GUILDFORD, England, July 28 /PRNewswire/ -- The University of Surrey and the National Physical Laboratory (NPL) have signed an agreement to collaborate on the delivery of a GBP10m programme to translate the results of research into innovation that makes a real-world difference. The collaboration is supported by a GBP4m Knowledge Transfer Account (KTA) from the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) with an additional GBP6m funding from industrial partners and the University of Surrey.

The joint Surrey/NPL team will focus on three specific areas of technology, each with the potential to create transformational benefits for the UK economy and society. The areas are:

* Communications and Signal Processing - Including advances in mobile communications and internet connectivity.

* Next Generation Materials and Characterisation - With applications in automotive, aerospace and the growing sector of space and satellite engineering.

* Nanotechnology and Photonics - Covering the latest in high speed optical communications and the next phase of miniaturisation in the semiconductor industry.

Professor Christopher Snowden, Vice Chancellor of the University of Surrey, said: We are absolutely delighted. This award affirms Surrey's track record as a leading University for innovation and commercialisation. The KTA represents a fantastic opportunity to expand the already successful partnerships developed by the University and most importantly it will be of great benefit in helping create business opportunities in these difficult times. Surrey developed the laser diode that is used in CD and DVD players world wide and NPL has also had a fantastic track record of transferring technology to industry. This major award will enable Surrey and NPL to work together to create more opportunities of this kind.

Dr. Brian Bowsher, MD of NPL, said: NPL is delighted to have this opportunity to continue our work with the University of Surrey. The knowledge transfer programme is the latest in a series of joint activities initiated under our Memorandum of Understanding with Surrey and affords us the chance to demonstrate real impact from EPRSC funded research into the UK economy. Over the past ten years we have developed knowledge transfer processes and tools as part of the National Measurement Office-sponsored National Measurement System. We will work with Surrey to tailor our approach to deliver maximum benefit to the KTA stakeholders.

Notes to editors

This is the first in a series of planned steps to build a vibrant, innovative economic community based on the Knowledge Transfer expertise of the University of Surrey and the National Physical Laboratory (NPL) and their key industrial and commercial partners. Future plans include increasing support and facilities needed by high tech start up companies, expanding the already strong expertise in Surrey's Satellite and Space Engineering facilities and new innovations for the Health and Medical sector.

The KTA will start on 01 October 2009. Over its three year duration Surrey's EPSRC-funded research will drive increased engagement with industrial users and accelerate the exploitation of new technology. In addition NPL has developed well proven systems that will enable EPSRC and Surrey to monitor the impact and value the programme is delivering to the UK.

This prestigious knowledge transfer deal will bring together NPL's world-class expertise in generating precise time signals which can then be used at the core of new satellite systems such as Galileo. The University of Surrey is intimately involved with this project, which aims to generate a new generation of exceedingly accurate, extremely reliable position and tracking systems.

In the field of photonics and nanotechnology, Dr David Cox from Surrey's Advanced Technology Institute, is generating a range of ultra miniature nanotechnology devices capable of sensing a single molecule with potential uses including 'sniffer' sensors to detect explosives or drugs.

About the University of Surrey

The University of Surrey is one of the UK's leading professional, scientific and technological universities with a world class research profile and a reputation for excellence in teaching and research. Ground-breaking research at the University is bringing direct benefit to all spheres of life - helping industry to maintain its competitive edge and creating improvements in the areas of health, medicine, space science, the environment, communications, defence and social policy. Programmes in science and technology have gained widespread recognition and it also boasts flourishing programmes in dance and music, social sciences, management and languages and law. In addition to the campus on 150 hectares just outside Guildford, Surrey, the University also owns and runs the Surrey Research Park, which provides facilities for 140 companies employing 2,700 staff.

The Sunday Times names Surrey as 'The University for Jobs' which underlines the university's growing reputation for providing high quality, relevant degrees.

About NPL

The National Physical Laboratory (NPL) is one of the UK's leading science and research facilities. It is a world-leading centre of excellence in developing and applying the most accurate standards, science and technology available.

