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Pink header image with illustration of a newspaper in the centre reading 'The Good News #17'
August, 2020

The Good News #17

Hello, bonjour and hola, whether you’re taking flight or locked down again we have good news…and plenty of it! Read on to find out about some of our favourite recent news stories in the world of innovation and tech.

UWE Bristol x Future Space
Resident businesses at UWE Bristol’s science and tech hub Future Space have secured £1.3m in Innovate UK coronavirus grants.

Innovate UK funding was created by the government to help companies continue innovation and development activities through the coronavirus crisis. The businesses that have secured the grant include biodevice tech IP specialist BiotIP; digital experts 500More; pioneers in cyber-physical operating systems Indus Four; software solutions provider HBXL; mass spectrometry experts Mass Spec Analytical; D scanning and software engineering firm OR3D; and eco-technology provider to the transport and aviation industries Intercede Ventures.

In addition, transport solutions innovator Esoterix was one of 25 organisations to snap up a share of a £9.4m pot from the Department of Transport, delivered by Innovate UK in its 2020 First of a Kind competition, which encourages innovation in the rail industry. The £370,000 grant has enabled Esoterix to recruit four new members of staff to support with the project, which will be completed by the end of March 2021.

The South West region fosters creativity and innovation and Future Space is one of the amazing examples of this. We’re delighted to see the UK government get behind some of the companies at this hub and looking forward to seeing how these organisations continue to develop.

Image of table and chairs in FutureSpace at UWE Bristol

Waitrose and John Lewis
The John Lewis partnership, including everyone’s favourite classy supermarket Waitrose, has announced plans to increase its use of electric vans for deliveries, as part of its aim to end the use of fossil fuels for its entire 4,800 vehicle fleet.

The two new designs of electric vehicle for Waitrose food deliveries and small John Lewis orders will be trialled in early 2021 with plans to switch 1700 vehicles over to electric by the end of next year.

It’s estimated that the move will save over 20,000 tonnes of C02 every year! The initiative follows another recent announcement from the John Lewis partnership that the company is building a dedicated biomethane gas filling station to allow its largest heavy goods vehicles to use a low-carbon alternative to diesel. It’s also moving company and pool cars to electric and is committed to increasing the number of vehicle charging points for customers and for its vans in its shop car parks.

Over lockdown, carbon emissions began to fall as human activity decreased, while we know that this is a temporary measure and as the world returns to ‘normal’ emissions will rise again, it’s exciting to see a large, well known organisation taking steps to reduce its impact. Fingers crossed it inspires more companies to follow suit!

Image of the brand new Waitrose and John Lewis electric delivery vans

Make with Ada
Leading provider of commercial software solutions for Ada, C and C++, AdaCore has launched its 5th annual “Make with Ada” programming competition for developers across the globe.

Running until January 31st 2021 and offering over $9000 on total prizes, AdaCore is inviting participants to build embedded applications using the Ada and SPARK programming languages.

Over the past four years, the competition has produced impressive software engineering projects, developed by participants worldwide, including a smart base IoT adjustable bed (shown in image below), an electrocardiogram detection device, a high integrity sumobot, a Swiss Army smartwatch, an automated plant sprinkler.

The projects will be judged according to the following criteria:
– Software quality – Does the software meet its requirements?;
– Openness – Is the project Freely Licensed Open Source Software (FLOSS)?
– “Buzz factor” – Does it have a wow effect to appeal to the software community?

We’re suckers for innovative tech and software projects so we can’t wait to see what participants develop for the competition.

Image of a previous winner, smart base IoT adjustable bed

Goodbye, au revoir and adios, if you’re not ready to leave us, why not explore our Work page and take a peek at some of our past projects?