24th November, 2009
Businesses supported by the Innovation Voucher Project, lead by Aston University, have now won Lord Stafford Awards for their pioneering schemes.
Mediche Ltd’s groundbreaking insulin pen which automatically records information about when an injection has been taken, and Stretching by Design’s device to provide muscle flexibility for people with multiple sclerosis were both winners at the Lord Stafford Awards, which showcase links between universities and the private sector.
The Aston lead Innovation Voucher Project provides companies in the West Midlands region with an opportunity to access up to £3,000 each towards collaborative work with any of the region’s 13 universities. Funding for the project is provided by Advantage West Midlands and The European Regional Development Fund, with additional support from the West Midlands Centre for Constructing Excellence.
Mediche Ltd’s insulin pen
Mediche Ltd’s insulin pen, which won the Impact Through Innovation Category, was the brainchild of restaurateur and chef James Bower, who is one of the 780,000 UK insulin users and has to take between eight and 10 injections each day. The new pen has the capacity to upload and store the necessary details of date, time and dose of medication.
He said; “We all lead busy lives and I was finding it difficult to keep track of exactly how many injections I had taken and when. This can lead to some significant problems and I was looking to find a way of properly measuring how frequently and how often I was injecting.”
Working with James, MerchantCain Design and Staffordshire University have helped to develop the scheme to prototype stage.
Former builder Dave Collins was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis (MS) 20 years ago, and was frustrated at the unavailability, cost and time of regular physiotherapy sessions to ease muscle-tightening in the thighs – a common symptom of MS. His invention of the Leg Adductor Relaxation Assistor, a lightweight and affordable product which stretches the adductor (thigh) muscle group, won the Entrepreneurial Spirit category. The device helps to tackle spasticity, which often causes the legs to clamp together leading to problems of mobility and independence. Although physiotherapy works, the benefits last only 24 to 48 hours. Working with Coventry University and engineering firm, they are hoping to have the product on sale by next year.
Lord Stafford, Patron of the awards and Chair of the judging panel said; “These projects can potentially change the lives of people all over the world. These ideas are really classic examples of an idea being born from necessity and becoming a reality as a result of collaboration between a number of specialist areas.”
To secure a voucher, companies must employ 250 employees or less and have an annual turnover of less than 50 million Euros. Applications can be made online at www.innovationvouchers.org.
Universities involved in the Innovations Voucher project are; Aston University; University College Birmingham; Coventry University; Harper Adams University College; Keele University; Open University; Newman University College Birmingham; Staffordshire University; Birmingham City University; University of Birmingham; University of Warwick; University of Wolverhampton and University of Worcester.
For further press information contact Alex Earnshaw, University Communications Team, Aston University on 0121 204 4549 or email@example.com