Innovation centre scoops prestigious award

The Caparo Innovation Centre (CIC) was set up in 2003 as a partnership between the Caparo Group of companies and the University of Wolverhampton.

The centre is based at Wolverhampton Science Park and has helped more than 800 inventors assess the viability of their ideas as well as taking a number of different inventions through to market.

It is staffed by a team of product and business development professionals covering a range of engineering, marketing, design and business skills.

Among the successful products to be developed through the centre is the Caparo Rightfuel, which prevents motorists filling up diesel cars with petrol.

Last night (Thursday November 18), the CIC won the Open Collaboration Award in the Lord Stafford Awards final held at Stoneleigh Park in Warwickshire.

John Wood, a Caparo Director who has been involved in the CIC since the start, said: “This Award is recognition of the fantastic work and effort that has gone into making this collaboration between Caparo and the University of Wolverhampton a success.

“When we started out, the idea of the CIC was to create an imaginative new approach to turning product ideas into commercial opportunities.

“Working with the University of Wolverhampton we have been able to provide much-needed support to inventors by giving them access to a combination of practical business experience and advanced academic support.

“Through our combined expertise, we have been able not only to assess and develop product innovations, but also commercialise them in a manner that benefits all parties.

“The attraction for inventors is that the CIC provides more than guidance and signposting alone. Production of prototypes, development of business plans and assistance with legal issues are combined with the down-to-earth, practical approach of Caparo, all of which ensures ideas are developed to their full potential.

“The beauty of the model is that inventors don’t even need to risk their own capital in commercialising the invention. Instead, the CIC will work for a share in the profits from the idea. Meanwhile, Caparo or our other commercial partners can opt to take inventions to market, while the University of Wolverhampton benefits by being at the forefront of business engagement.”

Lord Stafford, Awards Patron, said: “The CIC is not only an innovation in itself as far as the collaboration between the company and university go, but it has been helping to generate even more innovations over the last seven years.

“This is a worthy award winner which is helping to turn ideas into real wealth-generating products and I would like to congratulate everybody involved.”

Another winner at the award ceremony was the Advanced Business Development Network (ABDN), which won the Cisco Prize for New Technologies. ABDN is a network of 19 West Midlands manufacturing companies and was established to enable a group of SMEs in the West Midlands to work together to improve competitiveness and win bigger contracts than they could achieve individually.

Led by Malthouse Engineering Group, the ABDN has introduced IT systems to enable members to work together which has led to £200,000 of new business, developed by a graduate through a Knowledge Transfer Partnership with the University of Wolverhampton.

Picture captions - Picture 1: Neil Crockett - Regional Director, Cisco. Paul Buszard University of Wolverhampton Roy Taylor - Malthouse Mark Hayward - Malthouse Lord Stafford

Picture 2: John Wood - Caparo Lord Stafford Andrew Pollard - University of Wolverhampton

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