Robotic Lab Assistant

Work with the iDMT

The iDMT is a research hub and SME incubator, based at the University of Cambridge, that accelerates access to pharmaceuticals, agrochemicals, functional molecules and molecular materials through machine learning and robotics-based synthesis.

iDMT Facilities

The iDMT hosts both experimental and computational facilities in newly renovated laboratory and office workspaces. For SME partners, iDMT covers agreed consumables budget, access to resources within iDMT and the time of iDMT staff. SMEs only cover the costs of their personnel, travel, exotic reagents and equipment they may wish to test.

 

SME Eligibility

  • SME: an entity engaged in an economic activity, fewer than 250 employees and an annual turnover not exceeding £42M (€50M).

  • Based in the United Kingdom.

  • Expected project duration from 1 day to 1 year.

We want to hear from you at any stage, from idea inception to market delivery of a new product or service! Contact the iDMT by sending an email or filling in our contact form.

 

SME Partners

 

Frequently Asked Questions

Who is eligible for iDMT support?


The iDMT can support projects with SMEs whose economic activity is based in England. We follow the European Commission definition of an SME, for which the criteria are:

  • a staff headcount of < 250 persons AND
  • an annual turnover of ≤ EUR 50 million OR
  • a balance sheet total of ≤ EUR 43 million.

You can find further information about the definition of an SME in the full EU Commission User Guide to the SME Definition or Contact the iDMT team.




How do I apply to work with the iDMT?


We want to hear from you with any idea, from inception through to a fully developed proposal! We have developed our application process to be as simple as possible:

STEP 1: Get in touch with us! You can use the Contact Form on our website or send an email to idmt@ch.cam.ac.uk.

STEP 2: Initial meeting with the iDMT team. We’ll arrange to meet with you for a (virtual) meeting to discuss your project idea and help refine a project proposal.

STEP 3: Submit a proposal. We have a short form for this.

STEP 4: Proposals are reviewed by the iDMT Management Board. Approved proposals will carry on to step 5. Projects which are not approved are provided with feedback and are welcome to submit again following revisions to their proposal.

STEP 5: Start work supported by the iDMT team!




When can I apply?


There are no fixed application dates. Project enquiries are reviewed by the iDMT team on a rolling basis. Before work can start on a project, a project proposal will be reviewed by our Management Board who meet in the last month of each quarter.

If you have a potential project idea you want to discuss, please get in touch with us either using the Contact Form on our website or by sending an email to idmt@ch.cam.ac.uk.




What types of projects does the iDMT support?


Potential project areas include (but are certainly not limited to): library synthesis using robots, AI-supported reaction discovery and optimisation, digital process development tools, data and knowledge management, new tools (algorithms, software packages, hardware for automated synthesis and separations) and development of knowledge integration tools in digital molecular technology.

We welcome projects of varying lengths, from one day (e.g. for a specific library synthesis project) up to one year (e.g. for more complex projects).

The iDMT team is happy to host informal discussions of potential project ideas so please get in touch with us either using our Contact Form or by sending an email to idmt@ch.cam.ac.uk.




What about IP?


The iDMT is not concerned with owning or generating new IP. All data, intellectual property and know-how that an SME brings into the iDMT remains with the SME.

The iDMT is an open innovation environment where researchers from multiple parties, including the University of Cambridge, AstraZeneca, Shionogi and SME partners will work together or in close proximity, depending on the requirements.

In the event of iDMT-SME results requiring new protection or registration, each partner will own all of the results, including intellectual property and know-how, generated by their employees.

Once a project has been approved by the Management Board, a standard Letter of Agreement is signed by the parties involved outlining this relationship.




What facilities does the iDMT make available to partner SMEs?


The iDMT is opening two fully-equipped labs, located in the Department of Chemistry at the University of Cambridge, in late summer 2021. The iDMT space also has an open-plan office space and meeting area, and online computing capabilities.

  • Lab A will host a formulation robot, a six-axis arm robot for manual tasks automation, a continuous flow closed-loop optimisation machine with HPLC-MS and flow low field NMR, a liquid handling robot and a continuous materials synthesis closed-loop rig.

  • Lab B will host two batch, high-throughput robots, HPLC-MS instruments setup for high-throughput analysis and a solids- handling robot.

Until our labs and office space are freshly renovated, the iDMT is operating out of space in both the Yusuf Hamied Department of Chemistry and the Department of Chemical Engineering and Biotechnology at the University of Cambridge.

Take a look at our Facilities information to find out more.




How do SMEs benefit from working with the iDMT?


The iDMT offers SMEs free access to a platform for rapid development and testing of new products and services for the emerging paradigm of digital economy, specifically in the sectors of chemical synthesis of molecules and materials.

Through working with iDMT, SMEs will have access to leading edge academic expertise from the University of Cambridge, experimental/computational facilities and personnel from global pharma companies with knowledge of the markets and technical challenges of digital chemistry.




What if I want to join the iDMT community but don’t have a project idea?


The primary goal of the iDMT is to promote the digitalisation of molecular manufacturing. Our main method is to support SMEs with achieving specific, focussed projects that lead to outputs such as new products, new software, or new internal processes. We support both SMEs with experience of digitalisation as well as those with no prior experience in this field who are looking to adopt a new business model or upskill. If you are interested in this, please get in touch and the iDMT team can help with identifying and refining project ideas.

The iDMT hosts networking events approximately quarterly - visit our News & Event page to find out more. It is also possible to join in the iDMT network through the Connect Health Tech platform where we will notify network members of upcoming events and run polls to determine upcoming network event themes.

You can also view our Resources page which contains:

  • Links to other organisations that provide support for SMEs.

  • Recent publications in academic journals from iDMT team members, and a list of relevant academic journals.

  • Suggestions for useful digital tools for computational chemistry and engineering.




I have another question.


If you have a question that hasn't been answered by our website, please get in touch with us either using the Contact Form on our website or by sending an email to idmt@ch.cam.ac.uk.