Smart awards for Mid-Anglia firms


DTI Smart awards worth 750,000 have just been awarded to firms in the region, four of them in Cambridgeshire.

Among the 16 regional winners are Cambridge Biopolymers, Cambridge Sensors, Immunobiology, and Sentec.

The awards are given to help firms develop innovative concepts that solve practical problems.

Vincent Watts, chairman of the East of England Development Agency, said: 'To build the region's prosperity we need to help our businesses think creatively.

'This scheme is rewarding the brightest and best, giving vital support to projects that are measurably contributing to the prosperity of the region.'

The awards are worth up to 45,000 for a feasibility study, and up to 150,000 for the development of a new product or process to pre-production prototype stage.

The East of England generates the most applications.

The latest four in Cambridgeshire are working on the following: Cambridge Biopolymers in Sedgwick Street is developing a new resin based on vegetable oil.

It will be used for things such as car interior panels which are made of composite materials including resin binder.

Current binders are usually made from chemicals that can give off a dangerous poison during manufacture, cutting and disposal. Biopolymers' alternative will be much safer and thoroughly 'bio'.

ImmunoBiology at Babraham, as already reported, is working on a new and improved TB vaccine, while Sentec in Hills Road, is developing a new TB test.

Cambridge Sensors in Downhams Lane is also working on a test. It aims to made glucose testing a painless process by dramatically reducing the amount of blood needed.