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University welcomes call to extend work with SMEs

Participants at a Lancaster University workshop for SME owner/managers

Participants at a Lancaster University workshop for SME owner/managers

03 October 2013

Lancaster University has welcomed calls from the CBI for universities to extend their work with SMEs, including research collaborations.

In a recent interview John Cridland, Director-General of the CBI, called for universities to do more to reach out to work with SMEs, saying that he would like to see more research collaborations with SMEs and universities.

Lancaster University has worked with more than 5,000 companies since 1999; it has seen more than 250 new businesses and more than 4,000 new jobs created.

Professor Andrew Atherton, the University’s Deputy Vice-Chancellor, said: “Universities are uniquely positioned to help small and medium-sized businesses to innovate and grow, and in turn provide growth and employment in the economy.

“We recognise and welcome the specific focus the CBI are highlighting in term of long-term research-focused collaborations between SMEs and universities such as Lancaster, in addition to accessing training and consultancy advice such as the outstanding LEAD programme developed by Lancaster University Management School.

“Over the last decade and more Lancaster University has focused heavily on developing novel models of collaborative research with traditional hard-to-reach SMEs, including PhD programmes underpinning new product development for major global markets.

“We are continually looking to develop innovative methods of engaging with UK SMEs. Our future strategy aims to enable our SME partners to capitalise on our global reach as a world-class university.

“We hope that SMEs take note of Mr Cridland’s comments and approach universities to see how we can help them to grow and positively impact the wider economy.”

For further details of current initiatives with and for SMEs, see the Institute for Entrepreneurship and Enterprise Development