University to Help SureScreen Grow

Bondholder SureScreen Scientifics has been awarded £68,430 from fellow Bondholder the University of Derby Invest to Grow fund to develop a new bespoke DNA research facility which has created eight jobs.

The independent family-run business based in Morley had been working on a new area of DNA research focused on environmental and ecological screening when it recognised the potential market opportunities and approached the Invest to Grow fund to contribute to the expansion of the business.

One of these research projects had developed the ability to identify the presence of protected species, such as the Great Crested Newt, by carrying out a DNA analysis in an area before a building project commences.

Traditionally, when plans are created for building sites, traps would be set to test whether there are any protected species present in that area. SureScreen has found a way to do this by carrying out a DNA analysis of a water sample which is more accurate, ecologically friendly and cost effective.

The funding has enabled the company to increase its capacity for this type of work by renovating a building next to its existing DNA research facility and installing a new laboratory so that it is fit for purpose.

The new facility has created more business opportunities and lead to the recruitment of eight new staff. Two PhD students from the University of Derby have also joined the team for added resource.

David Campbell, Surescreen's Business Manager, said: “Invest to Grow has provided a great opportunity to access investment capital, which has propelled us forward in a way we would not have been able to do organically.

“We are working with a lot of companies that we did not work with previously. The project has enabled us to diversify our offer. This led to a significant increase in both our sales and profitability over the first year, with both increasing by double-figure percentages.

“We would be keen to consider employing graduates and post-graduates from the University of Derby moving forward.”

Mark Wheddon, Head of Strategic Programmes at the University said: “We were delighted to support SureScreen Scientifics with the construction of their new laboratory, which has been a real success story and accelerated the growth of the company. Along with Invest to Grow funding support the company has also accessed other offers and expertise from the University of Derby, which we look forward to continuing in the future.”