25 September 2019
Cranfield University, a leading university in the UK, has been awarded with 1.2 million euro for creating an Aviation Innovation and Technology Entrepreneurship cluster, AVIATE+. This has been done with the aim to help small businesses develop the technology of the future. Cranfield is one of the select UK universities that are part of the University Enterprise Zones (UEZs).
UEZs are special geographical areas where universities work with businesses together to increase local growth and innovation. UEZs aim at encouraging universities to take up roles as strategic partners in local growth, to engage with local enterprises and build on existing capabilities and partnerships. They also aspire to stimulate growth and create space for small businesses to flourish. In all, 20 UEZs have been launched by Research England, part of UK Research and Innovation.
The Pro-Vice-Chancellor of Research and Innovation at Cranfield University, Professor Tom Stephenson, said:
“Aerospace has been identified by the UK Government as being strategically important to our economy, yet there is a lack of specialist business incubators for this sector. With technology developing at pace, including drones and electric-powered flight, we are now in an ideal position to accelerate innovation in aviation. We’re delighted to support small firms who have high-growth potential in this sector, and bring to fruition the technology of tomorrow.”
Cranfield University has the Cranfield Eagle Lab already, which is a business incubator for early-stage companies supported by the Royal Aeronautical Society, Garfield Weston Foundation and aerospace industry partners. The new funding will further enhance their work and create more grow-on space for businesses with new workshops and aviation facilities with capacity for large components and data connectivity.
Over 120,000 highly skilled jobs are created by the Aerospace sector in the UK. Alongside AVIATE+ funds, investment of £78 million is going into 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 Bedfordshire 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 Bedfordshire’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.
“This funding will not only help local scientists take their ideas from lab to market – but will also support an enterprise hub at Cranfield University. Providing space for local businesses to forge crucial partnerships, the UEZs will create jobs, drive local growth and provide SMEs with a vital stepping stone to succeed.”
UK Research and Innovation Chief Executive, Professor Sir Mark Walport, said:
“These 20 University Enterprise Zones funded by Research England will be important focal points for collaboration in business-friendly environments, driving innovation and delivering benefits that will be felt across economies at the local, regional and national scale.”
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