Talent and Innovation Grants

New Talent and Innovation Grants on offer to help local businesses take advantage of university expertise and drive innovation

Tuesday, 09 April 2024

Nottingham-based businesses are being offered the chance to access the wealth of talent and expertise available through the two universities on their doorstep, as part of a programme of grants and support aimed at driving innovation, productivity and skills in the city.

Under the Universities for Nottingham Civic Agreement, The University of Nottingham and Nottingham Trent University are working with Nottingham City Council to offer Talent Grants of up to £2,500 which can be used to subsidise the recruitment of a university graduate or student for a minimum of eight weeks.

To qualify for one of the grants, businesses would need to demonstrate that the graduate/student project /role would be used to implement or improve technology or processes, enable the business to enter new markets, improve or implement new products or services, or focus on research and development projects.

In addition, Innovation Vouchers of up to £5,000 will be offered to city businesses through the Universities for Nottingham Innovation Centres of Excellence, enabling them to access a range of technically-focussed support and consultancy leveraging research facilities and expertise from across the two universities. Support will be delivered through:

  • Food Innovation Centre: providing science and technology consultancy, new product or process development support for food and drink focussed businesses.
  • Chemistry Innovation Laboratory: providing analytical and product development support across chemistry and materials using and life sciences businesses.
  • Institute for Aerospace Technology: working across the aerospace supply chain.
  • Design Matter: providing professional sustainable product and packaging design consultancy.

Leading the project is Trevor Farren, Professor of Practice (Science and Innovation) in the University of Nottingham’s Faculty of Science.

He said: “Nottingham is fortunate enough to be home to two universities which attract the brightest and best students from around the world and have innovation and discovery at the heart of their research activities."

This is a golden opportunity for businesses to access that talent and expertise to drive forward the success of their ventures, put them ahead of the competition and, ultimately, enhance the economic prosperity of our region.
Trevor Farren, Professor of Practice (Science and Innovation) in the University of Nottingham’s Faculty of Science

Vicky Harvey, Employability Engagement Project Coordinator, Nottingham Trent University, said: "I've had the privilege of working within the employability team for over two years, witnessing first-hand the transformative impact that funded projects have on Nottingham's economy. Partnering with the University of Nottingham team fills me with excitement as we unite a wealth of expertise and world-class talent, poised to empower local businesses to thrive both now and in the future.

“Innovation is a concept often misconstrued. While many associate it solely with technological breakthroughs, innovation encompasses a broad spectrum of creative ideas and their implementation, driving positive change and adding value. From reimagining business models to refining marketing strategies and enhancing customer experiences, innovation spans diverse realms. This project stands as a beacon of support for numerous local businesses eager to advance their ideas and realise their potential.”

The grants are available thanks to £8.6 million of UK Shared Prosperity Funding awarded to Nottingham City Council by the government’s Department for Levelling Up Housing & Communities.

The UKSPF aims to support activity on the three main themes of Communities and Place; Supporting Local Business; and People and Skills.

Social, economic and cultural benefits

Universities for Nottingham Civic Agreement is a collaboration between Nottingham’s two world-class universities and eight key anchor institutions which sets out partners’ commitments to working across Nottingham and Nottinghamshire for the benefit of the local community, its people and place. Under the economic prosperity theme of the Agreement, partners have committed to ‘provide innovation, enterprise and skills support for employers and communities […] designed to harness the combined knowledge and expertise of UoN, NTU and partner organisations to benefit individuals and employers across the City and County.’

The positive impact of Nottingham’s two universities goes beyond those who study or work with them, bringing far reaching social, economic and cultural benefits. They add £3.8billion to the UK economy every year, supporting 25,000 jobs across Nottingham and Nottinghamshire alone, according to analysis by Public First.

For more information about the Talent Grants and Innovation Vouchers, contact Vicky Harvey on 0115 8484538 or email or visit

Emma Thorne - Head of News
Phone: 0115 846 8092

Notes to editors:

About the University of Nottingham

Ranked 32 in Europe and 16th in the UK by the QS World University Rankings: Europe 2024, the University of Nottingham is a founding member of the Russell Group of research-intensive universities. Studying at the University of Nottingham is a life-changing experience, and we pride ourselves on unlocking the potential of our students. 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.

Nottingham was crowned Sports University of the Year by The Times and Sunday Times Good University Guide 2024 – the third time it has been given the honour since 2018 – and by the Daily Mail University Guide 2024.

The university is among the best universities in the UK for the strength of our research, positioned seventh for research power in the UK according to REF 2021. The birthplace of discoveries such as MRI and ibuprofen, our innovations transform lives and tackle global problems such as sustainable food supplies, ending modern slavery, developing greener transport, and reducing reliance on fossil fuels.

The university is a major employer and industry partner - locally and globally - and our graduates are the second most targeted by the UK's top employers, according to The Graduate Market in 2022 report by High Fliers Research.

We lead the Universities for Nottingham initiative, in partnership with Nottingham Trent University, a pioneering collaboration between the city’s two world-class institutions to improve levels of prosperity, opportunity, sustainability, health and wellbeing for residents in the city and region we are proud to call home.

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