NPL occupies a unique position as the UK's National Measurement Institute and sits at the intersection between scientific discovery and real world application. Its expertise and original research have underpinned quality of life, innovation and competitiveness for UK citizens and business for more than a century:

* NPL provides companies with access to world-leading support and technical expertise, inspiring the absolute confidence required to realise competitive advantage from new materials, techniques and technologies;

* NPL expertise and services are crucial in a wide range of social applications - helping to save lives, protect the environment and enable citizens to feel safe and secure. Support in areas such as the development of advanced medical treatments and environmental monitoring helps secure a better quality of life for all;

* NPL develops and maintains the nation's primary measurement standards, supporting an infrastructure of traceable measurement throughout the UK and the world, to ensure accuracy and consistency.

Further details:

The University of Surrey, working in close partnership with the National Physical Laboratory (NPL) has recently won an award of GBP4m from the Engineering and Physics Research Council (EPSRC) toward the establishment of a GBP10m Knowledge Transfer Account (KTA) programme. This is a rare good news story about innovation and development in the UK in otherwise difficult commercial times. (EPSRC have currently allocated GBP44m to 12 KTA centres across the UK)


With the University and its commercial industrial partners contributing GBP6m of the GBP10m programme The University of Surrey's KTA aims to exploit over GBP50m of 5 and 5* rated research from our EPSRC portfolio. The University has a strong track record of research innovation and exploitation with successes including: the development of the strained quantum well laser, used world-wide in CD and DVD players and Surrey Satellite Technology Ltd (SSTL). The KTA has attracted world class industry including: Intel, Bookham, EADS Astrium, McLaren, Oxford Instruments and sector leading Knowledge Exchange (KE) organisations National Physical Laboratory (NPL), IP Group and Camitri as partners.

The KTA programme has formed an ideal nucleus around which to build and strengthen those core relationships and also to draw in other world class industry and commercial partners as listed above. The seriousness with which the partners are treating the programme is illustrated by the level of their initial commitment (GBP6m) but their contribution could rise very significantly above that figure, especially via some of the multi-national companies.

KTA Structure:

The KTA has been constructed around three platforms, each providing support to a multi billion pound technology sector. In each case the quality and size of the partners companies ensures that the KTA has genuine channels to the global market.

Communications and Signal Processing:

Key Partners:

Mobile VCE (Nokia; Thales; Vodafone BT; Alcatel-Lucent; BBC; Fujitsu; Huawei; Hutchison '3'; NEC; Nortel; Orange; Samsung; Toshiba and Turner) and Camitri.

This platform pervades all industrial sectors, enabling businesses to operate globally, consumers to access a wide range of information sources, products and services and governments to support and protect their citizens. In terms of Gross Value Added (GVA) in the UK, Information Technology (IT) and telecoms contribute GBP30.6bn and GBP21.3bn respectively. Together they contribute 4.9% to total UK GVA. There are over 107,000 companies in the IT and Telecoms industry in the UK, who are increasingly competing internationally (Technology Strategy Board). The establishment of this platform is in line with UK Trade Investment recommendations following their Wireless Telecoms Mission to Korea and China (2007).

Next Generation Materials and Characterisation

Key Partners:

NPL; EADS Astrium; McLaren; Oxford Instruments.

The turnover of businesses in the UK that produce, process, fabricate, characterise and recycle materials is around GBP200 billion (Technology Strategy Board). They contribute about 15% of UK GDP and form an important element in the supply chain of many high value manufacturing businesses. Key market sectors which rely on, or are strongly underpinned by, advanced materials technology include: Energy, Space, Aerospace, Transport, Healthcare, Packaging, Textiles, Construction and Defence Security. Advance Materials has been identified, by the Technology Strategy Board (TSB), as a key technology area wherein there is global market potential for the UK economy.

Nanotechnology and Photonics

Key Partners:

Intel, Bookham; NPL, Oxford Instruments.

The UK nanotechnology industry is one of the fastest growing and most innovative in the world and is forecast to grow by 44 per cent over the next 12 to 15 years. It contributes an estimated GBP23 billion per year to the UK economy and there are more than 1400 companies operating in nanotechnology, many of which are university spin-outs (Institute of Nanotechnology).

Media enquiries: Madeleine McGowan, Press Office at the University of Surrey, Tel: +44(0)1483-689314 or E-mail:

SOURCE: University of Surrey

Media enquiries: Madeleine McGowan, Press Office at the University of Surrey, Tel: +44(0)1483-689314 or E-mail: