Dr Paul Rose, a researcher in the University’s School of Chemistry, is examining the extraction and application of natural dyes from botanical sources. The dyes have a number of commercial applications, but the primary use is for colouring hair.
The technology employed by the Leeds team is more cost-effective than existing methods and aims to minimise environmental impact in comparison to traditional extraction procedures.
The research is led by Professor Chris Rayner in the School of Chemistry group, and Dr. Richard Blackburn in the University’s Centre for Technical Textiles. Together, their ultimate aim is to spin a new company out of the University to advance this new green technology.
Dr Rose has secured a Technology Strategy Board (TSB) grant for industrial collaboration with North Yorkshire company, Critical Processes Ltd. He has also won separate support from Yorkshire Concept (Proof of Commercial Concept Fund), for which the University provides matched funding. Significant support has also been provided by the University’s Clothworker’s Innovation Fund, which is sponsored by The Clothworkers’ Company.
The project is guided by the University’s Enterprise & Innovation Office and a patent application has been filed to protect the technology.
Paul has also been supported by the Yorkshire Enterprise Fellowship (YEF) programme, a Yorkshire Forward-funded initiative providing business training and mentoring to help researchers from the region’s Universities to commercialise their ideas in the biotech, healthcare and chemistry sectors.
The scheme, managed by business growth specialists YTKO, was launched in 2007, and, to date, has supported more than 60 fellows in the region to develop their business plans, gain commercial expertise and increase their exposure to the investment community. The YEF mentoring support provided to Paul for the project came from Ian Grundy, Senior Vice President – Global Sales and Marketing at TeraView Ltd.
On his experience of the YEF scheme, Paul said:
“The programme has been extremely enjoyable, and has provided me with an excellent level of support, training and mentoring. The path to commercialisation of our products and processes has been accelerated and focussed, and the skills I have developed during my YEF year have significantly helped to attract income, and to plan for the future.”
Brian McCaul, Director of Commercialisation at the University of Leeds commented:
“It’s always exciting to see university technology gaining support from external funding bodies: the validation is important for moving our inventions towards real-world use. YEF, along with Yorkshire Concept, the TSB and the Clothworkers’ Innovation Fund have been essential in moving this forward. It’s a good example of what the University can do with its external partners – and we hope to see many more.”
YTKO’s Dr Suzanne Emmett, YEF Director, added: “We are delighted with Paul’s achievements in gaining further funding. The YEF scheme is performing extremely well and is expected to exceed the output targets for levered funds.”
Paul will be exhibiting his research at Venturefest Yorkshire 2010.