Business Incubation Centre bridges gap between science and industry

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Cern Technology has welcomed the first company to join the Business Incubation Centre (STFC CERN BIC), which offers UK businesses access to the expertise of the Science and Technology Facilities Council (STFC) and Cern Technology.

The company, Croft Additive Manufacturing, is a developer of 3D printing technology to produce metal filters applicable to industries including the aerospace, automotive and energy sectors. This new initiative aims to bridge the gap between science and industry.

Located at STFC’s Daresbury Laboratory, next to the Cockcroft Institute and within the Sci-Tech Daresbury campus in Cheshire, the STFC CERN BIC will nurture up to ten companies over the next two years with a support package. In addition to access to Cern’s technologies, expertise and intellectual property, this package includes up to £40k funding, a dedicated STFC business champion and 40 hours of free access to technical expertise and facilities across STFC. It also includes networking and collaborative opportunities with more than 100 other high-tech businesses and entrepreneurs co-locating at Sci-Tech Daresbury, which is now an established Enterprise Zone, as well as with the universities of Lancaster, Liverpool and Manchester through the Cockcroft Institute.

Dr Sergio Bertolucci, director of research and scientific computing at Cern, said: ‘The BIC builds a bridge between our technical experts and entrepreneurs in the UK.’ Medicine, telecommunications, IT and security are some of the sectors where inventive new businesses can make an impact using technologies from STFC and Cern. These include particle accelerators, high performance computing, superconductors and cryogenics.

STFC has a long-standing relationship with Cern and manages the UK’s membership of this international science facility. Professor John Womersley, chief executive at STFC, said: ‘UK companies already secure more than £15m each year in contracts with Cern, and this new initiative provides further potential to generate major economic and societal rewards for the UK economy, particularly in terms of innovation, job creation and economic growth. Sci-Tech Daresbury is a hotbed of expertise and facilities teamed with the best business and networking opportunities. It is therefore the ideal home for the STFC CERN BIC and for Croft Additive Manufacturing to turn the significant commercial potential of its product into market reality.’

Neil Burns, director at Croft Additive Manufacturing, said: ‘The successful application of AM techniques in filter manufacturing demonstrates the potential wider industry benefits of AM production across multiple sectors. Being selected as the first incubatee at the STFC CERN BIC allows us access to important technical, financial, and business support, as well as a number of valuable innovation networks, all of which will fit together to play a key role in our success.’