Around 70 business representatives from across Cumbria attended the launch of a £2.1 million project to help small and medium sized businesses in the county benefit from expertise across the University of Cumbria, Lancaster University and the University of Central Lancashire.
The possibility of the development of lucrative ties between academia and commerce saw a wide range of businesses attend an event which it’s hoped will mark the start of innovative projects.
Eco-innovation Cumbria has been funded by the European Regional Development Fund and will offer businesses access to a programme of events which will include detailed forums, lectures and residential workshops. Funds are also available for placement of researchers into businesses where there are ideas for innovation which will have environmental benefits.
“This is just the start of what we hope will be an exciting time of collaboration between our staff and students and the wide range of businesses who are based in Cumbria,” said John Berry from the university enterprise division. “The university is about providing the best for people who live in Cumbria. This project is an ideal opportunity for the university to actively develop innovation and development opportunities.”
From undergraduate research to more intensive support work on business led projects are among areas where the university hopes collaborative agreements with entrepreneurs can be forged.
“We know SME’s – big and small – have ideas which could take off if they had some support to make it happen,” Annette Suddes from the University of Cumbria said.”This could be in the form of a short term placement where a student works exclusively on a project or a longer term scheme delivered one of the partner universities.”
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NOTE TO EDITORS
The project is receiving up to £2.1m of funding from the England European Regional Development Fund as part of the European Structural and Investment Funds Growth Programme 2014-2020. The Department for Communities and Local Government (and in London the intermediate body Greater London Authority) is the Managing Authority for European Regional Development Fund. Established by the European Union, the European Regional Development Fund helps local areas stimulate their economic development by investing in projects which will support innovation, businesses, create jobs and local community regenerations. For more information visit https://www.gov.uk/european-growth-funding.