Fragile Recovery in Wales Needs University Support; Access to Pool of Research and Expertise Is Key

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Byline: Aled Blake

UNIVERSITIES can play a role in Wales' economic recovery if business takes advantage of knowledge and research expertise in higher education, an academic will tell AMs today.

Professor Phil Bowen, director of innovation and engagement at Cardiff University's School of Engineering, will use a National Assembly briefing to urge AMs to encourage businesses in their constituencies to seek-out new opportunities to tap into university knowledge.

He said: "Wales' economic recovery is fragile and businesses need all the help they can get. One of the ways businesses can be helped is to exploit and take advantage of the pool of research, facilities and expertise that Welsh universities have to offer."

Prof Bowen pointed to Cardiff University's Knowledge Transfer Centre (KTC) developed at its School of Engineering.

With financial support from the Welsh Assembly Government's A4B, the KTC is designed to promote and facilitate knowledge transfer and encourage collaborative industrial research with businesses across Wales. KTCs offer businesses access to expertise and state-of-the-art facilities to help Welsh companies develop new products and services, as well as assisting them in improving their existing offerings to succeed in increasingly competitive markets.

Prof Bowen said: "There is a whole host of research expertise available at Cardiff University's School of Engineering to help businesses in a variety of different fields.

"Given the difficult economic climate, businesses have a real opportunity to get ahead of the game by accessing this information and getting ahead in their business."

There are currently three knowledge transfer projects offering support for businesses in the key areas of the environment, performance engineering and Green communications. Another mechanism for support, typically offered to larger companies, is strategic partnerships. …