Published: 4 April 2016 at 15:51
A partnership led by Anglia Ruskin secures £9.4m from ERDF to support UK’s innovation and growth
A partnership led by Anglia Ruskin University has secured £9.4m of funding from the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) to support innovation and growth amongst British small businesses.
The funding will enable small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) across the East and the South East of England to benefit from a new programme of subsidised research and development support co-ordinated by Anglia Ruskin University.
The KEEP+ programme, which stands for Knowledge Exchange and Embed Partnerships, will connect SMEs to academic expertise and graduate talent, and will enable SMEs to develop and launch new products and services.
Led by Anglia Ruskin University, KEEP+ is a partnership that unites nine delivery partners: EELGA (East of England Local Government Association); University of Brighton; University Campus Suffolk; University of East Anglia; University of Essex; University of Greenwich; University of Hertfordshire; University of Kent and Norwich University of the Arts.
The programme will run for three years and will be open to SMEs registered and actively trading in the four Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) areas that cover: Cambridgeshire (Greater Cambridge Greater Peterborough LEP), Hertfordshire (Hertfordshire LEP), Suffolk and Norfolk (New Anglia LEP) and Essex, Kent and East Sussex (South East LEP).
Amongst the benefits available to local companies are: 12-week graduate innovation internships; three-way collaborative partnerships between businesses, graduate employees and academic experts, that typically last 12 months; and innovation networking events.
The innovation network events will bring innovative companies together with third sector organisations and charities, Local Authorities, and the NHS to explore how they could capitalise on the new market opportunities created by major societal challenges such as ageing and climate change.
KEEP+ follows on from the successful Low Carbon KEEP programme (also funded by the European Regional Development Fund) that created 85 new jobs and helped over 200 SMEs in the East of England increase their competitiveness, productivity and profits.
Professor Roderick Watkins, Anglia Ruskin University’s Deputy Vice Chancellor for Research and Innovation, said:
“Thanks to over £9m of ERDF funding, this new KEEP+ programme will deliver real and immediate benefits for regional businesses.
“We surveyed SMEs that took part in our previous Low Carbon KEEP programme and found that cost was the most significant barrier to innovation. Two thirds said that they will need support with innovation in the next three years and this new programme will deliver that support by supplying personnel with the right skills and experience.”