positive impact on his own research.

Dr Stephen Cavers: Dr Steven Cavers at the NERC centre for Ecology and Hydrology led a project studying the process of evolution in pine trees native to the UK, which aims to help commercial growers produce stronger, more resilient varieties of pine trees. Dr Cavers has established contacts with Forest Research, the Forestry Commission’s research arm, which communicates with a wide national network of tree planters to understand what research stakeholders consider important; he has also implemented a skills development plan to improve the communication skills of the project researchers and to proactively create opportunities to interact with end users.

Professor Davey Jones: Professor Davey Jones’ project together with the British Antarctic Survey (BAS) investigated the greening up of the Antarctic; they looked at the relative efficacy of Antarctic hairgrass at absorbing organic nitrogen from the soil compared to the mosses that grow alongside it. Professor Jones initially struggled to identify users for the pathways to impact but realised that climate change policy makers would benefit from the research. Professor Jones arranged for a post-doc student to be seconded to the UK Polar Regions Unit in the Foreign and Commonwealth Office for two weeks each, in years one and three of the project to build links and to understand policy makers needs for research and knowledge exchange.

John Methven: Mr John Methven’s project at the University of Reading aims to improve the reliability of weather predictions in the tropics. Mr Methven believes that building the time commitment of an experienced KE facilitator into the proposal helps to make the delivery of impact activities more efficient and effective. Mr Methven has found that thinking about pathways to impact has changed the way in which his research is designed and helps him to think about how to communicate with stakeholders and to a wider audience. As a result, the MET Office and the European Centre for Medium-Range Weather Forecasting are now official project partners, speeding up the utilization of the new theory to improve weather forecasting models in the tropics.

Professor Alan Smith: Professor Alan Smith, Head of the department of Space and Climate Physics at the University College London’s Mullard Space Science Laboratory (MSSL) aims to create an environment where his work studying the sun and processing huge amounts of data can be applied in a variety of industries. Professor Smith recognises that opportunities for interaction with industry come about in many ways and he spends a lot of his time engaging with industry and he also provides a broad training programme in systems engineering.

Professor William Gaver: Professor Gaver leads a multi-disciplinary design studio that brings together designers and specialists in technology, sociology, and human-computer interaction (HCI). This eclectic mix means that over the years Professor Gaver has held grants from EPSRC, ESRC, and AHRC and has worked on cross-Council programmes such as New Dynamics of Ageing and the Energy Programme.

Dr Michael Pocock and Dr Darren Evans: Dr Pocock, and his colleague Dr Darren Evans are responsible for a highly successful citizen science project, the Conker Tree Science Project, supported by the NERC. The project involves thousands of people around the country; has spawned its own smartphone app (the LeafWatch app), which reached number 1 on iTunes education downloads; and has generated masses of national and regional TV and radio coverage.

Professor Martin Siegert: Professor Martin Siegert, Science Programme Director at the Sub-glacial Lake Ellsworth Consortium explains that economic exploitation of the Antarctic is forbidden under the international Antarctic Treaty, yet the project has created unexpected opportunities for potential economic impact. The team have had to find new design and technological solutions to manufacture large drilling equipment which can be packed into shipping containers for safe transportation to the Antarctic. They have also had to solve the complex engineering problem of how to capture the lakebed sediment and water sample and get it back to the surface without contamination to the sample or the lake itself.

Dr Maggie Aderin-Pocock: Dr Maggie Aderin-Pocock a senior space scientist at UCL has become a well-known broadcast commentator for space-related news making documentaries on space science for several channels. “My science communication does have an impact on the work I do, especially if I have to drop everything for a TV interview; but the benefits are multiple,” she says. “Having someone with a media profile can be good for the company image. But there are also the transferable skills: the ability to take fairly complex ideas and break them down into something straightforward and communicate it to different levels of understanding is invaluable”.

Dr Paula Chadwick: Dr Paula Chadwick, a gamma ray astronomer at Durham University understands that people are interested in black holes and mysterious cosmic particles. Along with other particle astrophysicists around the UK, she is involved with a national project called CORUS, which aims to place cosmic ray detectors in schools.

Professor Graham Moore: New varieties of wheat will help to ensure there is enough food as the global population continues to grow. It was argued there was a breakdown in the pipeline going from fundamental science to exploiting this research, Professor Moore has devised a plan to repair this pipeline. By involving breeders at an early stage of programme development and including them at each stage of the grant process, Professor Graham Moore from the John Innes Centre helped ensure the outputs would be relevant to them.

Professor Martin Gallagher: Professor Martin Gallagher, from the Centre for Atmospheric Science (CAS) at the University of Manchester explained that on a small project it can be difficult to define who the beneficiaries will be. Having to come up with a Pathways to Impact has certainly made him think about impact activities that he would previously perhaps not have considered.”

Professor Andy Parker: Find your unique selling point, that fascinating reason why you do your research, and find ways of conveying that enthusiasm to others. “Yes, spin-off companies are going to have an economic impact on society, but this pales into insignificance when compared with the economic impact that is generated by inspiring people to become scientists.”

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