Discussions at the first meeting of the N8 IIF in February 2012, focussing on Advanced Materials, generated twenty-five new industry-led ideas for research, of which four have since progressed to Stage 2 funding.
One of these is a project to investigate how plasma can influence colonies of microbes, otherwise known as biofilms. Biofilms have been found to be involved in a variety of microbial infections of chronic wounds, making them difficult to treat with conventional therapies. However, at room temperature, plasma has anti-microbial properties and could offer a novel way to treat infections where biofilms are present.
“As a business innovation is a key strategic priority. We continue to research new technologies and innovative wound care solutions that meet the human and economic costs of wounds. Forums such as the N8 IIF are a good way for us to meet the academics working in some exciting areas, such as plasma.”
Dorothy McCulloch, Technology Analyst at Smith & Nephew’s Advanced Wound Management Division
“Through the discussion that took place at the N8 IIF event, we realised that we all had a slightly different take on the issue and potential areas for research. We were all keen to investigate ways to take it forward and together we’re scoping a number of experiments we can carry out which will help us refine and develop future research to explore the possibilities that this area offers.
In the past, my colleagues and I have found it difficult to identify the right people in industry to talk to, but the N8 Industry Innovation Forum brought us all together in the same room. Because of the ‘arena of trust’ the forum provides, we were all able to have open conversations about our work, even though some of it was in its earliest stages. The workshops provided an opportunity for cross-pollination of ideas, and because it all took place face-to-face it was much more productive and meaningful. As a result of the forum, we’ve developed fruitful relationships with partners that we would have found difficult to engage with otherwise.
And having the access to a small amount of funding to enable some pilot activity and scope out the project has proved very useful too; sometimes it can be difficult to get hold of funding in order to inform research, so being able to draw on resources provided by the N8 has really helped to move this project forward.”
Dr Kate Lancaster, University of York