Funds are being made available to help smaller firms across Yorkshire collaborate with universities to develop new products, services and processes following a project led by Bradford University.
The Yorkshire Innovation Fund has been launched, partly financed by European Union money, and will enable businesses to bid for funding of £10,000 to £30,000 depending on the type, size and timescale of their development projects.
YIF as been established to help regional SMEs grow their businesses through research, development and innovation.
To qualify for cash, firms and universities must work together on projects based on business need. Applications for funding are competitive and successful projects will secure the time and expertise of the partnering university.
The YIF, supported by the European Regional Development Fund, will provide funding of up to £10,000 for smaller projects, such as proof of concept or a technical feasibility study, or a prototype digital service.
Larger projects, such as developing a new formulation, product design or business model will attract up to £30,000. Companies wanting to place graduates to work on projects could access funding up to £30,000 for help with recruitment and mentoring by university experts. Funding can also be awarded to universities to work with several companies with similar research and development needs.
The YIF will prioritise applications from sectors identified as crucial to the growth of the regional economy including advanced manufacturing, bio-renewables, bioscience, chemicals, creative and digital, financial and business services, food and drink and low-carbon energy.
Dr Suzanne Emmett, director of the Yorkshire Innovation Fund at Bradford University, said that providing funding for academic expertise could help transform many regional businesses. She said: “By giving SMEs access to the skills and facilities in the region’s universities, new products can come to market more quickly, ideas can become reality and opportunities for employment can be realised.
“We’re looking to help companies realise their ideas and grow their business. Collaborating with universities has long been an excellent way to tap into the skills and resources firms need to innovate. The Yorkshire Innovation Fund builds upon this and provides a route to accessing much-needed funding to make things happen.”