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University Alliance welcomes Government funding for growth

In response to the HEFCE announcement of HEIF allocations, Libby Hackett (nee Aston), Director of University Alliance, said:

“The strategic significance of this type of funding should not be underestimated. This announcement is a very welcome sign that Government is increasingly recognising the central role universities play in economic growth. Innovation and the commercialisation of research, made more possible through this funding, are key drivers of growth. Research has confirmed that innovation and high-tech approaches are the most likely to drive economic recovery and economic growth in the UK economy.

“As ever, we welcome the focus on excellence and the Government’s decision to fund the highest-performing universities working with businesses. Alliance universities are leaders in this approach because of their strong partnerships with business and their established culture of active businesses engagement right across the university.

“We continue to urge the Government, at the highest levels, to strengthen our vision for the UK economy, built on knowledge and innovation that is driven by a successful university sector. Our global competitors are putting universities, innovation and research at the heart of their growth strategies. Obama has declared the USA will “out-innovate” and “out-educate” the world by investing in research and development and calling the private sector to put more money into finding solutions to the global challenges facing society. We hope the Prime Minister will respond with similar clarity of vision during his bilaterals with the President this week.”

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Contact: Sam Jones 07767 673 982 or sjones@unialliance.ac.uk

Notes to Editors

1. English Alliance universities (where the fund exists) will receive £22.8m from the HEIF allocations.

2. All 18 English Alliance universities have received allocations. They include Bournemouth University, University of Bradford, De Montfort University, University of Hertfordshire, University of Huddersfield, University of Lincoln, Liverpool John Moores University, Manchester Metropolitan University, Northumbria University, Nottingham Trent University, Open University, Oxford Brookes University, University of Plymouth, University of Portsmouth, University of Salford, Sheffield Hallam University, Teesside University, University of the West of England.

Case studies of HEIF in Alliance Universities

University of Hertfordshire – Bio-park

BioPark is a thriving scientific community of biopharmaceutical, medical technology, diagnostics and the biomedical businesses together with specialist service providers, forming an important component of the South Hertfordshire BioCluster.  BioPark ensures that strong links are developed between regional universities, research institutes and the private sector and, as one of a network of Regional Enterprise Hubs, assists in developing high-level skills to support the knowledge economy.

The university led the development of Bio-park, which opened in February 2006.  Prior to the development of the park, Roche Products had announced its intention to pull out of the region and all stakeholders were keen to ensure that these valuable facilities were safeguarded for future use.

93% of the space has now been let with plans underway for further expansion and investment by the university along with its partners equalling £2.2 million.  Not only is BioPark demonstrative of the leading role the university is playing in terms of the regions economic development, BioPark is run on a commercial basis for the university and therefore effectively brings private revenue in.

Nottingham Trent University – The Hive

The Hive is university’s purpose-built enterprise development centre.  Since its establishment in 2001, the centre has helped more than 100 businesses into fruition.  It primarily supports students and graduates of the university to evaluate early business ideas and equip them with the essential knowledge they need to develop that idea into a successful business venture.

Statistics show that up to 60% of start-ups are likely to fail within their first three years. However, with structured support some 80% are likely to remain in operation after the same period. 90% of the businesses that The Hive has helped are still operational at the present time. The centre puts its success down to the fact that they provide entrepreneurs with a safe environment for evaluating and testing concepts, backed up by the invaluable expertise and specialist knowledge both within The Hive and across the University.

University of Huddersfield – Business Mine

The Business Mine supports students and recent graduates to start-up their own business or explore self-employment.  ‘Business Miners’ are supported for 12 months and have access to hot-desk space, office equipment, and one-to-one advice from the university’s Business Mine advisors. Since 2007, the Business Mine has helped around 35 students and graduates formally start-up in business and begin trading. The Business Mine has also supported up to 17 students a year on an alternative placement scheme, where they start-up their own business rather than work in employment.

The Business Mine also administers micro-finance schemes such as a Proof of Concept award – up to £1000, and Start-Up Grants – £2400 spread over six months. 59 awards have been granted over three years totalling £65,000.  The

grants and some workshops are supported by Yorkshire Forward through Graduate Entrepreneurship with advisors and other activity being funded by HEIF.

The university’s Business Miners are regularly short listed for awards and competitions.  A current Miner, Stuart Greenwood of Pixel Monster, has been short listed for the current round of the national Shell Live Wire competition and three Business Mine-supported companies won or were short listed for the Huddersfield Examiner New Business of the Year Award in 2008 and 2009.

About university Alliance

University Alliance is a group of 23 major, business-engaged universities committed to delivering world-class research and a quality student experience around the UK. They are universities without boundaries: delivering economic and social growth through close links with their research, students and staff and the world around them – locally, nationally and internationally. With representation right across the UK they educate over 25% of all UK students, with large proportions of international and post-graduate students.

Alliance universities

Aberystwyth University, Bournemouth University, University of Bradford, De Montfort University, University of Glamorgan, Glasgow Caledonian University, University of Hertfordshire, University of Huddersfield, University of Lincoln, Liverpool John Moores University, Manchester Metropolitan University, Northumbria University, Nottingham Trent University, Open University, Oxford Brookes University, University of Plymouth, University of Portsmouth, University of Salford, Sheffield Hallam University, Teesside University, University of Wales Institute, Cardiff, University of Wales, Newport, University of the West of England.

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