Business innovation project receives £1.8m funding boost

Sheffield
Credit: Shutterstock.com/ Shahid Khan

A project set up to support businesses across the region to innovate through collaboration with the city’s two universities has received £1.8m in further funding.

The Sheffield Innovation Programme was set up in 2016 to support small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs) from across the region to access academic expertise, facilities and resources at both Sheffield Hallam University and the University of Sheffield to stimulate innovation to deliver new products and services.

The programme is jointly funded by both universities, the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) and the Higher Education Innovation Fund (HEIF). The new phase of the project also includes the Sheffield City Region Local Enterprise Partnership, and enables the project to continue for a further 3 years until2022.

The programme is free for businesses to use and since it began, more than 200 academics from both universities have worked with more than 300 companies from across the region. This has helped businesses in the region to engage in more than £1.2million worth of collaborative projects through Innovate UK programmes.

Professor Roger Eccleston, Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Academic) at Sheffield Hallam University, said: “We’re delighted the project has received further funding which highlights the impact it is having for businesses in the region and the wider economy.

“Many of the collaborations have resulted in lasting professional relationships and, more importantly, market success for the businesses we’ve worked with, contributing to the economic growth of the region as a whole.

“Thanks to input from our academics and their research, a number of businesses have been able to find solutions to real-life business problems and bring new products to market. This is just one of the ways Sheffield Hallam utilises its research and innovation to support regional businesses whilst attracting new inward investment, helping to drive future economies.”

As part of the programme, the universities have provided businesses with academic support for projects, workshop-based innovation guidance, student interns and their world-class facilities.

Professor Dave Petley, Vice-President for Research at the University of Sheffield, said: “We’re delighted that this successful programme, which has such a profound impact on businesses and economic growth in our region, will continue for another three years.

“This scheme is a fantastic way for regional businesses to access our world-leading facilities and academic expertise to drive innovation and find solutions to the challenges they face.

“At the University of Sheffield, we have a deeply ingrained connection to our region and a sense of pride in our civic values. Contributing to the growth and regeneration of the Sheffield City Region is a key part of our founding mission and ongoing strategy today.

“This is an excellent example of working together with partners in our region to drive economic growth.”

James Muir, Chair of the Sheffield City Region Local Enterprise Partnership, said:“It’s inspiring to see our region once again leading the way with cutting-edge university and industry collaborations. I’m proud that the Sheffield City Region Local Enterprise Partnership is able to support this important programme, with more than £200,000 in match funding and an active role in selecting two new specialist innovation advisors to work on the project.

“Collaborations between our two leading universities and our innovative and forward-thinking businesses leads to exciting new developments and enables companies to bring new products to the market, further strengthening the economy and boosting supply-chains.”