£12million Enterprise and Innovation Centre given go ahead

Written by: Chris Shaw | Published:

A £12million development that will enable entrepreneurs and companies to forge close links with the expertise and technical resources of the University of Huddersfield has been given the go ahead.

The EU has agreed to invest £6.4m from the European Regional Development Fund in the new Enterprise and Innovation Centre (EIC) at the University of Huddersfield. Kirklees Council is also making an investment in the project which will be open for business in 2012.

The centre was established by the University's director of Research and Enterprise, Dr Liz Towns-Andrews, pictured. "This is fantastic news, not only for the University but the region as a whole," she said. "The Enterprise and Innovation Centre will be a completely new model for the way that universities work with business."

Plans are already underway to transform industrial premises that were used as the University's Business School until it relocated to a new £17m centre last year. The vacated building, named Larchfield, will gain an additional floor and a large glass atrium. According to Towns-Andrews, there will be space for up to 100 small business tenants and scope for large firms to establish strategic bases.

The ground floor of the EIC will become an 'innovation avenue', showcasing new ideas, equipment and technology, alongside the University's research programmes and facilities such as powerful computers, imaging, rapid prototyping and metrology equipment.

Although the centre is designed to boost enterprise in the region, Town-Andrews hopes that the new development will also become a national centre of excellence.

"University of Huddersfield students will gain massively, especially the large numbers of them aiming to start their own businesses," she said. "They will have a high powered commercial environment on their doorstep, providing opportunities to study and experience business life."

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