The THYME project at the midpoint
The THYME project is a unique new collaboration between the universities of Hull, York and Teesside that aims to drive growth in the region’s bio-based economy. Now, at the project’s midpoint, we take a moment to consider our progress.
New research partnerships
We have succeeded in bringing the region’s academics together to identify research complementarities and form new partnerships. This has been achieved through inter-university networking events, accompanied by our funding scheme for proof-of-concept (POC) projects. A total of 13 projects have been funded, each of which features an entirely new collaboration between at least two THYME universities. This has kick-started research ranging from studies of the microbiology that drives effective anaerobic digestion to extraction of edible oil from horse parsley.
Engaging academics with industry
THYME has initiated the region’s first ‘intercluster’ events: knowledge transfer workshops involving the innovation clusters associated with each THYME university. These are: BioVale (York), NEPIC (Teesside) and CATCH (Hull) which, together, can connect THYME researchers to over 500 regional businesses. This has enabled us to bring together academics and companies from across the region at three workshops, attracting a total of 149 delegates. In addition, industry partners have been recruited for all of our POC scheme grant projects.
Supporting the biobased entrepreneurs of the future
We have been developing the entrepreneurial skills of the region’s bioeconomy researchers through a series of specialised training courses that enable them to both spot commercial possibilities in their research and then understand the first steps they need to take to build their own bioeconomy business. Four workshops have been held for a total of 53 researchers from across the THYME region. “Thank you again for the opportunity to take part in the workshop, I really came out of it bubbling with motivation and ideas!“ – training participant
We are working on a set of novel tools to engage with wider audiences and help them to understand what the bioeconomy is and why it matters. This includes: a unique exhibition of new, biobased products; interactive school workshops; and an educational board game. We’ve now started on our most ambitious plan: to create a virtual reality computer simulation of the region’s bioeconomy that will help to both to inform and stimulate discussion.
We’re proud of what we have achieved so far, but there’s more on the way! A busy programme of intercluster workshops, entrepreneurship training and outreach events is planned and the final round of proof of concept grants will be announced in the new year. Meanwhile, further interactions between the universities will be encouraged, with the help of our placement support for travel and accommodation. Across the THYME universities, we look forward to the benefits the next phase of the project will bring.
THYME in numbers
· 3 THYME university networking events with a total of around 150 attendees
· 3 intercluster events with a total of 149 delegates
· 13 POC grants awarded with a total of £630k funding
· 4 entrepreneurial training courses for academics with 53 participants
· 6 school events for a total of 150 pupils