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Despite the recent proposal for a federal collaboration between Lancaster University and the University of Liverpool being dismissed, the two universities seem to be collaborating in other ways.
This collaboration comes in the form of a new Centre for Global Eco Innovation in the North West, which will incorporate the expertise, resources and global contacts of both universities.
As reported in Lancaster University News, the centre will create collaborative research and development partnerships, where businesses will be matched with fifty of the UK’s brightest graduates. These graduates will then complete three-year research and development projects with the business, developing products, processes and services for the global marketplace, which will provide positive environmental benefits. These collaborations will also be used by the graduates involved as the basis of a PhD programme of study.
Lancaster University’s involvement in the centre maintains ideas outlined by the Pro-Vice Chancellor for Research, Professor Trevor McMillan, in a previous interview with SCAN. In terms of the research side of business collaboration, McMillan suggested that “one of the things that we are responding to is that an increasing number of funding opportunities are actually linked to projects where business and industry is involved. Inevitably we have to go that way”.
The centre will benefit both the businesses involved and the North West region as a whole. The new products and services developed will help to increase profitability of the businesses, with each business making a financial contribution of £4,000 per year. The scheme will also offer a significant number of jobs to the North West, helping to aid the economy of the region.
Along with this, the centre will work closely with international commercialisation consultancy Inventya Ltd, who describe themselves on their website as providing “market intelligence for science, engineering and technology ventures,” to provide further opportunities for collaborative work with both universities, as well as creating a business support programme for companies exploring the export market.
As reported in Lancaster University News, Project Manager Dr Phil Leigh stated that some businesses have already been partnered up with experts within the two universities, “kick starting some genuinely exciting possibilities”.
“Our business and academic teams are already exploring new products and services with the potential to make a real difference to people’s lives” he continued.
Leigh explained how these benefits can range from “developing domestic energy control for low carbon buildings” to projects “exploring technology for a novel transparent biopolymer that has the potential to revolutionise the design of contact lenses and corneal bandages.”
The centre is set to receive £4.9m worth of funds from the European Regional Development Fund’s North West operational programme, and collaborative projects will start in October 2012.