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Innovation centre set to boost industrial engagement with sensor and imaging systems

Posted 25 April 2013 · Add Comment

The University of Glasgow has received funding to create a world-leading sensor and imaging systems centre, which will offer major benefits to the Scottish economy.

The Scottish Funding Council (SFC) has pledged £10 million over the next five years to support the Innovation Centre – Sensor and Imaging Systems (IC-SIS), which will engage in industrially collaborative projects to develop new technologies and form links with industry to bring innovative products to market.

Eleven other Scottish universities and 22 industry partners are supporting IC-SIS from the outset.

The IC-SIS is one of three innovation centres officially announced by First Minister of Scotland Alex Salmond MSP at an event at the South Glasgow Hospitals Campus. The others are the University of Glasgow’s Stratified Medicine Scotland Innovation Centre and the University of Edinburgh’s Digital Health and Care Innovation Centre.

IC-SIS will deliver 150 collaborative research and development projects and bring new products to market over the course of its initial funding period. Economic projections suggest an investment of £10 million from SFC will encourage industry to invest in innovation; the work of the centre could add between £374 million and £596 milliion to the Scottish economy.

Sensor systems play an increasingly ubiquitous role in modern life. Mass-produced sensors are found in every modern automobile, for example, and in many mobile electronic devices for purposes such as noise cancellation and navigation. Estimates place the number of wireless-connected devices currently in use around the world at 10 billion, with projections suggesting the number will reach 50 billion within 10 years.

Specialist high-value sensors and imaging systems are routinely used in scientific equipment oil and gas recovery, machine tools, and environmental monitoring. In medical equipment, imaging sensors can facilitate early medical interventions by screening for disease even before symptoms become apparent.

IC-SIS will build on the University of Glasgow’s existing expertise in the field, and will advance the successful work of the Scottish Sensor Systems Centre (S3C), a collaborative programme funded by SFC and led by the Universities of Glasgow and Aberdeen, to support small-scale collaborative projects between academia and industry in sensors and sensor systems.

Professor Steve Beaumont, vice-principal research and enterprise at the university, said: “Scotland has a very strong high-tech sector in areas such as aerospace, energy and biotechnology, all of which rely on advanced sensing, sensor systems and processing to develop new products and secure their economic growth.

“Over the last 15 years the complexity of sensor systems has grown, creating challenges for traditional product development models, but the potential to overcome these problems by integrating Scotland’s research base with the sensor industry is remarkably good. Our universities and research institutes have international reputations for conducting high-quality research and IC-SIS will have the scale required to deliver a wide range of research projects.

“Our aim is for IC-SIS to become the predominant source of expertise in sensor and imaging system research and development in Scotland and beyond. We’ve already made inroads into partnerships with a number of public and private organisations who have identified projects which would benefit from input from the IC-SIS.”

IC-SIS has received industrial support from large multinationals including Freescale, Texas Instruments, IBM, Selex ES, ST Microelectronics, Thales Optronics, BAE Systems, BP, and FMC Technologies. Other confirmed industry partners include Scottish and Southern Energy, and Scottish Water, as well as globally leading companies Optos and Toshiba Medical.

 

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