21 April 2015 09:08

Eight international research partnership agreements have been signed between Chinese and UK businesses at a special ceremony at Lancaster University.

The partnership agreements will lead to research and developments of new products and services for global markets and are the first agreements resulting from the university’s novel £5.1 million Lancaster China Catalyst Programme. In addition, the partnerships offers UK companies a new route into Chinese markets.

Nick Burd, Director of the Lancaster China Catalyst Programme, said: “These agreements are a strong signal of commitment between these Chinese and UK businesses to work together on innovative international partnerships that will boost growth, jobs and wealth here in the UK and in China.

“These agreements are just the first cohort of what will be more than 60 partnerships forged through the Lancaster China Catalyst programme and we are currently seeking more businesses to join the programme.”

The signing ceremony was attended by the Consulate of the People’s Republic of China in Manchester.

Haicheng Zhou, Vice Consul-General at the Consulate General of the People’s Republic of China in Manchester, said: “That so many partnerships have been set up shows how successful this programme is.

“At the moment the relations between our two countries has grown closer. Chinese investments and trade with the UK is the highest in Europe. This achievement cannot be done without the joint efforts of businesses and universities of both countries. I also hope that more enterprises get involved in this programme.”

The following R&D agreements were signed:

TE Laboratories (Ireland) & Sustrans (China)
This project will see the development of remote operated water analysis devices, incorporating cloud data storage, helping to monitor water-system quality.

The REACH Centre (Lancaster) & Zhuhai Energy (China)
The collaborative project will help to ensure industry compliance with global chemicals regulations and support the implementation of best practice in manufacturing supply chains.

ADAS (Leeds) & Wissea Electronic Technology (China)
This project is intended to design and test under realistic conditions, novel water surveillance network mechanisms based on “Internet of Things” techniques and related algorithms, to ensure the optimal health and safety of all naturally occurring water systems.

Far UK (Nottingham) & Guangzhou Research Institute of Non-ferrous Metals (China)
This project is to develop the manufacturing technology of ceramic-based friction materials with fibre reinforcement for the braking systems of high-performance cars.

Stopford Energy and Environment (Lancaster, Daresbury and Chester) & CN Homeland (China)
This project aims to develop a multi-million pound pilot ‘Plasma Gasification Plant’ to convert mixed waste to energy, reducing waste going to landfill and cutting air pollution in China.

Demopad (Lancaster and Preston) & HDL (China)
This project aims to develop high-end consumer devices that enable home-owners to automate the control of functions such as lighting, heating and entertainment.

Croft Filters (Warrington) & SCUT (China)
Croft are looking to identify areas in which it can apply its expertise in the manufacture of filters using additive manufacturing (AM) in either high or low-volume Chinese markets.

Lanhai Careers (Preston) & Xuanyuan Network (China)
This partnership aims to produce a Chinese version of on-line career development and training platforms.

The Lancaster China Catalyst Programme - part-funded by the Higher Education Funding Council' for England’s Catalyst Fund, Lancaster University and Lancashire County Council - will help small and medium sized UK firms gain access to contacts and business networks within China's Guangdong Province - China's most populated province with more than 71m residents - by partnering with the Guangdong Provincial Office of Science and Technology.

The programme aims to create 240 jobs, help 400 domestic businesses and boost the UK economy by £40m.

Each project will involve graduate researchers, drawn from science, technology, engineering, design and management disciplines, working within the partner companies to develop the products and services as part of their studies for an MSc in International Innovation.

This graduate support programme will help to produce a new generation of employees with the skills to help the UK become more competitive globally in the future.

Lancaster University has a nationally-leading reputation for working with UK SMEs. Since 1998, the university has worked with more than 5,000 SMEs to help provide economic growth and the university is one of only three nationally to win a Gold Small Business Charter Award.

Partners in the project are the Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS) and the Guangdong Provincial Government, Lancashire County Council, Local Enterprise Partnerships and business growth hubs, Chambers of Commerce, UKTI, Technology Strategy Board and the China-Britain Business Council.

More information about the Lancaster China Catalyst programme can be found by visiting http://www.lancaster.ac.uk/china-catalyst/