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University’s £1.6m business cash booster

* 15 June 2004 *

University’s £1.6m business cash booster

Local businesses will gain from a government grant worth over £1.6m, awarded to the University of Sussex to help it forge new and exciting links with the commercial sector.

The £1,638,150 award - the total sum bid for by Sussex in competition with other higher education institutions around the country - comes from the government-backed Higher Education Innovation Fund (HEIF). This award is part of a national £187m allocation. The aim of the fund is to encourage the practical application of academic know-how to business needs, to the benefit of both.

At Sussex, this is achieved through the joint working of the University's Regional Development Office, the University-owned subsidiary Sussex Intellectual Property Limited (Sussex IP), which manages and commercialises the University's intellectual property portfolio, and the Sussex Innovation Centre (SinC), which develops and supports new high-tech business.

Sussex IP's role is to market new technologies developed at the University. Its team of professionals handles the commercial development of IP, capitalising on the University's interdisciplinary research knowledge, which includes the work of two Nobel prize winners. Sussex IP also has access to a £4m fund for entrepreneurs and start-up businesses.

Mark Clark, director of business development for Sussex IP, says: "The award of the total amount bid for acknowledges the success of Sussex IP in licensing and the Sussex Innovation Centre in company incubation. The funding will allow Sussex IP and SInC to work more closely together and expand its much needed services and support to entrepreneurs and innovative businesses."

The Regional Development Office acts as the University's main contact point for local and regional businesses and manages the relationships that they might want to develop with the University. It also liaises with government bodies, sector groups and professional institutes and represents the University in the region. Funding will help the office to expand its role over the next two years, including offering courses and continued professional development in fields such as engineering.

Sharon Philips, Regional Development manager, says: "We are delighted that this award gives us an opportunity to engage in a meaningful and practical way to unite the strengths and skills of the University of Sussex and the needs of business."

Peter Brooks, Director of the Research and Regional Development Division at the University, says: "Sussex is a leading research university and this grant will strengthen its capacity to work with its partners in the region to increase research collaboration to the benefit of the region's economy."

The bid was boosted by testimonials backing the University from leading Sussex bodies, including the Sussex Learning Skills Council, West Sussex Economic Partnership, the Specialist Schools Trust and Sussex Enterprise.

* Notes for editors *

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