Innovation project set to help regional businesses

A three-year programme to encourage innovation within businesses across the Sheffield City Region (SCR) is underway as part of a joint initiative between Sheffield Hallam University and the University of Sheffield.

The Sheffield Innovation Programme allows small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs) from across the region to access academic expertise, facilities and resources at both universities to stimulate innovation to deliver new products and services.

Businesses can access a range of bespoke consultancy services with academic experts as well as a number of events and workshops to help their business grow.

Academic staff involved in the project have a range of expertise in areas including packaging design, advanced manufacturing, sports engineering, robotics and materials engineering.

The programme is jointly funded by both universities, the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) and the Higher Education Innovation Fund (HEIF).

Professor Paul Harrison, Pro Vice-Chancellor for Research and Innovation at Sheffield Hallam University, said: "As one of the leading applied universities in the UK, Sheffield Hallam has a long tradition of working with local and regional businesses.

"This new programme combines our own investment with EU funds, and shows our commitment to support business and enterprise within the region.

"This project provides a channel for our academics and researchers to work in knowledge-exchange partnerships with industry, keeping our research relevant to the economy and also providing stimuli to our students through our taught programmes."

"We are honoured to be leading this partnership on behalf of the two great universities in Sheffield and this is another example of the way the universities can work together for the benefit of the city and region.”

Professor Mike Hounslow, Pro Vice-Chancellor for Engineering at the University of Sheffield, said: “As engineers we’re passionate about applying our research and innovation to create real solutions and to address pressing challenges with industry. We’re particularly pleased to be doing so with local companies in partnership with Sheffield Hallam.

"The ERDF support for the Sheffield Innovation Programme allows us to support local SMEs with capabilities from across the breadth of our Engineering Faculty such as advanced manufacturing and materials, innovative designs through understanding structural dynamics, developments in infrastructure and robotics.

"Working together between the Universities, local industry and our LEP we are continuing to strengthen the position of Sheffield City Region as a powerhouse of advanced manufacturing.”

The programme aims to support more than 200 regional businesses over the three-year period.

Sir Nigel Knowles, Chairman of Sheffield City Region LEP, said: “Partners in Sheffield City Region are working closely together to drive forward the transformational changes we need to create 70,000 jobs and 6,000 new businesses over the next decade.

"The partnership approach taken by Sheffield Hallam University, the University of Sheffield, and local partners is helping to ensure that our city region continues to punch above its weight in innovation, science and technology.

"This is creating an innovative and fast growing centre of business excellence which harnesses the drive and ambition of our 52,000 businesses.”

Businesses wanting to take advantage of the service should contact business@shu.ac.uk or visit the website www.shu.ac.uk/sip for more information.