1st December 1999
For immediate release
The University of Sussex yesterday (30 November) won £1.1 million in grants over four years to help it forge stronger links with business. The University will use the money, allocated by the Higher Education Funding Council for England (HEFCE), to establish a fully professional Business Services Unit.
Pro-Vice-Chancellor Professor Tony Moore welcomed the announcement of the award: "The Business Services Unit will convert academic knowledge into business activity, create additional economic wealth for the region and complement the substantial capital investment that the University has already committed towards meeting our "knowledge into business" strategy. The money will be of vital assistance in delivering the commercialisation of knowledge and the provision of services to business."
As part of its "knowledge into business" strategy, the University has made a commitment to invest a further £3 million (including a £600,000 Single Regeneration Budget grant) into the Innovation Centre, an incubation unit for new high-technology businesses. Construction will begin next summer of an additional building on the Falmer campus, leading to the creation of 150 new jobs.
Once the building programme is complete in 2001, the Innovation Centre will comprise nearly 40,000 square feet of purpose-built offices and laboratories. The Business Services Unit will play a pivotal role in facilitating academic interaction with the Sussex Innovation Centre and with the business community as a whole.
Partner agencies including the South East England Development Agency (SEEDA), Government Office of the South East (GOSE) and Sussex Enterprise are fully supportive of the project to establish a Business Services Unit. Mr Barrie Giles, Director of Enterprise Development at SEEDA, said: "Enterprise hubs, which include both the flow of knowledge from research and proximity of an innovation centre, are critical to regional wealth creation and economic growth."
The HEFCE allocated the grant under the Higher Education Reach-out to Business and the Community Fund, a partnership project between the HEFCE and government departments in Whitehall.
The programme is intended to become a third permanent stream of HEFCE funding, complementing those for teaching and research. HEFCE Chief Executive Sir Brian Fender said: "Through this fund we aim to ensure that knowledge and ideas created within universities and colleges are harnessed to create growth in the economy and to benefit the whole community."
The University had to submit a strategic plan for its activities over a four-year period, including clear measurable targets for the outcomes. This plan built on its aims and established strengths, and is intended to meet identified needs in the local and regional economy.
The University’s application was assessed by an expert advisory group drawn from the business and academic communities and including representatives from the HEFCE, Department of Trade and Industry (DTI), and Department for Education and Employment (DfEE). This panel was advised by HEFCE regional consultants, in partnership with colleagues in the Government Offices and Regional Development Agencies.