Innovation leaders gather for science park summit

CPI INNOVATION leaders from across the world will gather at a North East science park next week as part of its 10 year vision to become the global hub for materials integration.


The North East Technology Park, (NETPark) near Sedgefield, County Durham, has attracted some of the biggest names in materials integration – where ground-breaking technology is integrated into everyday products – for the summit on May 19.


The experts brought together for the round table summit include Dr Saralyn Mark, president of SolaMed Solutions and former senior policy advisor to the White House, and representatives from Innovate UK, the Institute of Physics, the Knowledge Transfer Network, Durham University and CPI.


The summit forms part of the 10-year strategy for NETPark, run by Business Durham, the economic development company for County Durham, which includes creating 3,000 jobs and adding another £400m to the region’s GVA.


Simon Goon, managing director at Business Durham, said:


“This event is a big milestone in our 10 year strategy. North East companies are leading the way in this field and we want to foster that kind of innovation by working with leading lights in the materials integration field.”


Two high profile NETPark-based firms are already thriving in the materials integration field. Kromek, which makes cadmium zinc telluride (CdZT), began as a spin-out of Durham University with two employees. Today, it has 60 employees in the UK, two US subsidiaries and CdZT has been integrated into products which make the world a safer place, from airport scanners to detecting early stage breast cancer.


Meanwhile PolyPhotonix, whose founder Richard Kirk will be attending the summit, has used organic light materials in a sleep mask to treat diabetic retinopathy, one of the most common causes of blindness in the western world.  The mask is projected to save the NHS £1bn per year.


NETPark is home to two Durham University research groups in instrumentation and materials, a cluster of SMEs and the CPI-owned National Printable Electronics Centre.


Momentum is building with funding secured to open up a further 13 hectares of land; 51,000 sq ft of grow on space and the announcement by CPI of two more centres at NETPark: National Healthcare Photonics and National Formulation.


The NETPark partnership of Business Durham, CPI and Durham University is now crafting a complete ‘scale up’ support model for companies wanting to capitalise on the materials integration market – from the first stage of ideas through to volume manufacturing.


Simon added: “We can offer the right support to help tenants become world leaders at the same time as offering a community of like-minded companies, like Kromek and Polyphotonix, who have similar global aspirations.”


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