SMEs in Nottinghamshire and Derbyshire can now benefit from fully-funded University of Nottingham expertise through a programme which has been re-purposed to help businesses prepare for economic recovery following Covid-19.
Productivity Through Innovation, part-funded by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF), gives small and medium-sized enterprises within the region the opportunity to access the University of Nottingham’s postgraduates who work remotely for their organisation through 100-hour or 200-hour project placements.
Companies from any sector can receive strategic planning and operational insight in areas such as business continuity; future markets research; product development support; digital technologies, and digital marketing strategies.
Productivity Through Innovation was first launched last August, building on the university’s successful Postgraduate Placement Scheme which delivered more than 1,000 placements for SMEs across the East Midlands.
Programme manager, Dr Megan Ronayne commented: “With the immediate challenges presented by Covid-19, but also now firmly thinking about economic recovery as we hopefully emerge from the pandemic, we wanted to give SMEs a high-impact, low-cost intervention to develop their organisation, enhance a project or take a fresh look at their business processes.
“Our postgraduate students are available to help firms navigate through this difficult period and support their future planning by examining how innovation can enhance productivity.”
Programme champion, Professor Richard Kneller added: “Productivity, the ratio of outputs to inputs, has been an issue well before Covid-19, and research shows that in 2015 the D2N2 [Local Enterprise Partnership] region had a productivity gap of more than £8.2bn.
“Nationally the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy and HM Treasury published a Business Productivity Review last November which highlighted the need to make businesses aware of their potential and therefore seek simple measures to become more productive and grow.
“The Productivity Through Innovation programme is an on-the-ground example of making this happen in our region.”
Separately, the University continues to offer Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) postgraduate placements for any private sector organisation in the UK with projects focusing on the UK Industrial Strategy.