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University receives funding to help regional SMEs


Project Cayman equipment

The University of Bradford has recently received funding through the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) for a new three year project that will help chemical manufacturing businesses in the region.

European Regional Development FundNorthern Powerhouse logo

‘Chemistry Assets for Yorkshire Manufacturing’, also known as ‘Project CAYMAN’, is a collaborative project run by the University to help local SMEs access cutting-edge technology to help their business grow.

The £1.6m programme, part-funded by the ERDF, has enabled the purchase of a new piece of equipment that will establish new high-field nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) facilities at the University. The facilities and associated academic expertise will then be available to regional SMEs who otherwise may not be able to access the equipment due to cost and the knowledge gap that is often associated with technically complex analytical techniques.

The collaborative projects will use the NMR facilities and academic expertise to characterise SMEs macromolecular materials and complex chemical mixtures in an attempt to help develop new products and optimise current manufacturing processes.

As part of the funding the University will deliver 30 fully funded research and innovation projects with SMEs and deliver 15 training sessions to demonstrate the potential benefits of the technology.

Lead on the project, Professor Steve Rimmer said: “This is a major initiative that will allow us to transfer our significant recent work, especially around polymers, biomaterials and active pharmaceuticals to the benefit of regional businesses.

“West Yorkshire is home to a very significant proportion of the UK Chemicals and Polymers sector and there are often difficult problems to solve around confirming the structure and identity of what are very complex products. Our work has used the ability of NMR to both separate by size and provide detailed structural information of these complex mixtures and we are hoping to make a step change in the capacity of our region in this respect. We are uniquely placed in having expertise in both characterisation and synthesis of polymers and biomaterials here at Bradford and this funding will be a great addition to our work and innovations with industry”.

Richard Telford, Director of the Analytical Centre said: “We are very pleased to have been awarded the funding though the ERDF to establish such a high-level NMR facility in the region, and are very excited to get the project running and start to interact with Leeds City Region SMEs. I’m convinced that the academic expertise at Bradford in combination with the new facilities will be extremely beneficial to companies working across the board in the chemical manufacturing sector, and I look forward to establishing relationships through the training and project activities and having a real impact on company’s understanding of their chemical processes and products”.

The equipment will be based in the Analytical Centre at the University of Bradford; a specialist facility managing the major analytical equipment for the University.

The projects will focus on using Diffusion Ordered “NMR” SpectroscopY (DOSY) and other high field NMR techniques as a means to better characterise macromolecules such as polymers or peptides and offer a new insight into how they may be utilised to monitor processes and develop products. DOSY is now vital in industry for quick, in-depth analysis of complex chemical mixtures.

Collaborators are invited to a launch event of the new equipment on Wednesday 29 January and can contact Jason Jones for further information at 

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