MD Club Autumn Social 2019

MD Club Autumn Social 2019


  • 90% of attendees rated the social either Excellent or Very Good*
  • 100% of attendees either made new useful contacts or progressed existing relationships *
  • Both Sheffield universities provided teaser demonstrations on food sustainability

Thursday 24th October saw the annual MD Club Social take place at Saw Grinders Union, nestled in one of Sheffield’s oldest industrial districts, Kelham Island. MD Club socials take place each year and are an excellent opportunity for like-minded Sheffield City Region businesses and academics from both Sheffield universities to come together and explore partnerships and knowledge exchange in an informal setting.

Guests were welcomed by Eleanor Edey, Regional Partnerships Development Officer at the University of Sheffield, and the MD Club team.

MD Club 24.10.19

Eleanor opened the event welcoming both new and familiar faces, introducing the interactive experiences and highlighting collaboration success stories from MD Club members. Kevin Parkin, Chairman of Parkin Ltd and Chairman of the newly formed MD Steering Group, gave a further welcome highlighting the important role of the MD Club to draw together this regional network of academics and industry.

MD Club 24.10.19

The Autumn Social provided two teaser experiences for the first MD Club event of 2020 which will focus on food sustainability. Dr Cecile Morris and Michael Benson from Sheffield Hallam University’s Business School spoke on the success of the ‘Food Innovation Consultancy Challenge’ where a final year student project with ASDA won high acclaim for its contribution to reducing the sugar content in its own brand biscuits. Christian Reynolds, Knowledge Exchange Research Fellow at the University of Sheffield, showcased the ‘Climate Change Food Challenge’ game that provides an interactive way to learn more about the carbon footprint of our food.

MD Club 24.10.19

Communications Consultant Lucy Harper spoke with attendees regarding the MD Club campaign to capture stories about the innovative partnerships between the region’s businesses and Sheffield’s universities, demonstrating the opportunities and routes available for collaboration. This includes commercial and research partnerships, student placements or graduate recruitment through the Knowledge Transfer Partnership (KTP). We’ll shortly be sharing examples of how companies such as The Floow, Maxons Sweets and Lablogic have utilised the MD Club network to further successful collaborations and company growth. Please contact Bryony Price on if you have a similar story to share.

* Of surveyed attendees.

Sheffield Innovation Programme Receives Funding Boost

Originally published on

A successful project set up to support businesses across the region to innovate through collaboration with the city’s two universities has received £1.8m in further funding.

The Sheffield Innovation Programme was set up in 2016 to support small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs) from across the region to access academic expertise, facilities and resources at both the University of Sheffield and Sheffield Hallam University to stimulate innovation to deliver new products and services.

The programme is jointly funded by both universities, the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) and the Higher Education Innovation Fund (HEIF). The new phase of the project also includes the Sheffield City Region Local Enterprise Partnership, and enables the project to continue for a further three years until 2022.

The programme is free for businesses to use and, since it began, more than 200 academics from both universities have worked with more than 300 companies from across the region. This has helped businesses in the region to engage in more than £1.2m worth of collaborative projects through Innovate UK programmes.

Professor Dave Petley, Vice-President for Research at the University of Sheffield, said: “We’re delighted that this successful programme, which has such a profound impact on businesses and economic growth in our region, will continue for another three years.

“This scheme is a fantastic way for regional businesses to access our world-leading facilities and academic expertise to drive innovation and find solutions to the challenges they face.

“At the University of Sheffield, we have a deeply ingrained connection to our region and a sense of pride in our civic values. Contributing to the growth and regeneration of the Sheffield City Region is a key part of our founding mission and ongoing strategy today.

“This is an excellent example of working together with partners in our region to drive economic growth.”

As part of the programme, the universities have provided businesses with academic support for projects, workshop-based innovation guidance, student interns and their world-class facilities.

Catal International produces catalysts for industrial applications and was looking for support to develop an advanced catalyst system, incorporating Potassium Titanate, for application in Municipal Solid Waste conversion processes.

This scheme is a fantastic way for regional businesses to access our world-leading facilities and academic expertise to drive innovation and find solutions to the challenges they face.

Professor Dave Petley

The company approached the Sheffield Innovation Programme to access high-performance equipment and facilities from the University of Sheffield to enable the company to develop a fibre-free Potassium Titanate product in order to overcome occupational health concerns. As a result of this, Catal is now working on scaling-up production quantities to a commercial level.

Andrew Holt, owner and CEO of Catal International Ltd, said: “Without the assistance and the facilities of the Innovation programme, we would not have been able to develop the product to the current position.”

Another example of the Sheffield Innovation Programme’s work is with Infraglo Ltd, a Sheffield-based burner manufacturer. Sheffield Hallam University academic staff worked with the company to win a Knowledge Transfer Partnership (KTP) from Innovate UK, based around embedding advanced electronic and product design methods to develop innovative ‘Internet of Things’ products for integration and deployment with burner products.

Nick Shirt, Commercial Director at Infraglo Ltd said: “SIP bridged the gap between applied research and commercialisation by giving us access to expertise in the design and development of our innovative products.”

Professor Roger Eccleston, Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Academic) at Sheffield Hallam University, said: “We’re delighted the project has received further funding which highlights the impact it is having for businesses in the region and the wider economy.

“Many of the collaborations have resulted in lasting professional relationships and, more importantly, market success for the businesses we’ve worked with, contributing to the economic growth of the region as a whole.

“Thanks to input from our academics and their research, a number of businesses have been able to find solutions to real-life business problems and bring new products to market.

“This is just one of the ways Sheffield Hallam utilises its research and innovation to support regional businesses whilst attracting new inward investment, helping to drive future economies.”

James Muir, Chair of the Sheffield City Region Local Enterprise Partnership, said: “It’s inspiring to see our region once again leading the way with cutting-edge university and industry collaborations. I’m proud that the Sheffield City Region Local Enterprise Partnership is able to support this important programme, with more than £200,000 in match funding and an active role in selecting two new specialist innovation advisors to work on the project.

“Collaborations between our two leading universities and our innovative and forward-thinking businesses leads to exciting new developments and enables companies to bring new products to the market, further strengthening the economy and boosting supply-chains.”

Working closely with the Sheffield City Region Local Enterprise Partnership and other key partners, Sheffield Innovation Programme provides research and innovation to support regional businesses whilst attracting new inward investment.

Royce Translational Centre Tours

The Royce Translational Centre (RTC) is opening for tours. This is a rare opportunity to tour world-leading engineering research facilities at the University of Sheffield Innovation District.

You can sign up for a tour on the 6 November via eventbrite (

This event is aimed at R&D engineers in industry, particularly SMEs who might be interested in finding out more about what the RTC, LVV, and ICAIR can offer them.

Free transport will be available to and from Sheffield city centre and tours will be followed by a drinks reception