Business community to benefit from £1.9 million investment after University Centre Shrewsbury bid

February 15, 2018

The Shropshire business community is set for a £1.9 million boost thanks to a successful bid for European Union funding by University Centre Shrewsbury (UCS).
A new centre is being created at the institution, in partnership with University Centre Reaseheath, to develop and increase the productivity of environmental science and technology businesses in the area.
The Centre for Research into Environmental Science and Technology (CREST) is bringing together a range of experts to help businesses grow and succeed.
They will work with Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs), in the county, including the Telford and Wrekin area. Support will be provided through research and specialist advice, and helping SMEs to develop innovative ideas and products before bringing them to market. This will include workshops to learn about new technologies and opportunities, and researcher placements.
The Centre is creating jobs directly, including the appointment of business development managers and researchers, and aims to create at least another five jobs in Shropshire by December 2019 as a result of its work.
The £1.97 million project has been made possible by a European Regional Development Fund grant of almost £1.2 million awarded to UCS, via the Marches Local Enterprise Partnership, as well as a contribution of almost £800,000 from the University of Chester.
CREST will support businesses offering services and products in areas including: groundwater; contaminated land; bio fuels and energy; flooding and hydrology; ecology; bioscience; air quality; noise and dust pollution and sustainable/smart housing for rural communities
Paul Kirkbright, UCS Deputy Provost, said: “We are thrilled to have secured this funding to contribute to strengthening the county’s business economy and creating new jobs.
“The series of principles underpinning the development of UCS include acting as a catalyst for economic growth, linking into key industrial, environmental and commercial sectors, and alongside this, attracting and retaining talent in the area.
“UCS is already contributing to the vitality of the area by bringing wide-ranging academic and industry experts together under one roof, creating jobs for teaching and support staff, and our hundreds of students are using businesses and services, working and joining organisations locally.
“The creation of the University Centre is enabling the area to benefit from the opportunities that a university creates and this Centre is a further investment for the future of the Shropshire region.”
Jon Britten, CREST Project Manager, added: “It’s important that the region contributes to the Government’s Clean Growth Strategy which is about growing our national income while cutting carbon emissions – and this is a key focus of the Centre.
“Many businesses are not in a position where they can afford to explore new ideas to grow, or may not have even considered that they can benefit from activities such as research and specialist guidance on development and innovation.
“But there is real potential for growth and we’re excited to work closely with businesses and help them take significant steps to ensure they prosper.”
The CREST team offers extensive experience in the area of environmental sciences and business, including: research; project development; business support; owning and running businesses; acting as policy leads and working for and with a wide range of national and international organisations including the European Commission, Environment Agency and DEFRA (the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs).
Businesses seeking support, or anyone who would like to find out more, can contact Business Development Managers, Simon Burgess at or on 07816 306697, or Vicki Ayton at or on 07880 784733.
CREST is based at Guildhall in Frankwell Quay, Shrewsbury, UCS’s learning and research base.
A partnership between the University of Chester and Shropshire Council, UCS is a distinctive institution, focused on high-quality teaching and research, fostering entrepreneurship and contributing to the community.
For more information go to Updates on UCS are also available at and

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The Marches Local Enterprise Partnership has now ceased trading and transferred all its functions to Shropshire Council working with Telford & Wrekin Council and Herefordshire Council, in line with the UK Government's plans for devolution.

The Marches LEP was established in 2011 and hands over an impressive legacy from its 13-year life. In that time the LEP invested over £196m in projects across the Marches, securing in excess of £100m of match funding and supported more than 66,000 business interactions.

The schemes supported have made tangible differences to local communities, increasing skills, creating jobs and improving the physical appearance of many towns.

We would like to thank all the LEP Board Members who have given their time freely over the life of the LEP, as well as all the staff who worked for the LEP over the years. We also want to thank our delivery partners, local education providers and local, regional and national stakeholders who helped us achieve so much.

The Marches Growth Hub will continue to support businesses and will be managed by Shropshire Council, supported by Telford and Wrekin and Herefordshire Councils. Each of the three Local Authorities will also continue to provide direct business support locally. Details of this support will be available through the Marches Growth Hub website and from the Local Authorities directly. Website: | email:

The Marches Careers Hub will continue to be delivered and will be managed by Shropshire Council, supported by Telford & Wrekin and Herefordshire Councils. Website: | email:

For any queries about Getting Building Fund (GBF), Local Growth Fund (LGF) and Marches Investment Fund (MIF) projects supported by the Marches LEP please contact:

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The solvent liquidation of the Marches LEP is being managed by the Evelyn Partners Limited. For any matter related to this please contact:

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