Cambridge Network helps Magna open doors to innovation

An Innovation Day focused on the future of mobility has enabled leading global automotive supplier Magna International to make important connections with researchers, start-ups and companies in and around Cambridge.

Keen to find out about the latest developments, with a view to adding to its portfolio of products, Magna - which has 348 manufacturing operations and almost 100 product development, engineering and sales centres in 28 countries - partnered for a second time with Cambridge Network to identify likely contacts in the region.
Cambridge Network organised an Innovation Day at Cambridge University in December 2017, comprising a number of 1-2-1 technology scouting meetings between start-ups and representatives of Magna’s Corporate Engineering and R&D department, together with a networking lunch and presentation. Its success led to a repeat of the event last week (3rd June), when scientists from five different universities and several start-ups met the Magna R&D team in a number of pre-arranged meetings.

Last week, a wider audience of 70 attended a presentation by Ian Simmons, Magna's VP Business Development R&D, to hear how the company is defining and creating the future of mobility, before networking over lunch.

The Innovation Day focused on future advances in technology, including electric and autonomous vehicles and brand-new ways to move. Once again the event was held in the University of Cambridge’s Maxwell Centre, where Magna now has an office. This year the number of technologies was widened to include, among others:

advanced materials and processing
sensors (including vision, lidar and radar)
machine diagnostics / prognostics
electric traction motors
energy storage (including batteries and supercaps)
advanced robotics in manufacturing.

Cambridge Network's Events Manager Louise Rushworth, organiser of the Innovation Day, said: "We worked with our contacts across the city to find start-ups and researchers who were working on some of these technologies at various stages of commercialisation. Often very new start-ups don't have websites, so introductions via skilled and well-connected partners is extremely effective, albeit labour intensive. The final meeting schedule (a series of 45-minute meetings) across the day was therefore extremely bespoke.

"It was a pleasure to once again work with the Magna team and to meet new companies and researchers working in Cambridge and beyond. If there are any start-ups or researchers who have technologies in the areas listed above, who would like to get in touch with Magna but missed out on the event, please get in touch."

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