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Press release

  • 15 April 2009

University of Sussex to help recession-hit businesses

The University of Sussex has announced a £600,000 project to give fast-track support to Sussex's world-leading digital media sector.

Working in partnership with Wired Sussex, the recession-busting scheme will help SMEs attract, recruit and maximise the potential of the region's graduates. It will also support individual digital media businesses in Sussex, especially Brighton, in boosting their business strategies.

Professor Robert Allison, Pro-Vice-Chancellor of Research said: "We are delighted to be able to increase the business community's access to higher education skills and funding with this project. It will bring high-quality, results-driven support to a vital area of our local economy and not just in the short term but for a long time to come".

This initiative builds upon the proven success of a previous Wired Sussex pilot. In the pilot programme, 40% of all interns were offered work with participating companies on successful completion of their internship.

Sharon Phillips, Head of the University's Regional Development Office explains: "Wired Sussex is an integral part of the digital media sector in Brighton and Hove and we are delighted to be working with them and our supporters, including the City Council and SEEDA, to make this project happen. £300,000 of the funding comes from the Higher Education Research Council and the additional £300,000 from the University and our generous supporters."

Specifically, the project will provide:

• one hundred graduate placements leading to possible future employment within the digital media sector;

• a model for SME's to integrate graduates into their workforce;

• a range of guidance and support for all graduate applicants to the scheme both in

person and online;

• three skills fairs;

• feedback from graduates and companies to inform curriculum development;

• an initiative that is industry-led and that delivers straightforward access to talent and

expertise from universities and colleges.

The creative industries as a whole are growing at twice the speed of the rest of the UK economy. The Sussex area hosts a significant number of these businesses with Wired Sussex membership numbering more than 1300 companies. The Content Industries need to recruit graduates who span software development, web, animation, games, e-learning, print, music, TV, film and advertising.

Notes for editors

Contacts: Danielle Treanor, University of Sussex,  t. 01273 873245


1. The Economic Challenge Investment Fund was announced by HEFCE on 27 January 2009. Higher Education institutions had to submit bids by 27 February 2009.

2. The total value of the 58 bids accepted by HEFCE is £53,715,080. The total amount of funding being made available by HEFCE to successful bidders is £25,032,647, with the remainder provided in the form of matching contributions from institutions and local partners. The funding will support institutions in delivering short-term support between April 2009 and September 2010.


  • The bid was supported by:
  • Brighton and Hove City Council
  • Brighton Institute of Modern Music
  • Business Link
  • Central College Sussex
  • Chartered Institute of Personnel Development
  • City College Brighton and Hove
  • East Sussex County Council
  • Prof Suran Goonatilake OBE
  • iCrossing
  • Learning and Skills Council
  • Relentless Software
  • Sussex Enterprise
  • University of Sussex - SG
  • West Sussex Economic Partnership - SG
  • Wired Sussex - SG
  • Worth Media - SG

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