East of England MEP visits to discuss pioneering science partnership benefiting the region’s SMEs

15 October 2018

On Friday 12 October, Labour MEP Alex Mayer visited the University of Hertfordshire to discuss the innovative 6 million-pound Hertfordshire Science Partnership (HSP).

The HSP is a pioneering collaboration between the University of Hertfordshire and the Hertfordshire Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP), made possible by funding from Local Growth Fund and the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF). It provides academic expertise and state-of-the-art science facilities to businesses looking to research and develop new technologies in the life sciences and agritechnology sectors.

Alex Mayer MEP was welcomed by Julie Newlan, the University’s Pro Vice-Chancellor for Business and International Development, Professor Darragh Murnane, Director of the Hertfordshire Science Partnership, and Mark Bretton, Chair of the Hertfordshire Local Enterprise Partnership. During the visit Julie spoke about the work of the HSP and its focus on equipping a new generation of researchers to deliver industry-ready solutions that address the nation’s strategic challenges. Among these solutions are new healthcare technologies to support an ageing population and agritech innovations for high-efficiency food production.

Benefits for SME's

Alongside taking a tour of the University’s new science building, Mrs Mayer and Professor Murnane discussed how smaller science companies can struggle to access funding and develop their original ideas and technologies. By hiring University facilities and using academic expertise to design research studies, local small and medium-sized enterprises can access the same research and innovation opportunities available to large organisations.

East of England MEP Alex Mayer said: 'I’d like to thank the University of Hertfordshire for showing me their top notch facilities. It is clear that the Hertfordshire Science Partnership is enabling some innovative work between academia and business. But with Brexit looming we also discussed future funding and how there could be a need for more analysts as medicines need to be separately quality checked at both an EU and UK level.'

Julie Newlan said about the visit: 'It was a real honour to welcome Alex Mayer to the University of Hertfordshire. The University’s partnership with the LEP and local businesses continues to build on Hertfordshire’s reputation for global excellence in science and technology. The Hertfordshire Science Partnership is a fantastic resource for the East of England’s business community, aiming to take high-end research through to commercialisation, supporting growth and creating local jobs.'

Mark Bretton, Chair, Hertfordshire Local Enterprise Partnership, said: 'Hertfordshire LEP has a good track record of working with the University and other organisations, in aligning Local Growth Fund projects with European funding to maximise success. The HSP is a prime example of imaginative collaborative working across academia, the LEP and business to support bringing innovative research to market.'

The Hertfordshire Science Partnership

The HSP is expected to facilitate 28 knowledge exchange partnerships by 2023 and will result in 28 collaborative PhD projects. The current PhD with Industry Experience programmes include projects to investigate resistance to crop disease affecting oilseed rape for RSK ADAS Ltd, researching new ways of administering drugs to older patients who have difficulty swallowing for Fluid Pharma Ltd, exploring more efficient modelling for testing the effect of drugs on organs for CN Bio Innovations Ltd, and investigating growing food locally for Letchworth Garden City Heritage Foundation.

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