University of Suffolk set to share in £4.7m fund to build links with business

The Univesity of Suffolk's Waterfront Building in Ipswich.
Picture: Simon Parker

The Univesity of Suffolk's Waterfront Building in Ipswich. Picture: Simon Parker

Universities across East Anglia have received a multi-million pound funding boost to improve their links with business.

Stef Thorne from the University of Suffolk.
Picture: GREGG BROWN

Stef Thorne from the University of Suffolk. Picture: GREGG BROWN

Universities minister Jo Johnson has announced a £4.7million investment to improve productivity in the eastern region by encouraging collaboration between universities and businesses.

The money will go to the Eastern Academic Research Consortium (Eastern ARC), which comprises the University of East Anglia, University of Essex and University of Kent, to establish a network to support business innovation in Norfolk, Suffolk, Essex and Kent.

The University of Suffolk, based on the Ipswich Waterfront, will also be an education partner in the network, along with Norwich University of the Arts, Writtle University College and Harlow College. Other partners include BT, Tech East and Agri-Tech East, the South East and New Anglia LEPs and Digital Catapult.

The network will build collaborations with businesses, with the resulting partnerships having have access to new funding, training, networking opportunities and collaborative working space.

Stef Thorne, head of research and enterprise services at the University of Suffolk, said: “We are delighted to be working with the lead partners on this project and the collaborative opportunities this will bring to deliver the Industrial Strategy, connect our collective abilities and resources as universities to engage in knowledge exchange, respond to the regional scale-up and productivity challenges and strengthen the region.

“The University of Suffolk is, through the Ipswich Waterfront Innovation Centre, and our emergent research strengths, well placed to deliver this agenda as an anchor institution in Suffolk.”

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Vanessa Cuthill, director of the research and enterprise office at the University of Essex, which is leading the project on behalf of Eastern ARC, said: “We have world-leading research in the east of England across our higher education sector, but the region scores lower than the UK average for productivity and growth.

“This network aims to change this by harnessing the resources of regional universities and connecting businesses with our expertise, particularly across the areas Eastern ARC specialises in – artificial intelligence, agri-tech, and digital creative.”

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