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NPL offers support to inventors

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Inventors and entrepreneurs are invited to apply for a new fund that can help them bring their ideas forward.

The National Physical Laboratory (NPL) is offering a share of £500,000 in funding from the Department of Trade & Industry (DTI) to small businesses that have measurement issues with products that are almost ready for commercialisation.

In addition to the financial support, firms will also receive scientific help from experts at the NPL. Scientists will be matched with businesses based on their expertise and the ideas firms put forward.

"To bring a product to market you need to be able to prove it does what you claim it does," said Colin Mackechnie, knowledge transfer executive at NPL. "The specialist measurement testing available from NPL can provide the scientific proof that is needed to take the next step, for example attracting investors."

Over 70 small businesses are currently receiving advice and support from the NPL. One such firm, Ultrasonics Technologies, run by retired engineer Henry Ratcliff has had interest in his water disinfector from an American manufacturer. NPL experts helped Ratcliff perform tests on his device that proved the underlying idea was sound and marketable.

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