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East Midlands Chamber News

Call for companies to enter contest for ERDF-funded student placement

SME businesses in Derbyshire and Nottinghamshire can make a great start to the New Year by winning European funding and academic know-how to boost productivity and development.

The Productivity through Innovation (PtI) Scheme, funded through the European Regional Development Fund and delivered by the University of Derby in collaboration Nottingham and Nottingham Trent universities, is open to all small to medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in the D2N2 Local Enterprise Partnership area.

Up to nine companies will receive funding support to each take on a university graduate with the skills and knowledge to tackle a specific business project, such as product development and system design.

Academic support and access to university facilities, technology and other essential resources will also be made available to the businesses.

Successful completion of the 12-month Knowledge Exchange for Innovation placements, which must be part-sponsored by the successful SMEs to cover the cost of the students’ stipend - their basic salary - and travel expenses, will result in a full Industrial MPhil studentship for each of the graduates.

The deadline to enter the scheme is 31 January 2020.

Sophie Beer, the University of Derby’s ERDF Project Manager, said: “This is an excellent opportunity for SMEs across the region to bring in new skills and knowledge, along with a fresh perspective to find solutions to a particular challenge or opportunity which could help transform their business.

“This isn’t limited to any particular sector or market. It really is down to companies who would benefit from academic support and resources to work with us to clearly identify their needs and to find the expertise which will help them to achieve a specific business objective.”

Guidance notes and application forms are available by emailing Sophie at s.beer@derby.ac.uk

Applications are particularly sought from, but not limited to, companies operating in the following sectors:

  • Rail
  • Life sciences and healthcare
  • Digital, software and cloud-based technology
  • Artificial intelligence
  • Smart Cities
  • Transport Equipment Manufacturing
  • Education