Open Innovation Hub for Antimicrobial Surfaces


Open Innovation Hub for Antimicrobial Surfaces.



The ‘Open Innovation Hub for Antimicrobial Surfaces’ was established to design and develop a new generation of intelligent surfaces and materials capable of inhibiting the spread of infections and microbial attack.

The Hub, which is based at the University of Liverpool, has its roots in the N8 Industry Innovation Forum (N8 IIF) and aims to work with multinationals, SMEs and the NHS to study the behaviour of bacteria and how disruptive innovation can be applied to prevent microbes from growing on surfaces.

The academic partners involved with the new Hub bring world-class expertise in surface functionalisation and characterisation using leading spectroscopic and imaging techniques, as well as leading knowledge and skills in marine science.

Six successful bids by the Open Innovation Hub has brought in elite consortia with specific expertise and strengths, for example, multinationals with leading market positions in medical devices and smart coatings and materials, and SMEs providing innovative fabrication, and processing technologies.


Microbial attack on surfaces costs the UK billions of pounds each year in product contamination, energy losses, medical infections and equipment damage. Healthcare associated infections alone are estimated to cost the NHS – and the UK taxpayer – £2bn each year. Creating antimicrobial surfaces is key in preventing infections and helping to curtail the global threat of antimicrobial resistance.


Establishment of the Open Innovation Hub for Microbial Surfaces, with dedicated laboratory space, specialist equipment and 14 staff directly engaged with the project. Eleven companies directly engaged in projects. Five new industrial innovation and supply chains set up. As a result the N8 IIF initiative, total project funding of £5.9m secured, with significant support from the Technology Strategy Board, the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) and the University of Liverpool.


“The N8 Innovation Forum and initial seed funding was instrumental in enabling this project to be conceived and delivered. The launch of a dedicated laboratory to house the Open Innovation Hub, with a critical mass of researchers and highly active industrial partnerships has created a strong foundation for us to deliver world-leading excellence and innovation over the coming years.”

Professor R Raval, Director, the Open Innovation Hub for Antimicrobial Surfaces

“We have been strongly supportive of the establishment of the Open Innovation Hub for Antimicrobial Surfaces. The business model of the Hub, which is to act as a central point to structure innovation-led collaborations, is highly attractive to us.”

Professor Steven L Percival, VP, Healthcare R&D, Scapa Group plc

“We believe that the Open Innovation Hub will greatly support the development of SMEs working in antimicrobial technologies by promoting joint collaboration, facilitating access to specialist equipment, enabling development of new products and catalysing commercial partnerships through the supply chain to Tier 1 multinationals.”

Dr Dermot Monaghan, MD, Gencoa Ltd

“Revolymer plc is very pleased to partner with the Open Innovation Hub for Antimicrobial Surfaces at the University of Liverpool, Akzo Nobel’s International Paints Ltd and Newcastle University in a £0.5 million funding award by the UK’s innovation agency, the Technology Strategy Board, to develop new, sustainable high-performance marine fouling control coatings.”