Lancaster University’s work to support businesses and the economy has been recognised by the inaugural Educate North Awards.
Lancaster picked up the Commercial Engagement Award at a ceremony held at The Hilton Manchester Deansgate on June 3.
Lancaster University is strongly focused on working with business and has helped create more than 4,000 jobs through working with more than 5,000 SMEs. The university employs around 80 staff in dedicated business-support roles, and their activity leads to many more academics and students working with around 600 businesses a year.
An independent assessment identified Lancaster University to be worth at least £250 million to the regional economy, supporting more than 5,200 jobs, and worth £630 million to the national economy, protecting more than 10,000 jobs. This review also revealed Lancaster’s business engagement projects, which are all research-informed, boosted the North West’s economy by £15.80 for each public sector pound received –demonstrating an outstanding return on investment.
Professor Mark E. Smith, Vice-Chancellor of Lancaster University, said: “Lancaster University is strongly committed to working with businesses of all sizes but is particularly proud of the support it offers to small and medium sized enterprises.
“Our significant business engagement activities reinforce Lancaster’s aim to positively impact the local community and regional economy, translate research into products and services, and ensure our students are highly employable.”
Educate North judges said: “This was an outstanding application, which displayed Lancaster’s role in kick-starting British enterprise. The university has well-constructed and sustainable initiatives showing benefits to the university, the region and beyond.
“The established SME engagement model will now have a national application and benefit the sector as a whole."
The Educate North Commercial Engagement Award is the latest recognition for Lancaster’s work with businesses. In 2014, the University received the Small Business Charter Gold award – one of only three nationally – in recognition of the role it has played in supporting enterprise. Its work with SMEs was also recognised by Sir Andrew Witty within his Government commissioned report ‘Encouraging a British Invention Revolution’, which identified Lancaster as a top ten UK university on volume of interactions with SMEs.
Commercial engagement remains very much at the heart of the University’s future strategy. Lancaster is investing in the construction of a £11.3million purpose-built chemistry research facility dedicated for use by industry to test and develop new products and technologies. The Collaborative Technology Access Programme (cTAP) Building, will open to businesses in Autumn 2015. This will significantly boost innovation by SMEs that could not previously afford to purchase cutting-edge equipment and facilities.
In addition, the university has announced the creation of a new Health Innovation Campus in Lancaster that will provide space to work collaboratively with businesses on new technologies and processes to support healthy ageing.