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New campaign to help Merseyside businesses tackle bugs

Greater awareness of the impact of bacteria in the workplace has the potential to transform the success or otherwise of a vast range of businesses.

That’s the belief behind a new support programme which is reaching out to Merseyside-based SMEs that may be concerned about the hygienic integrity of their workplace or which are developing new technologies to improve standards around infection control.

The campaign, run by the Liverpool-based iiCON Consortium, is talking to a broad range of Merseyside firms.

“Unwanted bacteria can produce very significant problems and how well the issue is tackled is fundamental to the operation of businesses as varied as food manufacturing, vets, care homes, tourist attractions, gyms and salons,” says Dr Lisa Baldwin, who is heading up the programme for iiCON.

“Bacteria are not just a concern in high footfall or high contact environments, where they can affect consumer and employee confidence. The concern can involve anything from the type of flooring in the workplace, to the performance of cleaning products or the effectiveness of clean room environments.”

The programme, which is paid for by European Regional Development Fund (ERDF), is also providing support for research and development activities taking place on Merseyside that are focused on the issue.  As such, iiCON is also reaching out to SMEs in pharma, med tech, diagnostics, precision engineering, electrical manufacturers and other innovation-based concerns.

The support includes access to Liverpool-based research scientists and facilities, including specialist in bacteria-related problem solving, testing and analysis.

“Better hygiene, infection control and diagnostics all have a huge role to play in the future and we are fortunate in that there is a great deal of scientific expertise on Merseyside in these areas,” added Lisa.

“The fully funded services we can provide include assessments of the hygienic integrity of products, processes, workspaces, and equipment. We can also help overcome product development roadblocks and open doors to academic, NHS and industry collaborations.” The funded programme runs until June 2023.

iiCON’s mission is to support the discovery, development, and deployment of new products and treatments for infectious diseases. Led by Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine, its consortium partners are Unilever, Liverpool University Hospitals Foundation Trust, University of Liverpool, Evotec, and Infex Therapeutics.

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