The University of Huddersfield has been awarded £20m in funds for initiatives to turn R&D into business for the region, by improving their precision manufacturing capabilities.
The new Enterprise and Innovation Centre (EIC) at the university is to be available to use for 100 small to medium sized businesses and corporates in May 2012, after agreeing backing from the European Union and local government.
As well as the new centre, £8m is being invested in an advanced research project for ultra-fine measurement. The university won funding for a five-year project backed by a group of 12 industrials, including Rolls Royce. Although the projects aren’t linked, the research will be shared with the EIC and could lead to spin-off companies being formed.
The basis of the EIC is to build better links with businesses in the area and technical and research facilities on offer. The funding is coming from the European Regional Development Fund (£6.4m), managed in this region by Yorkshire Forward, Kirklees Council (£1.3m), and up to £3.8m from the university itself.
One building on campus is to be completely renovated, with a large glass atrium being installed and a third floor added, creating space for an additional 100 firms and 300 people. There will also be an ‘innovation avenue’, a showroom of sorts where new ideas, equipment and technology are to be displayed alongside current research.
Dr Liz Towns-Andrews, the university’s director of research and enterprise, said: “This is fantastic not only for the university but the region as a whole. The EIC will be a completely new model for the way that universities work with business.”
Companies will be able to use the university’s expertise and facilities, such as powerful computers, imaging, rapid prototyping and equipment used in metrology, the study of measurement. Dr Towns-Andrews added: “Students will have a high-powered commercial environment on their doorstep.”
A professor at the university, Liam Blunt said: “One of the main tasks is to determine how we get what we do from being research-based to benefitting the region and the country?”
University of Huddersfield, Liam Blunt, Professor Liam Blunt, Liz Towns-Andrews, R&D, Innovation, European Regional Development Fund, Yorkshire Forward, Yorkshire, EIC, Enterprise and Innovation Centre