Lancaster University leads £5m China trade project

LANCASTER University is leading a £5m project to help small and medium-sized businesses build trading relationships with China.

The Lancaster China Catalyst Programme aims to create 240 jobs, help 400 businesses and boost the economy by £40m.

Created by Lancaster University and part-funded by the Higher Education Funding Council’s Catalyst Fund, the university and Lancashire County Council – the project aims to support the development of partnerships between UK and Chinese companies, which focus on the research, development and commercialisation of new products and services for major export markets.
SMEs taking part will gain access to contacts and business networks in s Guangdong Province – China’s most populated province with more than 71 million residents – by partnering with the Guangdong Provincial Office of Science and Technology.

The participants will benefit from access to up to 100 Lancaster University graduates from science, technology, engineering, design and management disciplines to support research, development and commercialisation of new products and services for export.
Trevor McMillan, pro vice chancellor for research at Lancaster University, said: “Lancaster University was the first UK academic institution to establish links in China following the Cultural Revolution and our long established links with, and understanding of, China places us in a unique position to help UK businesses to exploit export opportunities in the world’s fastest growing economy.
“We believe this initiative, which takes great advantage of our accumulated experience and expertise in areas such as research and leadership training, will enable us to significantly assist participating businesses to maximise their export potential.”
The Higher Education Funding Council  is contributing £3,6m towards the £5.1m cost of the programme. The businesses themselves will have to make a contribution to take part too, while the university and council are funding to the tune of £320,000 and £500,000 respectively.
Partners in the project are the Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS) and the Guangdong Provincial Government, Lancashire County Council, Local Enterprise Partnerships and business growth hubs, Chambers of Commerce, UKTI and the China-British Business Council.