The Innovation Clinic’s ERDF Project

By Laurence Smith

We are here to help small and medium enterprises (SMEs) to bring products to market.  

The Innovation Clinic supports Lancashire Businesses to innovate and grow through the development of new-to-firm and new-to-market products. The Clinic team brings together extensive industry & academic expertise, state-of-the-art facilities and technology to provide fully funded and tailored support at any stage of the product development process from initial concept and market research through to launch.  The project is part-funded by UCLan and the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) and over the next 2 years, aims to assist SMEs through tailored advice and support enabling them to gain an insight into their products’ potential and help boost the manufacturing sector in the region.

The Clinic team is looking to support SMEs in the Lancashire region by allowing them free access to a wide range of services that we offer.  As part of the Innovation Clinic, the Bio-mechanics team provide support to Lancashire businesses to help them bring new products that interact with the human body to market.  The ability to back-up product performance claims can have a huge positive impact on future sales and differentiate you from the competition and the team can offer a range of product testing and data-capture to enable you to do this.  The support offered can be tailored to the specific needs of the company.  The Clinic is able to offer support in other areas as well, including:

  • Independent Idea evaluation & feasibility
  • Market research, demand and competitor analysis
  • Advice on IP and freedom to operate
  • Innovation strategy
  • Product design support
  • Prototype development
  • Product testing
  • Brand development
  • Materials, supply chain and manufacturing advice
  • Commercialisation


Throughout the life of the project the Clinic will be also hosting various free workshops.  These workshops will cover a variety of areas from the design and development of products to the bio-mechanical testing of products.  In each of these workshops, the companies will get to know the different processes that products must go through to get to market and the various types of testing that the innovation clinic can offer.  The companies will have an opportunity to discuss their products with members of the team and use the events to network with other companies.

The next event the Innovation Clinic will be hosting will be a half day bio-mechanics workshop on the 22nd and 23rd of November. This half day workshop will be held at the Allied Health Research Unit’s state-of-the-art movement laboratory based in Brook Building at the UCLan campus in Preston.

The purpose of the workshop is to allow companies to see the different methods that the Innovation Clinic uses to collect data.   Through the course of the event we will explain the different types of data we can collect and what this could mean to companies and to their products.  The event will also consist of talks by Professor Jim Richards on different aspects of bio-mechanics as well as practical demonstrations of the equipment in the movement laboratory.  During the workshop we will look at a range of bio-mechanical techniques that are used to collect data for companies and through the use of case studies we will explain how these relate to a person using a product.  Throughout the workshop there will be the opportunity to speak to our team and ask questions.

For further details about the Bio-mechanics workshop and to book on to the event visit our Eventbrite page at:


The Early Career Researcher Forum

By Julie Cook Lucas and Hayley Tyrer

 What is the early career researcher forum?

The Early Career Researcher Forum in the College of Health and Wellbeing, was set up at the beginning of 2016 as a College initiative to support early career researchers (ECRs). The ECR Forum is designed to allow research assistants, research associates and post-doctoral level members of staff a space to share information between ECRs and acknowledge the contributions of ECRs to UCLan while feeding ideas in to the College Executive.

What has been achieved to date?

To date, the ECR Forum has met 5 times (1 meeting every 2 months) and the meetings have covered a number of different topics:

Session 1: Brainstorming by ECRs on the issues they thought the forum should address

Session 2: Q&A with Professor Caroline Watkins (College Director of Research & Innovation): clarification on some issues raised during session 1, followed by a forum discussion to identify which themes/tasks to pursue through the colloquium in an informed and structured way.

Session 3: Group discussion to articulate the way forward for the forum in terms of skills/interests to offer and share, areas members wanted to be covered, and contract status.

Session 4: Presentations by Gill Bruce and Emma Hesketh-Sandon (UCLan Human Resources and Research Office respectively) and Mike Eslea (UCU branch representative) regarding contracts and career progression and recent developments regarding roles and grading issues.

Session 5: Group discussions around mentoring, probation and appraisal, and training/skills development

Interested in getting involved?

We are actively encouraging all early career researchers within the College of Health and Wellbeing to participate in the ECR Forum; your experience and opinions really matter when finding ways to improve the ECR experience at UCLan! (Please remember that this is a College initiative to support ECRs and you are entitled to time to attend).

If you want to attend the ECR Forum then please email for further details.