IT has been an incredible few months for the Institute of Digital Innovation based at Teesside University, says its director Dr Jim Terkeurst.
For, in the last two months alone, the Institute, known as the IDI, has supported the start-up of 15 new digital companies through its DigitalCity Fellowship scheme.
Among the exciting new enterprises is a science-based company, Nano Agrochemicals, being launched by Dr Andrew Dean and his mother and fellow Teesside University graduate Sylvia Dean. Over the past six months they have been working with the IDI using computerised design packages to develop a new product range of nanoparticle agrochemicals which they believe will prove more effective in protecting crops in the future.
“We are looking at using nanotechnology to develop products which can offer better crop protection from a wide range of pathogens and soil contaminants, as well as enhancing the health and well-being of crops through improved nutrient and trace mineral uptake.
“Working with the IDI has been a huge benefit to the project and has enabled us to design optimal synthesis mechanisms that we believe will significantly increase the activity of these products and cut down laboratory testing times and costs,” explained Andrew.
The new company is planning to work with researchers in California, the state responsible for 40% of food production in the United States.
“California is facing a series of problems beyond water shortages as it seeks to optimise food production and increase profitability in these difficult economic times. It has huge farms, which have been using many chemicals to safeguard crops and increase food production but needs to look at more sustainable options.”
While working at the IDI, Andrew and Sylvia won the Tees Valley heat of Blueprint business, and science and technology awards for their work with Nano Agrochemicals and they have been shortlisted for the regional finals in Gateshead this October.
Dr TerKeurst, said: “It has been an incredible few months for the IDI. We’ve supported the start-up of 15 new digital companies and it’s clear that this region has the talent, skills and enterprise to succeed on the national and international stage. The IDI is honoured to be playing its part in building our digital future.” The latest 15 new enterprises being launched bring the total number of new start-ups helped by the IDI to 59, covering everything from nanotechnology for agricultural applications, digital media and games, e-security and science and healthcare applications.
Loday Gonpo, the IDI’s Creative Director, said: “Our Fellowships create a conducive environment for up-and-coming entrepreneurs, with the support of mentoring from industry professionals and financial grants to help innovators develop their ideas into new digital businesses”.
:: For more information about the IDI and the Digital Fellowship scheme, e-mail email@example.com