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Universities launch £7.1m programme to enhance productivity for local businesses

Wednesday, 10 July 2019

Small businesses in Nottinghamshire and Derbyshire will be able to access free productivity support as a result of a new £7.1m programme being run by three local universities.

‘Productivity Through Innovation’ is a three-year collaborative programme involving the University of Derby, Nottingham Trent University and The University of Nottingham, which will provide support to 181 small and medium enterprises (SMEs) in the Nottinghamshire and Derbyshire regions.

£3.5m funding is being awarded to the three universities via the D2N2 Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP), using funds secured by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF), with an additional £1.5m being invested in the project by the universities. Established by the European Union, the European Regional Development Fund helps local areas stimulate their economic development by investing in projects which will support innovation, businesses, create jobs and local community regenerations.

Competitiveness and productivity

The project is being led by the Graduate School at the University of Nottingham and will focus on enabling businesses to improve their competitiveness and productivity through utilising the knowledge, skills and technology of the three universities through an initial academic led diagnostic process.

Productivity challenges will be addressed through innovation support including postgraduate and undergraduate placements, management and leadership workshops and academic support designed to help businesses innovate, explore new ideas and offering unprecedented access to university expertise and talent.

This programme represents an exciting opportunity for businesses to tap into the high-level skills available at the three universities and to examine their businesses and how innovation and support can help enhance productivity.
Professor Chris Gerada, Associate Pro-Vice-Chancellor for Industrial Strategy, Business Engagement and Impact

He added: “It builds upon our very successful and established Postgraduate Placement Scheme which has just delivered its 1000th placement which have largely been delivered with local SMEs in the East Midlands.”

Cornerstone of the economy

Professor Warren Manning, Pro Vice-Chancellor Innovation and Dean of Engineering & Technology at University of Derby, said “This major investment shows the commitment of the three universities in the D2N2 region to engage with and support small and medium sized companies who are the cornerstone of the UK economy.

“This new programme will allow us to work intensively with local companies supporting them to become more productive. The project will grow long-term relationships between academia and industry with benefits in terms of employment opportunities and economic growth for the region”.

Nigel Wright, Deputy Vice Chancellor, Research and Innovation at Nottingham Trent University, said: “This is a really exciting opportunity to meet with new businesses and support their ideas for innovation. It is our hope and intention that many of these companies will start an ongoing relationship with the university that could provide interesting opportunities for knowledge exchange, graduate employment and experiential teaching and learning while also supporting local economic growth.”

Emma Thorne - Head of News
Email: emma.thorne@nottingham.ac.uk
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Notes to editors: 

The University of Nottingham is a research-intensive university with a proud heritage, consistently ranked among the world's top 100. Studying at the University of Nottingham is a life-changing experience and we pride ourselves on unlocking the potential of our 44,000 students - Nottingham was named both Sports and International University of the Year in the  2019 Times and Sunday Times Good University Guide, was awarded gold in the TEF 2017 and features in the top 20 of all three major UK rankings. We have a pioneering spirit, expressed in the vision of our founder Sir Jesse Boot, which has seen us lead the way in establishing campuses in China and Malaysia - part of a globally connected network of education, research and industrial engagement. We are ranked eighth for research power in the UK according to REF 2014. We have six beacons of research excellence helping to transform lives and change the world; we are also a major employer, proud of our Athena SWAN silver award, and a key industry partner- locally and globally.

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