Our brand new mission to support digital startups

 New facilities & expert services will drive digital innovation in West London district 

When the Central Research Laboratory was first launched as part of EMI’s department for invention in the 1960s, few people could have imagined how its legacy would inspire a future generation of innovators. 

Now 70 years later, a brand new chapter of digital innovation support, fuelled by a £1.6m fund from the Research England Develop Fund (RED) will further propel a future  of brave invention and bold innovation. 

Since its inception in 2015, the newly formed Central Research Laboratory (CRL), located within EMI’s original factory estate and part of the Plus X network of innovation hubs, has helped 100s of hardware pioneers transform early stage product concepts into viable businesses.  

Through its world class accelerator programme, workshop facilities and expert support, CRL’s track record of support includes 55 market ready products, £4million in funding and awards and the creation of over 60 new jobs. More than 2,100 businesses have interacted with the Central Research Laboratory with 343 start-ups and early-stage businesses using the facilities. 

Now it’s time to reveal a brand new chapter in the story. The RED fund which is part of the Making The Future Digital project in partnership with Brunel University London and regeneration property specialists, U+I plc, will help launch a wide range of new expert services and specialist maker facilities for digital startups. The support includes a focus on business concepts being planned by graduates and staff from universities in West London. 

Access to virtual prototyping and a new immersive space will allow multiple users to collaborate on design through 3D sharing and innovation showcasing. The virtual prototyping laboratory will enable entrepreneurs to perform virtual engineering modelling, build digital twins, creative content, physical products, services and immersive experiences.  

Currently in early construction, Plus X Powerhouse will become the new hub for Making the Future Digital. With a capacity for 300 entrepreneurial minds, Plus X Powerhouse will triple the size of the Central Research Laboratory. Using sustainable building materials and light infused space, the new innovation hub will offer the best digital connectivity in the region with world class work space designed to enhance health and wellbeing. 

“Making the Future Digital will draw on the experience and networks we have developed during the original project and will create a community of the brightest and the best digital minds in the nationally significant economy of West London,” said Prof Geoff Rodgers, Vice-Provost of Research at Brunel. 

“By extending into the digital arena, Brunel and our partners will boost our impact on this economy through nurturing digital innovation, facilitating the development of new digital products and services, and creating new jobs. I look forward to seeing Brunel students and alumni as part of future success stories.” 

“This is a truly exciting new phase in our support for a new generation of digital innovators” says Mat Hunter, Co-CEO, Plus X. “The team at Brunel have been an incredible partner to work with, helping us design a world class range of support services and facilities that have turned founder concepts into successful global businesses. We look forward to working together over the next 4 years, supporting Brunel students, partner university students and entrepreneurial talent both locally and UK wide.” 

Among the many business accelerator success stories to have emerged from CRL is Aceleron. The battery re-purposing business was co-founded in 2016 by Brunel graduate and Shell Entrepreneur of the Year, Carlton Cummins. Aceleron has recently secured £2 million of equity investment to further expand its operations. Cosicare is another recent accelerator success story. Led by female founder and Brunel design graduate, Lauren Bell, the eczema relief company has secured a raft of funding, investment and awards, with an imminent global launch planned this year. 

University partners joining Brunel in Making the Future Digital are City, Imperial College London, Royal Holloway, UCL and the University of West London. The project has support and endorsements from a host of local, regional and national businesses, including Heathrow Airports, Hillingdon Chamber of Commerce, West London Business and Innovate UK. 

We’re so excited to commence an exciting new journey of support for digital innovators. We hope you can join us!  

To find out more, contact us at hello@centralresearchlaboratory.com 

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