Wednesday, August 5, 2020

Buckley Innovation Centre’s support for SMEs wins national award shortlisting

The University of Huddersfield and the 3M Buckley Innovation Centre have been shortlisted for a national technology award in recognition of investment in technology allowing SMEs across the region to access advanced technologies to aid business growth and product development.

The National Technology Awards celebrate the pioneers of new technology and help drive standards and encourage excellence. Shortlisted for the Technology Investment category, the entry focuses on the University of Huddersfield’s technology investment made through the Huddersfield Innovation and Incubation Project (HIIP). This was made possible with £2.9m funding from the Leeds City Region Enterprise Partnership (LEP), delivered by the West Yorkshire Combined Authority, through the Leeds City Region Growth Deal – a £1bn package of government investment to accelerate growth and create jobs across Leeds City Region.

The HIIP has allowed the University of Huddersfield to purchase a range of transformational technologies to assist regional businesses to assess, adopt and use them to develop new and improved products, increase productivity and growth, all managed through the 3M BIC.

The 3M BIC is a wholly-owned subsidiary of the University of Huddersfield, designed for businesses to innovate, collaborate, and facilitate local and regional regeneration. It acts as a gateway to the University’s research centres supporting business to academia collaborations and directly impacts the growth of tenants, network members and wider regional economy.

New equipment at the 3M BIC ranges from scanning and design tools; additive manufacture (AM) in polymers and metals; inspection equipment, including x-Ray; virtual and augmented reality (VR/AR), and eye tracking capabilities, all of which would usually be out of reach for small to medium enterprises. In the coming months, businesses will also be able to access training initiatives to upskill existing staff or new recruits in additive manufacturing.

Michael Wilson, centre manager at the 3M BIC and director of the HIIP, said: “Emerging technologies and competition are putting increased pressure on businesses of all sizes to innovate and diversify. This is having a detrimental effect on SMEs and micro businesses that are struggling to keep up with their bigger counterparts. They are needing to react quicker to marketplace challenges and innovate.

“We spotted a need for businesses, specifically SMEs, to access and adopt transformational technologies, essential for the growth of the UK’s manufacturing sector and to drive forward the Northern Powerhouse. Through the HIIP, SMEs in the region are being given the opportunity to invest in research and development and exploit innovation through technology that would usually be out of reach, as well as the chance to compete with larger companies.”

Roger Marsh, Chair of the Leeds City Region Enterprise Partnership, said: “I am delighted the LEP is supporting local small and medium sized enterprises through the University of Huddersfield and the 3M Buckley Innovation Centre, enabling access to a range of innovative technologies.  We want businesses across West Yorkshire to be able to compete with national counterparts, creating more and better jobs for local people so our region is recognised globally as a strong, successful economy.”

The National Technology Awards ceremony will take place on Thursday 16th May at the London Marriott Hotel.

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