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University and business partnerships deliver winning innovation

14 May 2008

A powerful new treatment for shingles; the design of a low energy high rise building in Dubai and novel techniques to assess landslide risk were all projects recognised at the Cardiff University Innovation Awards.

The Cardiff University Innovation Network champions partnerships between business and the University. All three of this year’s award-winners are examples of successful partnerships which are delivering innovative new approaches for companies.

The 2008 Innovation Prize recognises the successful collaboration between the University’s Welsh School of Pharmacy and Inhibitex Inc. leading to the creation of a drug 10,000 times more powerful than existing drugs in suppressing the virus which causes the shingles disease.

Professor Chris McGuigan, Welsh School of Pharmacy said: "Shingles is an extremely painful condition which affects around one in five people in their lifetime. The partnership with Inhibitex Inc has enabled trials of this drug to move from the laboratory to the human clinical stage, and brought about a product which could reduce suffering by hundreds of thousands of people every year."

The University’s Welsh School of Architecture and Atkins Middle East were awarded the ‘2008 Innovation Award for Early Stage Collaboration’ for their design of a low energy, low emission high-rise building in the United Arab Emirates.

The result of the collaboration is the DIFC Lighthouse Tower to be built in Dubai, a 65 story, state-of-the-art building using a combination of reduced energy demand and renewable energy resources. These include three large wind turbines to achieve a 60 per cent reduction in energy use, compared to a standard high-rise building.

The Innovation Award for Long Term Collaboration was awarded to the School of Earth and Ocean Sciences and TerraDat (UK) Ltd, a local company founded by two Cardiff University graduates.

The joint initiative explores new and innovative ways to assess areas in South Wales most at risk from landslides. By applying novel techniques, such as using small hand-controlled helium balloons with digital cameras and high resolution geophysical surveying instead of costly, time consuming aeroplane or helicopter surveys, the team succeeded in developing a highly innovative rapid, cost effective system which has the added advantage of being portable.

This Innovation Network awards are sponsored by BioFusion and Geldards.

Ceri Delemore, a Partner with Geldards LLP, said: "Geldards is delighted to continue its support of these highly successful awards which clearly demonstrate the advantages to be gained from industry and academia working in partnership.

The common thread for all the award-winning projects is the way in which the collaborations have benefited all of the participants - it really is a case of ‘knowledge-exchange’ rather than one-way ‘knowledge-transfer’."


Notes to Editors:

Cardiff University Innovation Network is one of the most established and popular business networking events in Wales. Since its creation in 1996 over 8500 people in total have attended the 102 plus events we have run for local businesses and innovators. Regular events are held in the University and elsewhere with delegates from a variety of business backgrounds attending each meeting.

The Innovation Network is recognised by industry and those involved in business support to be an important source of problem solving and knowledge-based resource provision.

Projects ‘Highly Commended’ by the judges included an environmental rating system for vehicles developed with Dr Paul Nieuwenhuis at Cardiff Business School’s Centre for Automotive Industry Research and Clifford-Thames Ltd. The system is available to the public on an interactive basis via the Clifford-Thames website and has been adopted as a preferred environmental rating system by the British Vehicle Rental and Leasing Association.

Also Highly Commended is an ongoing partnership between Laing O’Rourke Plc, the UK’s largest privately owned construction company, and Cardiff School of Engineering on the development of high performance concrete products, including the patented "CARDIFRC" developed by Professor Bhushan Karihaloo.


Biofusion’s partnership with Cardiff University enables it to invest in some the world's most advanced and exciting science, turning world class research into business through the creation of a growing portfolio of companies, in fields as varied as drug discovery, alternative energy and engineering.

Geldards is one of the UK’s leading regional commercial law firms with offices in Cardiff, Nottingham and Derby. The firm has over 50 partners and more than 350 other legal and support staff.

Media Enquiries:

Photos and video images illustrating each project and from the Innovation Awards are available from the Public Relations Office. Interviews with partners can also be requested.

Vicky Dando

Public Relations

Cardiff University

Tel: 029 20879074