Sunday 30 August 2020

Completion of Aberystwyth's Science Park on Time and on Budget

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Jane Lambert

On 24 Aug 2020, a huge replica of a key was handed to the management of the Aberystwyth Innovation and Enterprise Campus (Aberinnovation) at Gogerddan to mark the completion of the construction. According to Ben Jones. it was finished on time and on budget (see Jones Handover signals the completion of the new Aberystwyth Innovation and Enterprise Campus 26 Aug 2020). The construction of that science park would have been noteworthy at any time but, as much of the work had to be carried out during lockdown, it is all the more remarkable.
I first learned about the plan to build a science park when I visited Aberystwyth University's Institute of Biological, Environmental and Rural Science ("IBERS") on 13 March 2019 to deliver a talk on Intellectual Property Rights relating to Waste Management and Sustainable Packaging at a workshop on sustainable packaging and waste that had been organized by the Beacon Biorefining Centre of Excellence.  IBERS and Beacon had been at Gogerddan for many years. IBERS has a worldwide reputation for its research in agriculture, plant breeding and related technologies while Beacon is a partnership between Aberystwyth and several other Welsh universities to commercialize research in those technologies.  The idea of the science park was to attract a cluster of science and technology-based businesses to Gogerddan that could contribute to such research as well as exploit it.  I discussed the idea of clusters when I visited IBERS for a second time on 19 June 2019 for a workshop  entitled "From Plants to Bio-Based Products The Challenges to and Opportunities for Development and Scale-up in Wales." (see Jane Lambert
"From Plants to Bio-Based Products" Motivation and Mutual Learning Workshop in Aberystwyth on 21 June 2010).

On 28 Feb 2020, the science park published its first newsletter which I blogged in Aberinnovation: Mid-Wales's New Science Park.   The newsletter discussed the progress of the construction work and its first seminars.   I learned about the completion of the project from Mr Jones's newsletter which was mentioned on Linkedin.  It appears from its website that all the science park's facilities are now open, that the first tenants have moved in, an accelerator for businesses in biosciences, healthcare, agri-tech and food and drink sectors will be launched in September and a webinar with Dr Rhian Hayward, the park's chief executive officer, will take place on 23 Sept 2020.

The inventions, new plant and seed varieties and other technologies to be developed in Gogerddan as well as the brands of the new businesses will require legal protection if they are to be exploited.  According to the Chartered Institute of Patent Attorneys' database, there are no patent attorneys within 50 miles of Gorgoddan.  That is also true of the Menai Science Park (M-SParc) on Anglesey but over the last 2 years a number of support networks have formed to advise and assist not just the park's tenants but all other businesses in Northwest Wales (see Ecosystem 2.0 of 21 Aug 2020).  Those networks presented Wales's only contribution to World Intellectual Property Day in 2019 and 2020.  There is no reason why similar networks should not emerge around Gogerddan. If they do, I should be glad to participate in them.

Anyone wishing to discuss this article or any of the issues contained in it may call me on 020 7404 5252 during office hours or send me a message through my contact form.

Tuesday 25 August 2020

An Inventors' Club for Northwest Wales?

Jane Lambert

"Ffiws" means, and is pronounced as, "Fuse" in English.  It is the name of a maker space with 3D printers, laser cutters and other digitally controlled equipment.  It is a partnership between Menter Môn, Gwynedd Council and several other agencies in North Wales.  Earlier this year I was invited to give a talk at its premises in Porthmadog.  Sadly, the visit had to be cancelled because of the pandemic but I still delivered the talk over Zoom and my slides can be downloaded from Slideshare if anyone is interested.

I think Ffiws is a great resource and the reason I mention it again now is that it has a base at the Menai Science Park (M-SParc).  According to the Ffiws page on the M-SParc website, its facilities are available to the park's tenants and members of the Enterprise hub.  Its equipment will also be taken on tour with M-SParc for demonstrations to, and possible use by, residents of the places M-SParc visits.  There is similar equipment at the Bangor FabLab in the Pontio Centre though that building is temporarily closed for public health reasons.

