3M BIC wins National Technology Award for its Huddersfield Innovation and Incubation Project

3M BIC's technology team (l-r) Janine Downs, Stephen Knowles, Luke Philips, Paul Tallon and HIIP Director Michael Wilson 3M BIC's technology team (l-r) Janine Downs, Stephen Knowles, Luke Philips, Paul Tallon and HIIP Director Michael Wilson

THE University’s 3M Buckley Innovation Centre (3M BIC) has won a national technology award in recognition of its investment in technology in response to the needs of innovative and ambitious SMEs across the region.

The National Technology Awards celebrate the pioneers of new technology and help drive standards and encourage excellence.  Winning the Technology Investment category, the entry focused on the University’s technology investment made through the Huddersfield Innovation and Incubation Project (HIIP).  

This was made possible with £2.9m funding from the Leeds City Region Enterprise Partnership (LEP), delivered by the West Yorkshire Combined Authority, through the Leeds City Region Growth Deal – a £1bn package of government investment to accelerate growth and create jobs across Leeds City Region.

The HIIP allowed the University to purchase a range of transformational technologies to assist regional businesses to assess, adopt and use them to develop new and improved products, increase productivity and growth, all managed through the Innovation Centre.

The 3M BIC is designed for businesses to innovate, collaborate, and facilitate local and regional regeneration.  It acts as a gateway to the University’s research centres supporting business to academia collaborations and directly impacts the growth of tenants, network members and wider regional economy.

Businesses across the Leeds City Region can access a range of equipment at the 3M BIC to aid product development, from scanning and design tools; additive manufacture (AM) in polymers and metals and inspection equipment, including X-ray; virtual and augmented reality (VR/AR), all of which would usually be out of reach for small to medium enterprises.

Michael Wilson, centre manager at the 3M BIC and director of the HIIP, said: “There’s a gap in the region for easily accessible transformational technologies.  SMEs certainly don’t have the budgets to invest in their own equipment, so having access to it on their doorstep allows them to invest in research and development and exploit innovation through technology, with minimal investment and risk, as well as the chance to compete with larger companies.

“With our holistic approach to development and innovation, we can take a concept from idea to design, right through to fixing anomalies and improving performance to the end result.  Businesses benefit from the expert support of our design team throughout the whole process that can respond to rapid design changes, ensuring the end product is exactly how they want it.”

The National Technology Awards ceremony took place on 16 May at the London Marriott Hotel.