£52m boost for higher education innovation

May 19, 2006

London, 18 May 2006

Targeting the early signs of disease, boosting the number of entrepreneurs, and getting UK creative industries into China are some of the award winning projects sharing in £52 million for higher education institutions, Trade and Industry Secretary Alistair Darling announced today.

The awards are made under the competitive part of the third round of the Higher Education Innovation Fund (HEIF) to help build closer ties between business and higher education institutions, helping turn ideas into enterprise.

Secretary of State for Trade and Industry Alistair Darling said: "Innovation and science are the keys to UK economic growth. Figures show that university spinouts floated on the stock market over the last two years were valued at more than £1 billion. Exploiting the wealth of knowledge in higher education and translating that into real business opportunities is, therefore, vitally important for the UK economy.

"The Higher Education Innovation Fund brings together university research with private sector investment, and stimulates a culture of entrepreneurship within Higher Education institutions.

"Innovation is key to our future economic prosperity and it is encouraging to see so many universities working with business to translate new ideas and technology into improved productivity and job opportunities."

The eleven competitive winning bids include:

* University of Arts London: Creative Capital World City. To increase the competitive advantage of UK creative companies doing business in China and India. In 2001 creative industries accounted for 8.2 per cent of UK GDP and delivered £54.8 billion to UK Gross Value Added. The global market for creative industries is estimated at around $1.3 trillion in 2005.

* University of Leeds: White Rose Health Innovation Partnership. To develop new methods, not yet tried in the UK, to stimulate innovation in healthcare using the experience of medical technologies in the US. The next ten years will see radical treatments and technologies covering nanotechnology, biomedical materials and sensor technology that will focus on targeting prevention diagnosis. The global health market is worth around £150 billion.

* University of Sheffield: Centre of Excellence in Customised Assembly (CECA). Strengthening customised assembly lines is a critical factor for the future competitiveness of UK manufacturing. CECA will support UK manufacturers in aerospace, defence, pharmaceutical-medical devices, and automotive supply to help them become global leaders by developing new industrial processes, high skilled workplaces. UK manufacturing is crucial to the prosperity of the UK accounting for a 1/6th of the economy and over 5 million jobs.

* University of Wolverhampton: Student Placements for Entrepreneurs in Education. This will create 750 new enterprises and entrepreneurs and particularly encourage the participation of under represented groups of entrepreneurs by encouraging controlled risk and

* identifying entrepreneurial talent at an early stage with the aim of students creating their business while still studying.

Higher Education Minister Bill Rammell said: "I am delighted that higher education innovation will benefit from this £52million injection. This is a very exciting time for higher education, and these opportunities will present many positive opportunities to shape an increasingly diverse, highly successful and world-leading higher education sector that can offer benefits to everyone in this country."

Rama Thirunamachandran, Director of Research and Knowledge Transfer at the Higher Education Funding Council for England said, "These awards mark a step change in universities and colleges engaging with the economy and society. Under this third round of HEIF, all higher education institutions will now have the support to work with social and business enterprises - regionally, nationally and globally - in the best ways that they can make an impact. And over 40 higher education institutions will participate in the projects selected through the competition that will explore the opportunities to innovate further for the future.

"We are also announcing continuation of funding for 22 Centres for Knowledge Exchange, which lead and demonstrate good practice in exchanging knowledge, practice and skills between HE and business and the community. We believe we have made a very good investment in the individual and collective strengths of the HE sector to make a real difference to the country's competitiveness, social cohesion and cultural enrichment."

Notes for Editors

1. As a response to the Lambert report on business-university collaboration the Government published a Science and Innovation Investment Framework 2004-2014 which proposed to: "create a funding regime that promotes and rewards high quality knowledge transfer, addresses demonstrable funding gaps inhibiting the translation of research and expertise into the market, and further embeds knowledge transfer as a permanent core activity in universities alongside teaching and research." The Higher Education Innovation Fund (HEIF) aims to achieve that.

2. The HEIF is now in its third round. The first HEIF allocated £78 million to 89 applicants. HEIF 2 allocated over £185 million to 124 projects. The current round of HEIF is worth more than £200 million and is focused on promoting activities that result in direct and indirect economic benefit to the UK. HEIF allocates 75 per cent to all universities in England on the basis of a formula with the remaining 25 per cent awarded on a competitive basis.

3. Under that competitive element, eleven Higher Education Institutions have been awarded funding as follows:
University of the Arts London: £5,000,000
Oxford Brookes University: £5,000,000
University of Sheffield: £4,792,054
University of Essex: £4,632,174
University of Wolverhampton: £5,000,000
University of Birmingham: £3,612,000
University of Leeds: £4,731,000
Manchester Metropolitan University: £5,000,000
University of East Anglia: £4,863,538
Queen Mary, University of London: £4,978,784**
University College London: £5,000,000

** amount of funding of this project subject to additional conditions

4. A full list of projects is available at http://www.hefce.ac.uk (under 'News')

UK Department of Trade and Industry
News release P/2006/129
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