Thirteen leading UK universities have joined with British Design Innovation (BDI)—the trade organisation for leading industrial design, service design and innovation consultancies—to form a national University Design Industry Partnership Scheme (UDIPS), in a bid to create world-changing innovations, products and processes. The scheme underscores the value private sector industrial design companies can bring to discovery-led university research results by acting as a bridge between the technology and consumer-focused market applications, and between originators and industry.

The 13 pioneering UDIPS universities—each one hand-picked to reflect a representative mix of disciplines, students, staff, geographical spread and a commitment to collaborative innovation—are the Universities of Anglia Ruskin, Brunel, Cambridge, Cranfield, Hertfordshire, Loughborough, Middlesex, Nottingham Trent, Queen's Belfast, Staffordshire and Sussex, the Open University and UCA.

"We all need to recognise that the discovery-led nature of university research will only ever be properly commercially exploited if it engages with strategic designers' unique ways of thinking, commercial knowledge and global client portfolios," said Maxine Horn, BDI's CEO.

She added, "Industrial designers with multi-sector experience are also uniquely positioned to identify 'right technology, wrong market' for those who are either not specialists in certain industry sectors, or are specialists in only one industry sector. Our proven knowledge transfer processes are accredited by the Institute of Knowledge Transfer, and our designersí abilities to validate the Visual Business Case not only assists universities, spinouts, start-ups and SMEs to communicate their potential to investors, venture capitalists and other stakeholders, but also prevents market application mistakes from occurring."