Illustration of hands holding a light bulb with brain inside it

University part of £4.7m grant to boost economy in east of England

The Eastern Academic Research Consortium (Eastern ARC) – comprising the universities of Kent, Essex and East Anglia – has been awarded £4.7m by the Higher Education Funding Council for England (HEFCE) to support business innovation in Kent, Essex, Norfolk and Suffolk.

The Enabling Innovation: Research to Application (EIRA) network will build collaborations with businesses and those partnerships will collectively have access to new funding, training, networking opportunities and collaborative working space.

The announcement was made by Universities Minister Jo Johnson who said the Government is investing the £4.7m to help grow the economy through improved productivity in the eastern region by encouraging collaboration between universities and businesses.

Joining the universities of Kent, Essex and East Anglia in the network from the higher education sector are the University of Suffolk, Writtle University College, Norwich University of the Arts and Harlow College. Industry partners include BT, South East LEP, New Anglian LEP, Digital Catapult, Tech East and Agri-Tech East.

The funding has been allocated from the £20m first round of HEFCE’s Connecting Capability Fund that supports universities in working together and with external partners to commercialise research, and contributes to the delivery of the Government’s Industrial Strategy.

Eastern ARC’s EIRA network project was one of just four major projects awarded funding in the first round.