University of Leicester gets £1.3m boost to turn bright ideas into world-changing impacts

The University of Leicester has received £1.3m in funding to help turn the brightest research ideas into world-changing impacts.

The Impact Acceleration Account (IAA) supports critical early-stage translation of UK research to real impacts, transforming public services, creating new jobs, attracting private investment and forging new partnerships with business and charities. Leicester has been awarded three years of funding for an Impact Acceleration Account from the Medical Research Council, as well as a year of funding from Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council.

Funding allows UK teams to unlock the value of their work, including early-stage commercialisation of new technologies and advancing changes to public policy and services such as NHS clinical practice.

One University programme which has previously benefited from IAA funding is LifeMap, led by Professor André Ng, Department of Cardiovascular Sciences.

LifeMap is a product which harnesses patented electrical restitution techniques to make a simple, precise assessment of sudden cardiac death risk, a condition that kills three million people annually.

Using a wire inserted into the groin and up into the heart, this measurement has already been embedded into ECG recordings, which display heart rhythm and electrical activity. The next job is to make it into a much more user-friendly tool. Read more about the work led by Professor Ng.

Professor Ng said: “LifeMap extracts thousands of signals from high resolution digital recordings of the electrical activity of the heart on the ECG to compute our markers of sudden death risk.

“We really appreciate the support from previous IAA funding that allowed us to employ novel artificial intelligence and machine learning techniques towards the development of our automated algorithm which streamlines data analysis and greatly enhances the overall performance of our novel technology.”

Leicester’s researchers are now being encouraged to apply to the £1.3m IAA funding stream, to help advance their projects.

Professor Philip Baker, Pro Vice Chancellor, Research & Enterprise at the University, said: “We welcome this vital funding, which will allow us to significantly advance the real-world impacts of some of the brightest research being carried out at the University of Leicester.

“The impact acceleration funding has a fantastic track record in providing support that helps brilliant ideas become realities that make a real difference. LifeMap is one such example, here at Leicester, but there are many other examples of successful initiatives, and I look forward to more research projects benefitting from this funding.”

Professor Baker added: “Our focus on research that brings real-world benefits has been reinforced by our performance in the recently published Research Excellence Framework, which put our Clinical Medicine impact submission in the top 10 in the UK and our Biological Sciences impact at number one. The Medical Research Council and Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council Impact Acceleration Accounts will enable us to make even greater impacts from our excellent research in these disciplines.”

UK Research and Innovation (UKRI), a government body responsible for delivering £8bn research and innovation funding each year, is investing £118 million in the latest round of IAAs to translate research across 64 universities and research organisations.

UKRI Director of Commercialisation Tony Soteriou, said: “The UK is home to some of the brightest, most innovative and creative research teams in the world.  They have the ideas and they have the entrepreneurial energy to create businesses and services that could turn sectors on their head.

“What they need, what every great commercial idea needs, is support in the critical early stages. The Impact Acceleration Account is the catalyst that allows projects to grow to the next level, attracting investment, forging partnerships and creating jobs.”