The innovation edge

14 February 2014

In a highly competitive world, companies are striving to gain an edge, especially in the design, manufacture and market of high-end consumer durables, where smart innovation can make a tangible difference to market share and profitability.

Dyson ball

This is why Dyson – considered to be at the forefront of innovation – signed its first collaborative agreement with UCL in April 2013. This will allow the university and the company to work in partnership, drawing on multi- disciplinary strengths in technology and design innovation, engineering, research and training.

Building a multi-disciplinary partnership

Since the spring, several projects have been established which engage with many of the university’s research groups in Chemistry and Engineering, and which draw on expertise or support from UCL Business (UCLB) and UCL Consultants Ltd.

Creative engagement

Of particular interest to the Dyson team is UCL’s focus on ideas and innovation, which are then rapidly tested and trialled in laboratories or in test beds such as UCL Engineering’s Institute of Making, which describes itself as ‘a cross-disciplinary research club for those interested in the made world: from makers of molecules to makers of buildings, synthetic skin to spacecraft, soup to diamonds, socks to cities.’

Dyson corp test

Added value

An unexpected outcome of the UCL-Dyson collaboration has been a growing relationship between UCL, Dyson and the National Trust, understanding how dust affects historic properties and furnishings, and how cleaning technologies might be more effective in preserving the past.

A collaboration like the one between UCL and Dyson, driven by ideas and innovation, will lead to more informed technology and design, and ultimately to breakthrough products, which will make a dramatic improvement to the way we live.

“It is a pleasure working with a great UK company on technology and design innovation. These kinds 
of partnerships are an invaluable contribution to the country’s economy, bringing universities, companies and national institutions together, to work on challenges which need more than one discipline to solve.”

Anna Clark, Director of Corporate Partnerships, UCL