How the University of Plymouth is Changing the World

At Student Rooms 4 U we are proud to provide accommodation for students from all around the world who attend or will be attending the University of Plymouth or the neighbouring colleges. Apart from our great accommodation, did you know that the University of Plymouth is changing the world?

When you’re a fresher, uni life becomes your world. But it’s not only your world that Plymouth uni is changing, as the university is involved in supporting a number start-up and established companies. They do this by helping up to 4,000 businesses a year to develop new products and help the environment, by making rooms and kit available for their use.

In 2019, the University of Plymouth is one of the headline sponsors of the Plymouth Business Awards, and sees this as a way to reach out to the businesses it hopes to support. Aside from their own staffing, the university supports 5,000 jobs in the city, and has another 17,000 students studying remotely worldwide, putting research and innovation at the heart of what it does. Read on to find out which companies are making breakthroughs, thanks to the support of Plymouth Uni.

Tackling antibiotic resistance

Professor Mathew Upton is working with the UK’s premier industrial biotechnology company (Ingenza Ltd) to tackle antibiotic resistance, as it’s predicted that drug resistance will kill more people than cancer does by the year 2050. The project took a major step forward in September 2018, when Professor Upton launched a spinout company, Amprologix, to drive the potentially life-saving work.

Finding out how the UK’s first deep geothermal electricity plant could benefit mankind

Dr Hazel Gibson, and other researchers from the University’s Sustainable Earth Institute, are involved in the United Downs Deep Geothermal Power project in Cornwall. Dr Gibson and her team are undertaking independent research into people’s perception of the new technology and what it could mean for their neighbourhood. The company leading the project, Geothermal Engineering Ltd, hopes the plant will supply up to 3 MWe (Megawatt electrical) of electricity, enough energy to power 3,000 homes.

Creating a new water quality testing device

A spin-out business, Molendotch Limited, founded on university biomedical research is developing ground-breaking new water testing products. They have developed an innovative assay that is able to rapidly identify the concentration of faecal bacteria in water without the need to wait days for laboratory results – they can be delivered in mere minutes. In 2018, the company entered into a collaboration agreement with Palintest Limited to bring the test to market and develop further products, and its rapid water testing kits are this year being deployed at sites across the UK and Ireland.

Developing harvesting robots for agriculture

University spin-out Fieldwork Robotics, founded by lecturer in robotics Dr Martin Stoelen, signed an agreement with leading UK soft-fruit grower the Hall Hunter Partnership (HHP) to expand development of its harvesting robots that will be capable of picking a range of fruit and vegetables.

Creating a dementia screening app

Dr Craig Newman, from the university, and Dr Rupert Noad, from University Hospitals Plymouth NHS Trust, have developed an award-winning app (ACEmobile) that helps to carry out dementia screening tests. Around 50 million people worldwide are living with dementia, and the number is rising. A free-to-use iPad based tool, the app has been developed using human factors testing to reduce the error rate when used in routine clinical practice.

Developing a vaccine for mastitis in cows

A university spin-out company, co-founded by Dr Michael Jarvis, secured a major grant to support the development of a vaccine to combat one of the main causes of mastitis in cows, E.coli. As well as being a significant financial issue, the disease is also a serious problem in low and middle-income countries which rely on milk as a staple food source. An effective vaccine would remove the need for farmers to use antibiotics and cut the risk of the bacteria developing antibiotic resistance.

Helping crops to flourish in artificial lighting

A new project, Plant Factory Cornwall, aims to use artificial lighting powered by solar energy to create the best possible conditions for fruit and vegetables to flourish.

Scientists believe it will reduce the stresses plants face in normal conditions, while improving global food security and reducing food miles. It could provide a particular boost to farmers and growers in Cornwall.

Sited on the University campus, the project is based within a multi-tier production unit constructed in partnership with SolaGrow, a company based just outside Penzance. The project is funded through Agri-Tech Cornwall, a three-year £9.6 million initiative part-funded by the European Regional Development Fund, with match-funding from Cornwall Council.

Driving digital innovation in the South West

Supported by a £6.5million grant from Research England, the new Creative Technology Network brings together universities and industrial partners to pool research and innovation expertise to developing cutting-edge practices, techniques and products in creative digital technologies.

Finding an environmentally-friendly way of repairing composite materials

During the past five years, the University of Plymouth has helped South West businesses access about £2million of investment for Knowledge Transfer Partnership (KTP). In 2018, the University launched a number of new Knowledge Transfer Partnerships (KTPs) with South West businesses. One of these is a collaboration with Cornwall-based business Alan Harper Composites. A Plymouth graduate and KTP Associate is helping the business develop innovative and more environmentally-friendly commercial methods to repair composite materials.

Helping to zoom in on new LED technology

In 2018, Plymouth Electron Microscopy Centre (PEMC), headed by director Dr Natasha Stephen, launched its latest piece of equipment: the new Focused Ion Beam Scanning Electron Microscope (FIB-SEM). It’s only the second in the country to be made available for commercial use by a university, and can simultaneously scan, analyse and mill through a range of materials, creating digital 3D models at a nanoscale.

Thanks to a £1.7million grant from the EU’s European Regional Development Fund, more than 40 Devon businesses will get free access to the equipment between now and the end of 2020.  The first commercial user of FIB-SEM was Devon based firm Plessey Semiconductors. The new kit is unveiling new levels of detail that will help Plessey continue to develop micron scale LEDs for future lighting and display technologies.


As you can see from this article the University of Plymouth is at the leading edge of world class research and innovation. We are delighted to be able to provide great accommodation that are all within 250m of the University. Interested? Why not visit our website or call today for more details.