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Tuesday, 21 October 2014

University of Central Lancashire to support the development of Cumbria businesses

THE University of Central Lancashire’s Westlakes Campus has secured funding to support the development of new businesses on the energy coast.

Backed by the European Research Development Fund, UCLan has secured more than £500,00 worth of funding to offer specialist support for knowledge-based businesses in West Cumbria.

With the additional funding, UCLan will provide business incubation facilities for new SMEs with an energy agenda such as those working in the energy sector supply chain.

The business incubation team organises regular networking events, meaning business owners and entrepreneurs can share ideas, as well as the potential to meet new clients, suppliers and collaborators.

John Lonsdale, head of innovation and enterprise at UCLan, said: “This venture will allow Westlakes to further nurture new businesses with an energy agenda, focusing on renewable and low carbon energy production. We want to aid the growth of high value new enterprises.

“The project is part of a wider support network to support and grow new businesses in West Cumbria and increase a culture of entrepreneurship throughout the region.

“Over the last three years we have worked with over 20 start-up businesses at the Westlakes Campus and this project will build on the success we’ve had so far.”

The development follows a collaborative project with a leading think tank, Policy Network, to launch a pioneering course for professionals working with and within political and policy-facing roles on a local, regional and national level.

This doctoral programme in applied policy science reflects the institute’s commitment to research with real-world impact.

The course is designed by professionals involved in applied policy research and practical political science.

This unique course gives students an experience of the workings of the political economy and of the Westminster and Whitehall policy community.

Through the Applied Policy Sciences Unit, Westlakes has recently linked up with two local enterprises; the Howgill Family Centre charity which provides education, skills, health, and social care services for children under 19 years old and their families across Copeland and West Cumbria; and Inspira, an award-winning social enterprise company that works with organisations and communities to tackle a wide range of social challenges.

Dr Rick Wylie, principal of the Samuel Lindow Foundation at Westlakes, said: “The unit is working with Howgill Family Centre and Inspira by conducting research into community resilience, how to raise the aspirations of young people and how communities respond to, and recover from, problems.”

Since it was established in 2009, UCLan’s Westlakes Campus has focused on meeting the needs of the local community and industries, particularly in supporting the local skills agenda in the nuclear and renewable energy industry.

It offers a foundation degree in Nuclear Project Management and Control in partnership with Sellafield Ltd and focuses its research activities on nuclear engineering and technology, tourism, sustainable development and applied policy sciences.

Dr Wylie said: “We have developed courses and are undertaking research aimed at meeting the needs of the key industries in West Cumbria. We already have PhD and masters students who are conducting research in these areas and will soon offer part-time masters courses in the areas of tourism, nuclear and policy making.

“The Samuel Lindow Foundation, an independent charity based at Westlakes, has been operating in West Cumbria for 21 years to provide advanced teaching and research.

“We are developing a thriving community with a varied range of PhD and postgraduate opportunities.”

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