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£4.7 million to boost economic growth in the east of England

12 Oct 2017 11:45AM

Universities Minister Jo Johnson has announced today (Thursday 12 October) that the Government is investing £4.7 million to grow the economy through improved productivity in the eastern region by encouraging collaboration between universities and businesses.

The Eastern Academic Research Consortium (Eastern ARC) – of which the University of Suffolk is a partner – has been awarded £4.7 million by the Higher Education Funding Council for England (HEFCE) to establish a network that will support business innovation in Norfolk, Suffolk, Essex and Kent.

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.

Stef Thorne, Head Of Research And Enterprise Services at the University of Suffolk, said “We are delighted to be working with the lead partners on this project and the collaborative opportunities this will bring to deliver the Industrial Strategy, connect our collective abilities and resources as Universities to engage in knowledge exchange, respond to the regional scale-up and productivity challenges and strengthen the region. The University of Suffolk is, through the Ipswich Waterfront Innovation Centre, and our emergent research strengths, well placed to deliver this agenda as an anchor institution in Suffolk.”

The Eastern Academic Research Consortium (Eastern ARC) consistes of the universities of Essex, East Anglia and Kent. Joining the as higher education partners are the University of Suffolk, Writtle University College, Norwich University of the Arts and Harlow College. Initial partners include BT, South East LEP, New Anglia LEP, Digital Catapult, Tech East and Agri-Tech East.

Fraser Burton, Head of BT University Research, said: “BT is keen to translate research into innovation and useful products and services and we will directly support and collaborate with this initiative and advise on its future direction. EIRA’s research expertise and innovation will not only find application in telecommunications, but will prove useful for many diverse areas of the digital economy, especially in the east of England.”

The funding has been allocated from the £20 million first round of HEFCE’s Connecting Capability Fund which 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.


University of Suffolk Press Office
T: 01473 338476