Innovation Labs Partnership Shortlisted for National Award

7 November 2023
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Gurpreet Jagpal, Emma Wakeling and Peter Basford in The Atrium cutting a cake to celebrate the ILABS 1st birthday
The ILABS first birthday celebrations

The University of Suffolk has been shortlisted as a finalist in a prestigious national award for knowledge exchange – the impact the University has in the wider world such as with businesses, the public sector and charities.

The University is up for the KE Strategic Partnership award for the Innovation Labs programme at the PraxisAuril KE Awards 2023 – the awards ceremony for the UK’s professional association for organisations involved in knowledge exchange.

The Innovation Labs – University of Suffolk (ILABS) partnership was established in January 2022, formally launching in June that year to be a focal point for developing entrepreneurs, start-ups and the innovation ecosystem.

It includes hosting hot desk space, networking and collaboration opportunities and access to the University’s Business Engagement and Knowledge Exchange team on Ipswich Waterfront.

Among the benefits membership businesses enjoy are access to all four Innovation Labs sites, 3D printers, meeting rooms and workshop space; weekly events to help people run their businesses better; help to find funding opportunities; and support from growth advisors and business development managers who can help members connect with academic experts to support their projects.

The University of Suffolk Innovation Lab is one of a number in Suffolk, with other locations in Sudbury, Woodbridge and Stowmarket, supported by the New Anglia Local Enterprise Partnership’s Connected Innovation initiative, Suffolk Growth and Mid Suffolk, Ipswich, Babergh and East Suffolk councils.

Professor Gurpreet Jagpal, Pro Vice-Chancellor Business and Entrepreneurship at the University of Suffolk, said: “This award nomination demonstrates the significant impact our work here has outside of the university campus walls, and we are committed to developing entrepreneurs and innovation, helping our economy thrive and becoming one of the regional business support providers of choice.

“We are thrilled to have been recognised as a finalist and look forward to the ceremony in Leeds on November 23.”

Peter Basford, Co-founder of the Innovation Labs Group, said: “It is great that the Innovation Labs partnership with the University of Suffolk has been recognised with a national award nomination. The labs are a great environment for fostering new connections and supporting innovative thinking, and we are sure future projects will thrive through the work of the partnership.”

The award nomination follows the recent publication of the latest Knowledge Exchange Framework (KEF) ratings, where the University improved in a number of key benchmarks.

Universities are ranked in clusters featuring similar traits, with the University of Suffolk ranking second out of 18 in its cluster for public and community engagement, third in the cluster for research partnerships and fourth for working with business.

Knowledge exchange activities which helped contribute to those rankings include organising the Spotlight Suffolk and Open Lecture series of events available to the public for free, careers fairs bringing together students and businesses, the Digital Futures seminar series exploring key topics in digital technology, social enterprise bootcamps to help entrepreneurs kick start their business ideas and a host of research projects academics are involved in.

The University will find out if it has been successful in the PraxisAuril awards at a glittering ceremony in Leeds on November 23.

Find out more by visiting the website here: KE Awards 2023.

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