CERN and STFC new business initiative to see businesses bridge the gap between science and Industry
25 Apr 2012






The Science and Technology Facilities Council (STFC) and CERN have announced the start of a major new joint initiative that will enable small high-tech businesses bridge the gap between basic science and industry, as they translate some of the world’s most innovative technologies developed at CERN into viable and profitable companies in the UK.

The CERN-STFC Business Incubation Centre (CERN BIC), which will be located at STFC’s Daresbury Laboratory in Cheshire, will nurture small businesses with innovative ideas based on technologies developed through high energy physics at CERN, home to the Large Hadron Collider, and develop these ideas into marketable services and products.

Under the new scheme, five companies per year, over a period of two years, will benefit from an impressive support package that includes up to £40k funding, 40 hours of free access to technical expertise and facilities across STFC, as well direct access to CERN’s technologies, expertise and intellectual property.

STFC has a very strong and long standing relationship with CERN and funds the UK’s involvement for all CERN activities.

Professor John Womersley, Chief Executive at STFC said: “Small companies with a real mission to innovate will benefit from this initiative by CERN and STFC, which brings together some of the most advanced technologies in the world with the unique and focussed business support required to take new ideas to market successfully. This has real potential to generate major economic and societal rewards for the UK economy and will demonstrate the significant impact arising from the UK’s investment in CERN, particularly in job creation and economic growth.”

This is the first time that CERN has taken part in such a partnership, which could eventually be rolled out across Europe.

Dr Steve Myers, CERN’s Director of Accelerators and Technology added: “CERN is committed to maximising the benefit to society of CERN technology through the development and exploitation of innovative ideas in all CERN’s areas of expertise. Our technologies are already available through schemes ranging from R&D partnerships to licences and consultancy. The CERN BIC provides a new route to market, and I hope it will be the first of many in our Member States.”

STFC has a strong track record in small business incubation.  This collaboration follows the success of STFC’s first BIC initiative located at the Harwell Science and Innovation Campus which is run with the support of the European Space Agency (ESA). In just over a year since its launch, the ESA BIC is already home to 10 high-tech companies that are successfully translating space technologies into award winning, profitable businesses.

The CERN BIC will sit within the Daresbury Science and Innovation Campus where participating companies will not only gain access to cutting edge scientific, technical and business expertise provided by STFC and CERN, but also to a dedicated STFC business champion for business planning and guidance towards access to STFC's facilities at Daresbury.  These facilities include landmark accelerator technology, an International Centre of Excellence in Computational Science and Engineering, as well as STFC’s Innovations Technology Access Centre (I-TAC) which provides access to £3m worth of specialised laboratory equipment that would otherwise be economically inaccessible to small businesses.

The CERN BIC will launch officially later in the year when the first calls for proposals will be announced. The main areas of focus will include accelerators, detectors, cryogenics, magnets, superconductors, materials science and high performance computing.