New Government funding announced today will help the University of Sunderland stimulate growth and bring jobs to the North East.
The £600,000 will help create the first ever University Enterprise Zone in Sunderland, aiming to strengthen collaborative ties between higher education and businesses in the region.
The aim is to help small businesses and start-ups to succeed by providing access to space for them to grow, as well as specialist facilities and expertise.
Sunderland is one of 20 universities across the country to receive the money towards an UEZ.
Sir David Bell, Vice Chancellor at the University of Sunderland, said: “The University Enterprise Zone will bring new jobs and help to create the hi-tech businesses of the future.
“The 12-month project builds on existing facilities and aims to create new, pioneering student, graduate, and staff businesses, as well as supporting local enterprises.
“Particular features include a new digital incubator in the University’s David Goldman Informatics Centre, exploration of new ideas in the world of sports technology and improved facilities and support for creative and media start-ups at the University and in the local area.
“This builds on a recent study which found that Sunderland is one of the top three places in the UK to start a technology business.”
All the UEZs announced by the Government today will focus on a diverse range of industries, from aerospace and smart energy to Artificial Intelligence, and digital health services to agri-foods.
The expertise and innovation from 20 universities will be shared with the private sector through the UEZs, establishing or expanding existing specialisms that will benefit businesses in local and regional economies.
The nationwide project launched on Tuesday with a £20million investment delivered by Research England, part of UK Research and Innovation.
Funding for the UEZs has been announced alongside an investment of £78 million in the second wave of UK Research and Innovation’s Future Leaders Fellowships.
“Science Minister Chris Skidmore said: “Small businesses are the lifeblood of our economy, and Sunderland has a thriving ecosystem of local businesses and entrepreneurs whose creativity and determination help underpin the UK’s position as a leading innovator.
“Alongside this, many of Sunderland’s research community are right on the precipice of turning ground-breaking ideas into real products and services which could change the lives not just of people in the local community, but people around the world.
“Today’s funding will not only help local scientists take their ideas from lab to market – but will also support an enterprise hub at the University of Sunderland. Providing space for local businesses to forge crucial partnerships, the UEZs will create jobs, drive local growth and provide SMEs with a vital steppingstone to succeed.”