George Osborne supports business-boosting research and development initiative

24 September 2015

Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne has supported an innovative international business-engagement initiative created by Lancaster University.

The Lancaster China Catalyst Programme, which is forging research and development partnerships between UK and Chinese companies, was among a number of key projects highlighted by the Chancellor in a speech showcasing opportunities for Chinese investment into the Northern Powerhouse, as part of his visit to China this week.

The Programme involves staff from the Management School, as well as from the Faculty of Science and Technology, the Lancaster Institute for the Contemporary Arts (LICA), and the Confucius Institute.

Dion Williams, Director of Enterprise and Innovation at Lancaster University, said: “The Lancaster China Catalyst programme is forging research and development partnerships between UK and Chinese businesses. These partnerships are developing innovative products and services for global markets that will deliver economic growth and jobs here in the UK and also in China. We welcome the recognition and support by the Chancellor for this programme, which further cements Lancaster University’s strong reputation for working with businesses and supporting economic growth.”

The £5.1 million Lancaster China Catalyst Programme aims to help revitalise the UK’s position in the global exports markets, create 240 jobs, help 400 domestic businesses and boost the economy by £40m.

Created by Lancaster University and part-funded by the Higher Education Funding Council’s Catalyst Fund, the University and Lancashire County Council – the programme will help small and medium sized UK firms compete in increasingly competitive global markets by helping them to become established in the world’s fastest growing economy.

The initiative helps SMEs gain access to contacts and business networks within China’s Guangdong Province – China’s most populated province with more than 71m residents – through a partnership with the Guangdong Provincial Office of Science and Technology. It helps UK firms cut through red tape and provide guidance on doing business in the Far East.

The programme has already taken 33 businesses to China and has seen the creation of 13 partnerships between UK and Chinese firms.

These include:

  • Stopford Energy and Environment (Lancaster) has signed a memorandum of understanding with Chinese company CN Homeland to develop a multi-million pound pilot ‘Plasma Gasification Plant’ to convert mixed waste to energy.
  • eBusiness (Blackburn) are working with the Institute of Software Application Technology at the Guangzhou and Chinese Academy of Sciences, eBusiness UK is developing new video surveillance analysis technology for the ‘Smart Home’ sector in the UK, EU and global markets.
  • LanHai Careers Management Ltd (Preston) is working with Guangzhou Xuanyuan Network Technology Ltd to adapt an online e-learning system to provide career development and employability learning tools and business skills resources for Chinese universities.

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. Lancaster is one of only three UK universities to have gained the Small Business Charter Gold Award in recognition of the role it has played in helping to kick-start British enterprise.

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, InnovateUK and the China-Britain Business Council.