Event celebrates launch of £1.9 million University Centre Shrewsbury initiative

February 21, 2018

The launch of a new £1.9 million initiative at University Centre Shrewsbury (UCS) which will support Shropshire businesses was celebrated this week.
A special event was held to mark the opening of The Centre for Research into Environmental Science and Technology (CREST).
The Centre is being created at the institution, in partnership with University Centre Reaseheath, to help environmental science and technology businesses to grow and succeed, after a successful bid for European Union funding by UCS.
The event provided an opportunity to share more information about CREST and featured a presentation from Dr David Gregory-Kumar, Science, Environment and Rural Affairs Correspondent for the BBC in the West Midlands, and presenter for BBC Radio 4’s Farming Today programme. Talks were also given by leading academic Professor Roy Alexander and Chair of the Centre’s Industry Advisory Panel, Adrian Platt.
Dr Gregory-Kumar, said: “I was delighted to speak at yesterday’s launch. For me the importance of a new Higher Education Institution in a rural location can’t be overstated. This new Centre will boost that impact further and I hope so much to tackle some of the issues I have talked about at the launch.”
Prof Alexander said: “This timely initiative provides an ideal opportunity for enterprises and specialists to work together in order to help secure a more sustainable future for communities in Shropshire, particularly those in rural areas.”
Mr Platt added: “This week’s CREST launch demonstrates the exciting possibilities for local business, with access to research support and expert business advice.CREST represents a great opportunity for local businesses both new start-ups and existing companies. It’s great to be involved with such a well thought-out business support initiative.”
CREST is bringing together a range of experts to 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 £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.
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.
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
Businesses seeking support, or anyone who would like to find out more, can contact Business Development Managers, Simon Burgess at s.burgess@chester.ac.uk or on 07816 306697, or Vicki Ayton at v.ayton@chester.ac.uk 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.

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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: www.marchesgrowthhub.co.uk | email: enquiries@marchesgrowthhub.co.uk.

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

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: gary.spence@shropshire.gov.uk

For any finance queries please contact: michelle.hodgkiss@shropshire.gov.uk

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

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