Uni’s £7.1m R&D boost

LANCASTER University is launching a £7.1m low-carbon research and development programme to support small and medium sized enterprises in Lancashire, Cumbria, Cheshire and Liverpool.

The Centre for Global Eco-Innovation, at Lancaster University, has more than 50 long-term projects involving three-year PhD, or one-year Masters degree, high-calibre graduate researchers working full-time on projects bespoke to the needs of their host business. Individual projects can be worth up to £100,000 in value.
In addition, more than 80 short-term student dissertation or placement projects are also available with researchers working on a project for up to six months.

The projects on offer are part-funded by the European Regional Development Fund and therefore offer significant value to participating companies.

“On offer is £7.1 million worth of research opportunities for regional businesses, enabling them to develop their business and make the transition to a lower carbon economy,” said Dr Andy Pickard, manager of the Centre for Global Eco-Innovation.
“Small and medium sized businesses may have a low carbon research idea that will help to grow the company, but which they don’t have the capacity to undertake the work themselves. The Centre’s funded research projects give them the chance to pursue these opportunities, helping spark economic growth and job creation.”  

Researchers will be supervised jointly by academics from UK top-10 ranked Lancaster University and a representative from their host SME.

Depending on the needs of the projects, graduate researchers could have expertise from a wide range of science and technology disciplines including engineering, environmental science, computing, chemistry and physics, or alternatively design or management skills.

“We already have projects proposed to look into a variety of subjects including new ways to deal with Japanese knotweed, innovative approaches to measuring air quality, insulation in buildings, rewetting of coastal land to store carbon, and energy generation from small-scale hydro installations,” said Pickard.

The initiative provides access for SMEs to facilities at Lancaster University and also involves the Centre for Ecology & Hydrology and the Universities of Chester, Cumbria, Liverpool, and Liverpool John Moores.