On 8 Sept 2020, the business and professional networks that have developed around M-SParc will be celebrated in the Ecosystem 2.0 Webinar. Each member of those networks has been allocated 3 minutes to talk about their work or interests.  I shall use mine to propose an inventors' club for North Wales to make use of Ffiws and FabLab and draw on the expertise of the Ecosystem.

The Business and IP Centre explained the need for an inventors' club in an article strap lined "Great ideas can change the world":
"whilst lots of us often spot the potential for a new product or piece of technology, the harsh realities of research and development, prototyping, manufacturing and distribution often mean that few of those ideas actually make it to market."
Those words apply at least as much to inventors, designers, makers and entrepreneurs in Northwest Wales as they do to London.   This is the British Library's solution:
"The Inventors’ Club has been established by the Business & IP Centre to give budding inventors the opportunity to network with others in the same boat, hear from speakers who have successfully commercialised their inventions, stay motivated and share insider hints, tips, expertise and experience. You’ll get feedback on your inventions in a safe, non-judgmental environment and also find out about how the Library’s extensive collection of business and commercial data can help you on your journey from someone with a great idea, to having a product on the market."
I set up and chaired inventors' clubs in Leeds, Liverpool and Sheffield and supported the ones in Blackburn and Manchester.   I can say from experience that they work.  In each of those cities, the clubs helped entrepreneurs and inventors to set up new businesses or license the manufacture and sale of their products to other companies. 

The Wessex Region of Technologists and Inventors in Southampton has published a useful article on Starting an Inventors Club on its website.  A Northwest Wales inventors' club is not something that can be run from outside.   Local people must want it enough to set it up and manage it.  If anybody in Northwest Wales is willing to take the initiative I shall place my expertise, experience and connections at his or her disposal.  Anybody wishing to discuss this proposal may call me on 020 7404 5252 during office hours or send me a message through my contact form.

Tuesday 18 August 2020

Ecosystem 2.0

Jane Lambert

I have already discussed How the Pontio Centre and M-SParc complement each other in the Social and Economic Development of Northwest Wales and the network of professional advisors (of whom I am one) to advise and assist the businesses in Northwest Wales in Understanding Intellectual Property   Over the weekend I learned more about how individuals in this area have responded to the pandemic in the photographs of Kristina Banholzer and the recollections of some of those persons in Covio.

Just over a month ago I received the following information:
"I’m putting together an event called ‘M-SParc’s Ecosystem’ – who are the people who work closely with us and our tenants, providing added value to them.
We would like to extend the invitation to yourself; it’s only a 3-4 minute slot, with around 20 others speaking.
The date in mind at the moment would be September 8th, 10am."
Naturally, I jumped at the invitation and rather rashly promised to give some of my 3 minutes in Welsh if I can find a Welsh speaker who lives near me to correct my grammar and pronunciation. 

The aim of the webinar is to show people that the region’s ecosystem is still going! Innovation is happening, new things are taking place, and everyone is still working together through it all!
"North West Wales is full of businesses and ventures that work together. That's how we get so much done! Come and hear who's part of the Ecosystem, and how they've been encouraging and supporting each other through this difficult time."
Anyone who wants to attend the event can register here.

I must now deliver on my promise. According to Wikipedia, there are 133,000 Welsh speakers in England which are over a quarter of the number who live in Wales.  At least one of them must live in our village for he or she has translated our tourist information website into Welsh. Had it not been for the pandemic I would have spent a week or so of my annual holiday in Wales. COVID 19 has got in the way of that but if I can't have an actual holiday in Wales I can still have a virtual one and learn a bit of Welsh.

When I started learning with SSI Welsh I found that I had already picked up a little like "Araf" and "Canolfan" from motoring, "cyhoeddus" in the context of "llwybr" and "toiledau" from just wandering around, "cariad" from listening to mums talking to their children and even "Swyddfa batent" and "Swyddfa Eiddo Deallusol" from attending the hearing office to Newport.  I think I should be able to manage more than "Bore da" on 8 Sept.