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University and business partnerships deliver winning innovation

01 May 2009

Partnerships between business and Cardiff University delivering highly successful and innovative approaches for companies have been recognised at the 2009 annual Cardiff University Innovation Awards.

Sponsored by Geldards LLP, Fusion IP and Finance Wales, the 2009 competition recognised two outstanding collaborations helping to produce low cost social housing and improve the productivity and sustainability of a Welsh waste management site.

The 2009 Innovation Prize was awarded to Cardiff University’s Welsh School of Architecture and Coed Cymru Cyf. The project - Ty Unnos - ‘A house in one night’ - is helping to produce low carbon, affordable housing using homegrown Welsh softwood offering house builders an alternative to imported timber for sustainable housing.

Dr Wayne Forster from Cardiff University’s Welsh School of Architecture, said: "This award builds on the work that the Welsh School of Architecture has being doing over recent years to establish the feasibility of producing low cost housing.

"This partnership has enabled us to re-engineer a home grown material with poor performance capabilities, low in value, readily available and locally sourced into a high value integrated system which could potentially lead to the production of locally sourced sustainable housing and help plug Wales’ housing gap."

Director of Coed Cymru, David Jenkins said: "This has been a real team effort. To move from the original challenge set by The Countryside Council for Wales two years ago to produce affordable sustainable housing to where we are today, is testament to the strength of the original idea and the vision of our supporters, suppliers and manufacturers who are now bringing this product to market."

Also recognised is a partnership between Cardiff University’s School of Engineering and Lampeter-based recycling company, LAS Recycling Ltd. The partnership was awarded the 2009 Innovation Award for the design and commissioning of a new materials recovery facility.

LAS Recycling Ltd’s new recycling facility in Lampeter allows recyclable materials to be separated out during waste processing. Capable of processing a wide range of materials, it has increased throughput and recovery rate. Up to 50,000 tonnes per year of municipal waste can now be processed, diverting up to 50% from landfill.

The collaboration is a Knowledge Transfer Partnership (KTP). The KTP provides opportunities for graduates to apply their knowledge, technology and expertise to external organisations. Dr Nia Owen, the graduate placement or "Associate", was able to develop an extensive knowledge of environmental engineering with LAS Recycling Ltd.

Nia was directly involved in all stages of the project. As well as gaining valuable professional experience, she has developed useful contacts and has built-up her management skills.

Professor Keith Williams, Cardiff University’s School of Engineering, said: "This Partnership has been so beneficial to all involved and it is an honour to have this success recognised.

"Professor Tony Griffiths and I, along with the rest of our team here, have gained a valuable insight into the waste management problems faced by local authorities today. We have also had the opportunity to gather much useful data which can be fed back into our teaching".

Managing Director of LAS Recycling Ltd, Chris Saunders said: "We have enjoyed working with the Cardiff University team over the past 4 or 5 years.

"We’ve called upon their expertise and knowledge on many occasions and they have assisted us in strengthening the relationships we have with some of our key customers."

Two other Partnerships were ‘Highly Commended’ by the judging panel. They included a collaboration between Cardiff School of Engineering and QinetiQ on the acoustics of microphones and the School of Medicine and BIOBASE GmbH on the development of a human gene mutation database.

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 9,300 people in total have attended the 109 events it has 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. Further information on the network is available at:


The 2009 Cardiff University Innovation Awards are sponsored by Geldards LLP, Fusion IP and Finance Wales.

If you require any further information from the sponsors, please contact:

Geldards LLP
Clare McCarthy

Tel: 029 2023 8239

Fusion IP
Natalie Wilkinson

Tel: 0114 275 5633

Finance Wales
Helen Walker-Smith
Marketing Co-ordinator

Tel: 029 2033 8149

Further information:

Chris Jones
Communications & International Relations Division
Cardiff University

Tel: 029 20 874731