25 April 2016 14:47

Lancaster University is providing a unique opportunity for ambitious North West small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs) to take advantage of funded three-year industry-led research and development initiatives with support worth up to £100,000.

More than 80 aspiring companies will be matched with appropriately skilled graduate researchers with expertise in a range of science and technology disciplines including biological and environmental science, engineering, chemistry, computing, communications, geography, maths, physics or statistics. Companies are invited to submit a research idea or problem that they would like to overcome with the potential for graduate researchers, fully supervised and supported by Lancaster academics, to explore a problem extensively up to a three-year period.

Shorter-term funded projects, internships, product development, technology assessment and guidance, leadership development, consultancy, innovation workshops, and a wider range of other projects and facilities for SMEs are also available. Experienced business partnership staff will work to ensure businesses get the most appropriate support.

Dr Mark Rushforth, Head of Business Partnerships and Enterprise at Lancaster University’s Faculty of Science and Technology, said: “These Lancaster University initiatives offer North West businesses a real opportunity to scale-up their research and development capacity.

“As well as benefitting from the fresh thinking, talent and technical skills of Lancaster science and technology graduates, businesses can also tap into the expertise of our leading academics and cutting-edge facilities.”

Lancaster University facilities available for use by businesses through collaborative research projects include cyber-security laboratories, glasshouse spaces and controlled environment plant growth rooms, dilution refrigerators for some of the lowest temperature testing in the world, high-resolution mass spectroscopy, additive manufacturing facilities, new £4 million class 100 and class 1000 clean rooms and more than £7 million new chemistry facilities, including a dedicated building for industry access and a range of state of the art chemical and physical characterisation, analysis and synthesis equipment. .

There is a rolling call for three year projects from April to July 2016. The majority of longer term collaborative projects will start in October 2016. There will be a competitive process to select the projects with most potential for company growth. Businesses will be asked to contribute up to £5,500 per year towards the costs of their researcher.

Lancaster University, one of only four UK universities to achieve the Small Business Charter Gold Award, is ranked top ten for interactions with SMEs by Government and has more than £18 million of activity with business in Science and Technology disciplines alone.

Businesses interested in applying for a Lancaster University funded research and development initiative can register online at www.lancaster.ac.uk/engage/business, visit www.lancaster.ac.uk/sci-tech/business/funded-research, or contact Becky Gordon, b.gordon@lancaster.ac.uk, 01524 510188 / 07811 832770 for more information.

“Companies that have a clearly defined project already can register online in minutes, and will be contacted by our business partnerships team. We would also like to hear from businesses that have an idea or challenge to talk through, or need us to help scope their project, or want to find out more about our other funded activities,” said Becky Gordon, Operations Manager, Lancaster University.