Powering the Agritech and Advanced Pharmaceuticals sectors in the East of England
Hertfordshire Science Partnership was founded to create a translational Doctoral Training Centre focussing on Hertfordshire’s regional strength in the Agri-Tech and Advanced Pharmaceuticals sectors while providing a strong pipeline of applied scientists. The Partnership leverages the University’s state-of-the-art science facilities and academic expertise to boost these dynamic industry sectors in the East of England, particularly for the benefit of SMEs.
Hertfordshire Science Partnership is a unique collaboration between the University of Hertfordshire and Hertfordshire Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP), co-funded by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF). This programme aligns with the Hertfordshire LEP’s objective to stimulate enterprise and innovation within the county through targeted investment in its key sectors.
The flagship delivery for the programme is the Hertfordshire Knowledge Exchange Partnership (HKEP). Each HKEP is designed to enable a business to establish new capabilities, proof-of-concept for new products/services or expand the business’ capacity and market.
With Knowledge Exchange values at its core, the HKEP is unique within the sector: in year one the student is recruited and placed directly into the company undertaking a commercially focused project. This provides the business with new capacity and skills for its existing innovation activities, but also provides the student with significant experience of a commercial environment. Businesses can then develop the student to meet the ethos and standards of the business from day one. Upon completion of year one the student returns to UH to complete a three-year research project which is of strategic importance to the business.
Hertfordshire Science Partnership is expected to facilitate over 20 knowledge exchange partnerships by 2021 and will result in 20 collaborative PhD projects with innovative regional businesses.
Darragh Murnane, Director Hertfordshire Science Partnership: “The partnership will offer new opportunities to a fresh pool of small/ medium size enterprises to access exactly the same research and innovation activities that are often only available to large industries. Many companies are struggling to access funding and scientists to undertake fundamental research that is needed to develop new products, and we’re aware there are many companies who may currently be frustrated in their ambitions to develop innovative new ideas and technologies. Our partners and the University feel strongly about this and our goal is to unlock opportunities to this otherwise hidden talent.”
Assessment Centre Experience
The Assessment Centre Experience (ACE) is an ISE award winning mock assessment centre simulation, run by the University of Hertfordshire in partnership with Smart Resourcing Solutions (SRS). ACE has been recognised as one of the largest mock assessment centre simulations in the UK and will be attended by over 3000 students of the University of Hertfordshire in 2020. The scheme is designed to prepare students for the competitive reality of the graduate assessment day and equip them with the skills and confidence to launch business enterprise, secure placements and graduate employment.
Funded by the University, the ACE scheme enhances student employability. It is particularly beneficial to students who may lack knowledge of the recruitment processes and how to present themselves to employers, such as those from widening participation backgrounds and those who are the first in their family to attend university, who account for around 42% of UH students.
Students practice interviews, group exercises and presentations, assessed by SRS associates and relevant employers, whose extensive experience in graduate recruitment provides students with individual written feedback that can be used for career planning, supported by the University’s Careers and Employment Service.
ACE linked with a University scheme to support student business start-ups and self-employment in 2019 and now offers students the chance to pitch their business idea and to be interviewed on the plans for their business, whilst receiving feedback which they can use to develop further.
After attending ACE, students reported an increase in confidence in applying for placements and graduate schemes. On average, 14% of students felt confident in these applications prior to ACE. Post ACE this increased to 58% of students feeling confident or very confident. The programme has been embedded into the majority of level 5 undergraduate courses.
Research at the University of Hertfordshire is helping to identify ways to improve healthcare for the nearly half a million people living in care homes in the UK. The Covid-19 pandemic has highlighted the vital role care homes play in the long-term care of older people and must be recognised by policy makers.
Research funded by the National Institute of Health Research (NIHR) and led by Professor Claire Goodman at the University of Hertfordshire found care home residents’ access to healthcare provision was ‘erratic and inequitable’. It studied all the different ways that the NHS in England works with care homes, identified common elements within the different approaches likely to lead to improved outcomes and tested this by tracking what happened to residents living in 12 care homes across England.
The study findings concluded that there were core elements within services that needed to be addressed. Key was when NHS decision-makers recognised care homes as partners, rather than as a problem or a drain on NHS resources. It called for more time to be given to NHS staff to learn how to work with care home staff to discuss, plan and review care and strengthen ties with existing health care services. It identified that activities that supported working more closely together provided the best evidence for improved healthcare. It also argued for the need to ensure that both NHS and care home staff had access to and support from dementia specialist services.
The research has had national impact and has been widely cited by national policy think-tanks such as The King’s Fund.
Professor Goodman’s current research will address the need to develop robust systems that support how all the different services and individuals (e.g. care staff, NHS professionals, family, regulators, social services) work together for residents’ benefit.
Supporting local SMEs with the Hertfordshire Growth Hub
The University of Hertfordshire has delivered the Hertfordshire Growth Hub (HGH) to support over 5500 local SMEs. This service has continued throughout Covid, with many Alliance universities using their connections to support businesses in navigating the challenges posed by the pandemic.
About the hub:
Hertfordshire Growth Hub is the county’s flagship business support provider. Powered by Hertfordshire Local Enterprise Partnership, the university are driven to help local businesses by offering instant access to advice, resources, events and other support providers, all in one convenient place.
