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The Manchester Innovation Labs

FinTech North would like to make you aware of The Manchester Innovation Labs – an initiative that The University of Manchester has developed for facilitating effective engagement between businesses & academics. The Innovation Labs initiate co-developed research projects that address a business need.

The Next Innovation Lab will be on the 23rd January 2019.

Here is some information provided by The University of Manchester about the labs and information on how to apply.

How does it work?

–  The Innovation Labs follow a facilitated process led by a creative consultancy.

–  At each Lab we host 4-5 industry partners, working in teams of 4-6, with mixed-discipline academic groups.

–  We work through a dynamic, creative process – define the problem/question à Facilitated creative thinking activity à Generate solutions à Feasibility matrix à Identify optimal solution àPitch project idea to expert panel for seed corn funding

–  There is a strong emphasis on scoping for future large scale funding opportunities.

What’s the benefit (or purpose)?
–  Successful, trusted model for business-academic collaboration.

–  Development of new cross-disciplinary relationships within The University.

–  Businesses benefiting tangibly from academic engagement.

–  Successful, seed- funded projects with potential for conversion, with University support, to collaborative research funding proposals.

–  Enhancing academic-business engagement & develop tangible project plans in just 5 hours.

Why the University of Manchester?

The University of Manchester is ideally positioned to play a pivotal role in the development of Fintech. Throughout our history, the University has been a home for world-class minds and a place of extraordinary achievement, challenging the status quo and making leaps in terms of understanding and knowledge to the benefit of society. We have a proven track record in delivering high quality academic research with 83% of our research ranked as world leading or internationally excellent in the most recent Research Excellence Framework. Fintech is multi-disciplinary by nature and draws on a broad range of knowledge across areas where the University of Manchester is considered world leading. Our strength in inter-disciplinary working can add great value to innovation and our breadth of research creates a perfect environment for the study of complex global finance issues.

What do we need from Business Partners?

–  We need you to define clear, but not too narrow, business questions for exploration with academics – A focal challenge that is clear & meaningful to both academics & business.

–  Identify in advance, 1-4 areas for exploration; these could be a business challenge/question/opportunity where academic input could add value.

–  Commit 2-3 representatives to attend the half-day workshop, (you might want to bring a mix of strategic and technical people, depending on your research themes).

–  Commit to match seed-funding (cash) awarded to fund research time to conduct projects as designed at the workshop, with a view to developing a larger research collaboration later on.

Interested? Here’s what you need to do next.

To add your company to the long-list for potential participation in a future Innovation Lab, please email Christopher Hepworth, (Business Engagement Officer for the university) with answers to the below questions, outlining up to 4 interest areas for potential research collaboration.

Expressions of Interest

(Please copy and paste into your email)

–  Company Name:

–  Are you an SME?

–  Have you previously collaborated with academia for business R&D?

– Your business challenge area(s) – please provide an overview of the problem, issue, challenge, or opportunity that the project team would seek to explore and resolve through a collaborative project, if possible describe the potential short and longer-term business impacts:





Is there an R&D budget to support this work?

Do you have a fixed timescale for your objectives?

Primary Contact details, plus names of other participants on the day (if known):


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