UWE Bristol is playing a major role in helping over 200 microelectronics companies in South West England’s ‘silicon valley’ to spread ideas more widely via a £2.3 million innovation network (iNet) part financed by the ERDF South West Competitiveness and Employment Programme 2007-2013. The iNets present a great opportunity for these companies encouraging collaboration and synergy through partnerships with major innovation funding to enable ideas to spread and develop.
The Microelectronics iNet led by UWE Bristol in collaboration with a consortium of national and regional partners offers a bespoke range of support services. These include access to resources and academic expertise free of charge. The network also helps SMEs across the South West turn their business ideas into real products and services.
“iNets present a great opportunity for these companies encouraging collaboration and synergy through partnerships with major innovation funding to enable ideas to spread and develop.”
One example of the iNet working in practice is a project involving engineering and design specialists, Stirling Dynamics Ltd. The company is profiting from the expertise of its partnership with UWE Bristol’s internationally renowned Machine Vision Laboratory (MVL). Working together they are investigating the potential for its innovative ideas in surface inspection. The UWE technology represents a world first in allowing unprecedented levels of detail in terms of shape, texture and colour to be captured from moving 3D surfaces. Uses range from industrial quality control to new applications in healthcare and security.
The Microelectronics iNet is part financed by the European Regional Development Fund South West Competitiveness and Employment Programme 2007-2013. Managed by the Department for Communities and Local Government, this programme of investment from the European Union is helping to increase the prosperity of the region through supporting enterprise and individuals to develop ideas and plans that contribute to increased productivity and competitiveness. The total amount of investment across the seven-year programme is £108,751,309, with the Microelectronics iNet receiving £1,151,001.
UWE Bristol has also established a successful partnership with Hewlett Packard which now includes a wider partnership of IT firms – Juniper, Microsoft, Schneider Electric where we are working across a wide range of activities – from CSR (helping the digitally disconnected) to helping fill skill shortages (courses in networking, enterprise computing, energy management).