Working with industry and academia

Overview

PACT has been setup to support both industrial and academic R&D and operates an open access policy for all users.

Pilot-scale development and technology demonstration trails are often very important to provide the necessary investor confidence in the technology to enable its further development and commercialisation. However, access costs for pilot-scale facilities are often prohibitive to smaller companies and universities research groups which in turn impacts on the speed of technology development and the number of technologies that are brought to market. PACT offers facilities at an industrially relevant scale to provide the necessary investor confidence and by consolidating facilities and introducing the shared access policy for industrial and academic users it is able to maximise the utilisation of the resources and provide services in a cost effective manner. Crucially, by consolidating the wide range of state-of-the-art pilot-scale, research and analytical facilities and the leading academic expertise it offers companies and researchers unparalleled comprehensive research capability and support for technology development. 

SME's

PACT is dedicated to supporting SMEs. It offers a significantly reduced rate for contract research compared to normal commercial rates. SMEs may require more expert support than large companies in designing experimental programmes and interpreting results and often rely on buying in the expertise. PACT offers comprehensive technical consultancy to support smaller companies and also assists companies in seeking funding to support RD&D activities in taking their products and technologies to market. These measures are designed to benefit SMEs and support their growth and development in the UK, but are also there to encourage knowledge exchange and collaboration with academia with greater potential for knowledge transfer and enhanced impact of public funding.

Large industry

Large industry can benefit from the comprehensive pool of state-of-the-art pilot-scale and supporting analytical equipment. Large companies can often not justify funding and maintaining such development facilities for their sole use and providing access to external companies might be subject to competitive barriers. As a result many international companies are forced to rationalise their R&D activities which often results in research consolidation outside the UK. This can impact negatively on the R&D output, skills base and job opportunities in the UK. PACT facilities are independent of commercial interests and observe strict commercial confidentiality enabling PACT to work with a range of companies. The shared access arrangements lower overall costs. This combined with the extensive in-house expertise across the partner universities (and the UKCCSRC) provides a cost effective route for technology development, with a view to encouraging companies to take on a wider scope of research programmes. It also potentially encourages international companies to move R&D activities to the UK.

Academic users

Academic users benefit from access to a much wider pool of equipment (and in particular pilot scale equipment) than any single instruction could support. The collective capability presented by PACT will enable a significantly enhancement in the volume and quality of research that can be undertaken in the UK and thus increase international research standing of the HE institutions and their competitiveness in attracting funding as well as expertise, including attracting students and researchers to establish the necessary skills base to support industrial expansion. Crucially, the cost-effective access to pilot scale facilities bridges the gap between lab-scale and large industrial facilities (pilot/demo) and provide a pathway for UK academia to develop and demonstrate promising technologies at an industrially-relevant scale enhancing opportunities for commercialisation and spinā??outs. PACT aims to support such activities and future companies in realising their commercial goal.

Networking, collaboration and Knowledge exchange transfer

One of the goals of PACT is to significantly increase collaborations within the academic community and between academia and industry to bring about a step change in knowledge exchange and technology transfer and thus significantly enhance research and technology outputs. Insights into research activities and needs provides crucial R&D intelligence and PACT is in a unique position to create a network between industrial and academic stakeholders and will aim to apply this position to benefit its users within the necessary constraints of confidentiality associated with both industrial and academic R&D. it will, for instance, help creating complementary consortia to enhance competitiveness and readiness to access RD&D funding.

Another key aspect of the R&D intelligence is catalysing commercialisation pathways. Many SMEs as well as university researcher groups can often struggle to identify and engage potential buyers/partners for their technologies. PACT will be in the position to identify such opportunities and potentially create links to technology user companies to catalyse the uptake and exploitation of the technology.

End-user companies will also benefiting from the informed intelligence about a wider range of new potential technologies which have been demonstrated at pilot-sale. This will enable the funnelling of technologies to OEMs and other users who have the capability to take on and commercialise promising innovations.