The hub is part of a powerful network of 38 Local Enterprise Partnership-led Growth Hubs across England that integrate national and local business support. Funded by the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy and, in some cases, the European Regional Development Fund, all Growth Hubs provide locally tailored support and advice to connect businesses with the right experts for their specific business needs.
In Hertfordshire, their vision is to be the best Growth Hub in the country, creating a thriving business community and a more prosperous local economy.
The Hertfordshire Growth Hub is delivered by a consortium led by business support specialists Exemplas, along with the University of Hertfordshire and Hertfordshire Chamber of Commerce.
Realising the St. Alban’s museum and gallery with University of Hertfordshire
The University of Hertfordshire played a role in the realisation of the St Alban’s museum and gallery, making a significant difference to the local community by reinvigorating a significant but under-used building in central St Albans.
Following a two-year restoration and redevelopment project, visitors were invited to enjoy a dynamic programme of events to celebrate the opening of this arts, heritage and cultural attraction in the newly-transformed building.
Set to be a world-class centre for arts and culture at the heart of one of Britain’s most historic cities, the St Albans Museum and Gallery is free to all visitors. It aims to showcase over 2,000 years of priceless heritage and host cutting-edge art exhibitions, sharing local, national and world treasures with all.
Housed within the stunning Georgian Grade II* listed Town Hall, which was built in 1831, this new museum and gallery will rejuvenate the cultural life of the city and beyond. Set over three floors, it boasts a number of restored historic spaces and newly created state-of-the-art galleries. These spaces will be used to host regularly changing exhibitions and a vibrant programme of events. Visitors will also have the opportunity to explore the fascinating histories of the Town Hall, including its Assembly Room, Courtroom and Cells.
The project has been made possible with funding from St Albans City and District Council, an award from the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) and a special partnership with University of Hertfordshire. There have also been generous donations from Arts Council England, the Garfield Weston Foundation and many other organisations and individuals through the work of the St Albans Museums and Galleries Trust. Further information can be found at St Albans Museum.
Supporting SMEs with the University of Hertfordshire’s Science Partnership
The University of Hertfordshire’s Science Partnership is a unique collaboration between the University and the Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) with a focus towards supporting small and medium-sized enterprises’ (SMEs). It leverages the state of-the-art facilities and academic expertise at the University to boost the dynamic agri-technology and life sciences sector in Hertfordshire while providing a strong pipeline of applied scientists for the region through a translational Doctoral Training Centre.
Researchers within agriculture, food science and medicines development are linked with businesses, addressing a key gap in support for business-facing collaborative research that will generate the technologies suitable for later-stage innovation funds. It also fosters partnerships with world-renowned research institutions and is supported by Stevenage Bioscience Catalyst and Rothamsted Research.
The Robot House at the University of Hertfordshire
The University of Hertfordshire’s ‘Robot house’ is a unique research facility for human-robot interaction; at the forefront of designing assisted living technologies and innovations to support healthy ageing and independent living.
The house’s ground floor has been adapted into a unique research facility for human-robot interaction. It is equipped with the latest generation of robotics platforms, including state-of-the-art care robots for assisted living.
Researchers use the facility to explore new ways to make collaboration between robots and humans more effective. Following funding from the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council, the Robot House facility is now open to both external academic groups and industry for research, development and testing.
Using AI to ‘see through clouds’
University of Hertfordshire uses Goonhilly’s deep learning hub for AI venture that ‘sees through’ clouds
The University of Hertfordshire has partnered with satellite communications innovator and space gateway Goonhilly Earth Station Ltd to provide regular satellite mapping of the UK free from cloud cover, for the first time.
The University of Hertfordshire team uses satellite radar imaging to generate detailed images of the Earth’s surface in the more familiar visible and infrared bands. Since radar can pass through clouds, this allows the team to map the entire UK on a regular basis, uninterrupted by cloud cover. The venture originated from work funded by the Science and Technology Facilities Council (STFC) and incorporates techniques developed to analyse the light from distant galaxies. The project is led by University of Hertfordshire astrophysicist Professor James Geach and his PhD student Mike Smith.
With the UK land mass often shrouded in cloud, this breakthrough enables a whole new sphere of business opportunities exploiting Earth Observation data. Target customers will include insurance firms, commodity traders, supermarkets and the agricultural industry. In fact, the team are already working with agritech company Agrimetrics to develop a pipeline for monitoring the health and growth rate of each of the UK’s 2.8 million fields on a weekly basis.
Additionally, there are plans to integrate the cloud-free images into a live database combining land, ocean and atmospheric data. It will enable organisations such as government agencies and private businesses to predict environmental threats like flooding and wildfires; monitor coastal erosion; and track the impact of climate change on crop growth patterns, enabling quicker and more informed decision making to respond to these threats.
“Goonhilly’s deep learning platform has allowed us to massively accelerate time to market. The platform’s phenomenal processing speed has made it possible for us to significantly scale up our models and increase the scope of our analysis. It’s rewarding to see how techniques developed for astrophysics can be applied to Earth Observation data to deliver real-world impact, and we’re excited by the range of possible applications.”
Professor Jim Geach, Professor of Astrophysics at the University of Hertfordshire