Universities granted £3.5m to support a low carbon economy

The University of Portsmouth is sharing a £3.5m government investment to develop innovative new low carbon products and solutions in industry and strengthen higher education contributions to economic growth.

The University and partners Brighton and Liverpool John Moores Universities have successfully bid for funds to create Clean Growth UK – a national collaboration building on contributions all three institutions have made to the development of low carbon technologies and services in their regions.

The funding, part of the second round of a £100m government allocation to help universities collaborate with business and commercialise their research, was announced by Research England today.

The partners will learn from each other’s work contributing knowledge and expertise to the development of new products and services that promote a low carbon economy.

The universities will scale up their regional successes to create a national platform for business, universities and local government to drive forward Clean Growth – the government’s strategy for decarbonising all sectors of the UK economy through the 2020s. The platform will link innovators from small to medium-sized enterprises to university expertise and connect them to large public and private sector organisations.

University of Portsmouth Vice-Chancellor Professor Graham Galbraith said: “Joining local authorities and businesses to create an innovation ecosystem is a key element of the University’s institutional strategy. Clean Growth UK will allow each partner to share its experience and expertise to establish best practice in this sector.

“The University has a strong track record of delivering high quality collaborative research activity to business partners and producing significant commercial benefits to these organisations. We welcome the opportunity provided by this funding to build on our ability to commercialise our research for wider economic benefit.”

The University has already contributed knowledge and expertise to regional business through collaborative research and development. Some of this work was carried out as part of the Future South Green Growth Grants and Loan Programme, which secured £30m of new investment into the Solent economy.

Examples of previous work at the University of Portsmouth include improving the energy efficiency of existing products, helping to produce compostable food and drink containers and assisting an energy generation company in assessing the viability of designs to tether wave turbines to the sea floor.

Dr David Hutchinson, project lead for the University of Portsmouth, said: “I am delighted that we have been successful in securing this funding. It further highlights our significant expertise and will build on the legacy of our previous projects. Clean Growth UK will provide an opportunity to join forces with some of the other clean growth business networks in the UK, creating enduring links between the University knowledge base and over 4000 dynamic and innovative low carbon, environmental businesses.”

Clean Growth UK is one of a number of university-led projects to receive awards from Research England, aimed at developing university commercialisation. The investment will see some 54 higher education institutions collaborating with each other and with business and investor networks.

David Sweeney, executive chair of Research England, said: “These projects demonstrate the commitment of universities to work together to strengthen the research and technological capabilities of the UK. In the Industrial Strategy, the government asked us to improve our ability to turn exciting ideas into commercial products and services. Universities have stepped forward to show that they can do world class commercialisation, alongside world class science.”

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