Firms urged to seek university links

FORWARD-thinking businesses that have joined forces with higher education institutions in the East of England are being invited to enter the i10 Business-University Collaboration Awards 2006.

FORWARD-thinking businesses that have joined forces with higher education institutions in the East of England are being invited to enter the i10 Business-University Collaboration Awards 2006.

A growing number of East Anglian firms are working with the region's world-class universities to gain an important edge in an increasingly competitive economic environment.

The i10's awards aim to recognise and celebrate the best of these innovative collaborations and to encourage other businesses to forge similar links with expert academics and cutting-edge facilities at universities in the region.

i10 is the service provided by the 10 universities in the East of England that facilitates business-university interactions.


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Businesses working with academia have benefited greatly from the tie-up. Ipswich-based business software developer A Recipe For Success worked with the University of Essex to produce an off-the-shelf e-business software package specifically for SMEs (small and medium-sized enterprises).

The project won a discretionary award at last year's awards having been shortlisted in the Most Innovative Collaboration category.

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Jeff Hume, director of A Recipe For Success, said: “We found it so beneficial to work with the University of Essex and find it amazing that other companies do not take advantage of the opportunities.

“We started a second project with the university not long after winning the i10 award last year, and are embarking upon a new relationship with Cranfield University too. I hope other firms see the successes we are achieving and that this may persuade them to talk to academic institutions about how they might help.”

As well as winning the award at last year's ceremony at Cranfield University in Bedfordshire, its new “e-KIS” software toolkit earned A Recipe for Success more than £145,000 in new sales and won a National Business Award for Best Use of Technology.

In addition to a discretionary award given by the Association of Universities of the East of England, there are three primary award classes: Most Innovative and Entrepreneurial Collaboration; Most Significant Progress towards Sustainable Business Activity; and Most Creative Contribution to Employment Opportunities. Each winner stands to win a cash prize of £5,000.

Moana Pledger, i10 project director, said: “The region's SMEs are faced with an increasingly complex and challenging marketplace. Some have gained significant advantages by working with universities on developing new processes and products or exploring other strategic developments.

“The i10 Business-University Collaboration Awards provide a shop-window for the most successful and innovative joint efforts between companies and academia. But more importantly, we hope the awards will encourage more businesses to make use of the top-flight skills, expertise and facilities that our region's world-class institutions have to offer.”

The deadline for submissions for the i10 Business-University Collaboration Awards is May 2, 2006. For more information or guidance on how to enter, visit www.i10.org.uk/awards or call Carole Randall, i10 project officer, at Writtle College on 01245 423048.

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