£48m opportunity for local firms

BUSINESSES in the east of England are being urged to apply for a share of £48million worth of Government funding aimed at collaborative research partnerships.

BUSINESSES in the east of England are being urged to apply for a share of £48million worth of Government funding aimed at collaborative research partnerships.

The Department of Trade and Industry's Autumn Competition for Funding is designed to help businesses, individuals or research establishments that are working in collaboration, or want to work in collaboration, with other organisations to exploit emerging technologies.

Mark Aspinall, head of innovation and enterprise at the East of England Development Agency, which is funding an advice service to help the region's businesses apply for funds, said it was “an excellent opportunity” for the area's many collaborative partnerships working on groundbreaking new technologies.

“The east of England is the UK's ideas region,” he said.

“We have world-leading research facilities, and 23% of all UK research and development spend is here. Our record of producing groundbreaking research is staggering, but there is always room to improve our record of exploiting these opportunities.

“That is why this service at St John's Innovation Centre is so invaluable. It will not only give relevant businesses the expert help and advice they need on how to apply for the funding, but also it will give them access to the 'peer' knowledge they require. This will enable them to invest in their future and achieve growth in new and pioneering areas.”

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EEDA is funding an advice service at St John's Innovation Centre in Cambridge, which is part of its network of enterprise hubs.

The assistance will include helping applicants to find appropriate partners, checking if project ideas fit the scope of the competition, and providing assistance with applications.

The funding pot is the latest round of the Government's Technology Programme, which aims to create wealth for the UK's economy through innovation.

The funding is part of biannual competition, underpinned by the government's three year investment to stimulate collaborative research and development in seven key technology areas that are critical to the UK's economic growth. Support for the competition is also being provided by the research councils.

Organisations interested in applying for funding can contact Dr Alex Smeets at St Johns' Innovation Centre on 01223 422210 or visit www.eeda.org.uk/funding.