25th November 2014, 8:53am
Technology Hubs win national Next Gen Award
3D printer The University of Lincoln’s state-of-the-art Technology Hub has won a national award in recognition of the distinctive support it offers to businesses and the community.

The Lincoln Technology Hub, based in the University’s School of Architecture & Design, offers free access to 3D printers, colour scanners and laser cutters, as well as the chance to benefit from the University’s expertise in art, design, media and heritage sectors. It is one of five technology facilities in the county funded by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF).

The Lincolnshire Technology Hubs, set up as part of the County Council’s onlincolnshire project to give businesses access to industry-leading technology and fully funded specialist help, have won the Digital Education and Expertise Award at the national Next Generation Digital Challenge Awards 2014.

The awards recognise innovative and inspiring projects which improve infrastructure or access to new technology, and run alongside the annual NextGen Conference - the UK's leading event for next generation broadband activity.

Since launching in February 2014, the Lincoln Technology Hub has already been consulted by almost 100 local businesses. It supports a wide range of trades, from architecture firms looking to create 3D models to engineers who want to develop product prototypes. It also works with Crick Smith, the University of Lincoln’s renowned conservation consultancy division, to create identical 3D replicas of intricate historic artefacts.

Michael Poole, Business Development Manager for the University of Lincoln’s College of Arts, manages the facility alongside Senior Technician Kevin Hallsworth. The Hub recently added more new technologies, including Oculus Rift and GoPro sets, which are overseen by Mark Aldridge from the Lincoln School of Film & Media.

The Lincoln Technology Hub team has presented on the benefits of new digital design and make technologies at a number of locations, including the House of Lords, RAF Scampton and Lincolnshire Showground.

Michael Poole said: “The Lincoln Technology Hub has not yet celebrated its first anniversary; however the service is already making a considerable impact on business development across the region. We enable companies to try out new equipment before making a purchase and are currently working with a large number of clients in a variety of ways - from offering guidance on new technologies and providing advice on securing funding, to designing new components and helping to reverse engineer existing parts already used in business processes. The Hub is proving to be a valuable asset for the county’s businesspeople, who are keen to be more innovative and effective when developing new products.”

The University of Lincoln also supports two of the other Lincolnshire Technology Hubs, in Louth and Horncastle. Experts from the University of Lincoln’s School of Sport & Exercise Science, Francis Mulloy and Professor David Mullineaux, lead the Louth Hub, which provides free access to professional movement analytics through high speed 3D video technology, and the Lincoln School of Film & Media supports the Hub based at Mortons of Horncastle.

The final two Technology Hubs are located in Mablethorpe and Boston.

Speaking about the award win, Councillor Colin Davie, Executive Member for Economic Development at Lincolnshire County Council, said: “I am delighted for everyone who has been involved in setting up the hubs and has contributed to their success. This award is a tribute to all their hard work and commitment to helping Lincolnshire business not only survive but thrive. After all this is what the hubs are all about: helping businesses stay up to date with the latest advances in technology so they can compete on a level playing field in a global market place.”

The Lincoln Technology Hub is open Monday – Friday between 10am - 4pm. Businesses interested in using the facilities or accessing up to 12 hours of fully funded business support can book an appointment by calling 01522 835097 / 837494 or emailing thehub@lincoln.ac.uk. For more information, visit: www.makerhub.co.uk.
--Ends--