Business partnerships praised in the House of Commons

  • Date

    Thu 9 Nov 17

Companies based in Essex and Suffolk were thrilled to be mentioned in the House of Commons as part of a debate on the work of the University of Essex.

During the debate Harwich and North Essex MP Bernard Jenkin highlighted to The Minister for Apprenticeships and Skills Anne Milton MP the many ways our researchers help businesses in the region.

He picked out our Knowledge Transfer Partnerships with Stowmarket-based Orbital Media and Colchester-based Above Surveying for particular attention. Both are working with academics from our School of Computer Science and Electronic Engineering and a research associate recruited in partnership with the University,

Ms Milton responded: “There is no doubt that the University of Essex is really leading the way—I am incredibly impressed.”

Will Hitchcock, from Above Surveying, said:  “Our project with the University of Essex is progressing incredibly well. The academic support from the University, coupled with financial support from Innovate UK expands our capability and ability to solve some of the most complex technical challenges we face. It’s really good to see these initiatives getting the profile in Parliament they deserve.”

Impact through partnerships

Mr Jenkin told the House of Commons: “University of Essex research has impact through partnerships with businesses of all sizes. That work was recognised when the university was ranked in the top 10 in the UK for engagement with business through Knowledge Transfer Partnerships, and supported by Innovate UK, to help businesses improve their competitiveness through better use of UK knowledge, technology and skills.

“The Knowledge Transfer Partnerships are one of the main ways in which the university ensures its research feeds into business activity, and the range and scope of those partnerships is extensive. For example, Essex works with the digital agency, Orbital Media, to use artificial intelligence to create automated online GP services. Essex also works with the organisation Above Surveying, which will use the latest technology to improve the way its drones monitor and inspect solar farms.

Ambitious plans for the future

Mr Jenkin outlined Essex’s ambitious plans to expand its work with business through further partnerships and investing in the Knowledge Gateway research and technology park.

He added: “Essex is continuing to expand its business engagement and the University of Essex Innovation Centre is now being built on the Colchester Campus. This is a joint initiative with Essex County Council and the south-east local enterprise partnership, which, when completed, will provide space and support for up to 50 start-ups and smaller high-tech businesses in the Knowledge Gateway research and technology park.

“The university’s research impact also supports public institutions in tackling challenging social and economic issues. In conjunction with Essex County Council, the university has appointed the UK’s first local authority chief scientific adviser, Slava Mikhaylov, professor of public policy and data science, who supports Essex County Council to develop policy rooted in scientific analysis and evidence.“

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