Small and medium sized Lancashire businesses have been urged to use university research resources to give them greater innovations.
Although benefits to businesses from working with university management schools is well known, fewer SMEs engage with universities to help them develop new products and services.
Traditionally most research collaborations between universities and business have involved larger companies and corporations.
However, a Government-commissioned review has concluded that universities need to give greater focus on working closely with SMEs, as well as making economic growth a top priority.
Lancaster University is already in the top 10 of all UK universities for working with SMEs.
Lancaster, which has a firm research base, has a strong record devising unique research programmes bringing in external funding to enable academics and graduate researchers to work within SMEs.
One such programme is the Centre for Global Eco Innovation, which is being run in partnership between Lancaster University, the university of Liverpool and Inventya (a science and technology commercialisation company) and part-funded by the European Regional Development Fund.
Lancashire software developers DemoPad, which has offices within Lancaster University’s InfoLab21 ICT centre of excellence and Preston, recently launched a new product as a result of a graduate research placement through the Centre for Global Eco-Innovation.
Mike Cain, director of DemoPad, said: “Our relationship with Lancaster University and the centre has been nothing short of transformational.
“It has given us the opportunity to have a virtually unlimited extension of our research and development resource.”