£3.2m project to advise and support regional businesses

13 May 2009

Yorkshire and Humber businesses will have access to expert consultancy and research and development support, as the result of a unique £3.2m project aimed at boosting the innovation and creative potential of regional companies.

Innovation Futures will bring together experts from Sheffield Hallam University to provide consultancy and research and development advice across a range of business areas, including new technologies, organisational development, design solutions and sector specific support.

The project is being led by Sheffield Hallam University and supported by Yorkshire Forward and the European Regional Development Fund.
Innovation Futures will focus specific areas of the business, and will provide practical advice and recommendations that will have a real impact on the company's future - be it through boosting productivity, increasing profitability, developing new products, improving existing products or assisting with organisational and individual change. 

The project uses the skills of the University's top research and academic staff, who will work with companies to provide effective solutions to their business problems.
Professor Mike Smith, Pro-Vice Chancellor for Research and Knowledge Transfer at Sheffield Hallam University, and leader of the project explains, "Innovation Futures is an exciting project that will allow regional businesses to access all of our expertise in one place.
"We have already run similar projects on a smaller scale, these include working with the food industry, and hosting two of the region's Centres of Industrial Collaboration in materials and design.  These have been a resounding success and we are delighted that regional businesses across a wider range of sectors will now be able to benefit from this innovative approach.
"During the difficult economic climate it is crucial that businesses continue to develop and innovate in order to ensure their survival, and Sheffield Hallam University is making every effort to provide the expert support that can help organisations to flourish.
"We have a strong track record in working with businesses and in meeting their objectives on time and on budget, and look forward to supporting a range of new organisations in planning their future."

Jim Farmery, Assistant Director of Business for Yorkshire Forward comments: "Connecting our academic centres and businesses in the region is essential in ensuring that companies, who wouldn’t necessarily put R&D at the front of investment priorities, can gain the help they need to resolve issues and ensure their products and services continue to be competitive. This is especially important in today’s challenging marketplace.”

Companies interested in finding out more about the project should contact the Enterprise Centre at Sheffield Hallam University on 0114 225 5000 or email business@shu.ac.uk

Notes for editors:

For press information and interviews: contact Lorna Branton, Head of External Communications at Sheffield Hallam University on 0114 225 5104 or email l.branton@shu.ac.uk
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