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Support Stages


The Lancaster China Catalyst Programme comprised specific pre-planned elements or stages, which were customised to individual company needs as the level of participation increased.

The programme offered three stages of support to companies, which increased in intensity over the course of the programme. This included frequent bi-lateral market visits, matchmaking, workshops and master classes, postgraduate level innovation and collaborative R&D support.

The programme ran over three cycles, the first one beginning in 2014, the second in 2015, with the third commencing in 2016. Each cycle lasted two years in total, over three phases.

Companies were encouraged to participate in all three stages in order to be fully prepared for the opportunities and challenges that they encountered on the journey. At the successful completion of each stage, companies were quality assessed for evidence of the necessary ambition, resource and global mind-set to progress to the next stage, ensuring their continued success.

The three key stages of support, which are outlined in more detail on the following pages, were:

Business meetings

Stage 1: China Catalyst 'Investigate'

Companies had the opportunity to investigate the Chinese market by meeting pre-qualified partners in China and building a solid understanding of what the potential business, market and collaborative opportunities might be. This was achieved through a fully supported market visit to Guangdong in China.

Stage 2: China Catalyst 'Accelerate'

Business meetings

Participants' entry into the Chinese market and development of collaborative bids was accelerated by strengthening the relationships with their Chinese partners, building expert knowledge on doing business with China, and developing coping strategies to overcome some of the potential challenges. This was achieved through a series of specific activities including a bespoke executive programme, inward mission, master classes, and a second market visit to Guangdong.

By the end of this stage, the UK and Chinese companies developed a full collaborative R&D bid, which was rigorously assessed by UK and Chinese experts according to specific criteria. These criteria included technological and business aspects, company competence, as well as application clarity and completeness. The bids formed the basis of development projects in level 3.

Stage 3: China Catalyst 'Collaborate'

Graduate support

Companies collaborated with Chinese partners on a specific project to develop new products, services and technologies, drawing on bespoke support from the Lancaster University China Catalyst Programme to ensure the project succeeds in delivering the required business outcomes.

This was achieved through bespoke support delivered via our graduate specialists, academic supervision of projects, and the Lancaster China Catalyst team in the UK and China, as well as a third market visit to Guangdong fully customised to individual business and project requirements.

Our Chinese partners, the Guangdong Provincial Department of Science and Technology provided significant funding to Chinese partner companies in the form of a grant to support the successful international collaborative partnerships.