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The Lancaster China Catalyst Programme ended in April 2018.

By the end of its 4 year duration, the Lancaster China Catalyst Programme had engaged with a total of 429 companies in the UK, and had introduced 60 different companies to China.

The parallel M.Sc. International Innovation enabled 88 students to travel to China for 6 months, with most students enagaging with Chinese partner companies on 37 different projects.

For more information on the Lancaster China Catalyst Programme see our Programme Report.


The Lancaster China Catalyst programme exploited the global links of Lancaster University for the benefit of UK companies. From 2014-2018, with initial investment from the Higher Education Funding Council for England (HEFCE), Lancashire County Council and participating businesses, the programme provided:

  • A staged programme of support to UK companies to develop partnerships with commercial partners in China
  • UK company access to collaborative partners within China for new product and service development
  • A programme of planned visits for UK companies to China and Chinese-partner visits to the UK
  • Dedicated human resources to companies via an experienced UK and China-based support team
  • A dedicated team of graduates with technology, management and design expertise
  • An opportunity for recent graduates to form part of an international team and study for an MSc in International Innovation
  • Access for UK companies and their Chinese partners, to significant grant investment from Chinese government funders
  • Access to expertise from across Lancaster University and Chinese academic partners to underpin product or service R&D and commercialisation

Benefits for Business

Recognising both the challenge and the opportunity for UK and Chinese businesses in commercialising products, services and technologies for global markets, the Lancaster China Catalyst Programme provided UK companies with dedicated support worth over £70k to plan and develop an international collaborative R&D and commercialisation project with a Chinese partner.

It set out to enhance international innovation capacity, access a dedicated highly skilled postgraduate team resource, gain support from a programme team in the UK and China, and unlock significant amounts of grant funding from the Guangdong Provincial Department of Science and Technology (GDST).

The programme took companies on a competitively focused, phased journey from initially investigating the Chinese market, to accelerating the level of engagement with Chinese partners through to actively collaborating with Chinese business partners on commercialisation projects. Over the course of this journey, UK companies worked on commercialisation plans to both adapt existing and develop new products, processes and services for the Chinese and/or global markets.

Benefits for Students


The programme used the significant graduate talent available to the University from both the UK and China, to develop multi-disciplinary teams to support UK-Chinese company collaborative partnerships.

The MSc in International Innovation provided graduates with taught postgraduate provision and an extensive period of project-based work in both the UK and China, supported via a tax free bursary of £16,000 over the course of their study. Five schemes of study were developed (engineering, environmental sciences, entrepreneurship, design and computing), tailored to the interests of recent graduates.

Applications for the MSc in International Innovation are now closed. The final cohort of students will be returning from China in April 2018, following the completion of their China-based company projects.

Benefits for the UK

UK benefits

The Lancaster China Catalyst Programme was created by Lancaster University and part-funded by the Higher Education Funding Council for England's Catalyst Fund, the University, and Lancashire County Council.

It aimed to revitalise the UK's position in global export markets, create 240 jobs, help up to 400 UK businesses and boost the economy by £40m. Via significant funding from Lancashire County Council, the programme aimed to ensure the economic impact of the programme was significant to Lancashire companies in terms of safeguarding and creating new jobs for people living in Lancashire.