CREST@UCS- Our impact so far

The project differentiates itself from providing general business support, supporting companies with innovation and research. In particular Priority 1b allows CREST@UCS to focus on promoting business investment in Research & Innovation with the intention to:
1) increase the proportion of small and medium enterprises that are innovation active
2) increase the number of businesses actively innovating to bring new products or new processes to the market

Since the official launch in February 2018 CREST@UCS has built a growing pipeline of businesses that have expressed a desire to innovate and obtain research support.  To date;

32 SMEs in the Marches have applied for innovation or research support
Of those, 29 have received different types of either innovation support or have been assisted with expert research.
Of the 29, 12 have received our standard package of support under ERDF which is a minimum of 12 hours support and they have come from the following areas:

  • Renewable Energy – 2 companies
  • Software/Geospatial – 5 companies
  • Manufacturing – 3 companies
  • Waste – 2 companies

Some examples of impact to date, please note, these are covered by a non disclosure agreement so we are unable to provide company names, however we have delivered the following:

  • Successful Department for Transport funding bid (energy)
  • Research collaboration to create a geospatial map of existing green space in Shropshire. This can then be modelled to include potential plans for future housing or regeneration developments. This will lead to the generation of a new product (software/geospatial)
  • Innovation support to shorten development time on a new project allowing the SME to generate more income more quickly (manufacturing)
  • Research collaboration to help the SME develop and launch a new product (software)
  • Technical expertise that the SME could not have secured themselves due to limited funds. Support also provided to help the SME complete a funding application (energy)
  • Research collaboration to develop a new product and bring it to market using academic expertise (environmental/geospatial)
  • Support to develop a Knowledge Transfer Partnership leading to development of a new software product (software)
  • Advice on Intellectual Property and identification of opportunities for new products (manufacturing)
  • Research collaboration into developing an AD facility on site (including regulations and licensing). They would be unable to carry out the activities without our support as they do not have the funds of the expertise (waste)
  • Researching the market opportunity for the re-use of existing products to create a new business (manufacturing/recycling)
  • Research collaboration into data sources to develop a new product (software)
  • Support to developing funding and grant applications for a novel waste management scheme (waste)


Is your business working hard to improve and protect the water environment?

The Marches Blue Business Award celebrates those leading the way in protecting local water resources. It focuses on innovative projects being implemented by businesses across the Marches and beyond which aim to reduce or eliminate water pollution, improve water quality, and cut the use of water within their own organisation. Enter the Marches Blue Business Award competition and your business could join a growing network of exemplary organisations helping to conserve the most valuable resource of all, water! The closing date is Friday 5th November 2018. For more information click here

Julieanna Powell-Turner joins CREST@UCS

CREST@UCS is pleased to announce the appointment of Dr Julieanna Powell-Turner as Research Director. She joins us from Cranfield University where she was Head of Research and a Senior Lecturer in Sustainable Supply Chains. Julieanna’s experience includes environmental management and policy development which builds on her background in environmental sciences.

Her work at Cranfield covered the interfaces between environmental sustainability and the circular economy where products and services are considered through life from design to final disposal in a supply network. The aim of this through life approach is to investigate and advance early stage innovative ideas. Therefore reducing the likelihood and/or the impact of supply disruptions to business through risk identification (disruptions), assessment (occurrence and impact), action (strategy and mitigation) and monitoring (reduce risk).

We’re in the middle of a tech revolution…!

Our Tech Business Breakfast demonstrated that there are a huge number of tech companies based in Shropshire. Attendees heard about opportunities for the county to grow upon its existing strengths in geospatial, manufacturing and environmental technologies. Could Shropshire become the place for digital innovation in artificial intelligence, open source data, digi health, sports tech and assistive technology?

On 26th June CREST@UCS held its second funded workshop for SMEs. It was run by Dr Andrew Miles and focused on how the opening up of geospatial data held by public bodies can benefit businesses in the area. It was a small, hands on event that provided the opportunity to bring like minded individuals together. This workshop identified that there is a need for a local GIS usergroup to be established in the area. CREST@UCS is now working with Dr Andrew Miles and local businesses to develop this. Stay tuned for more information!

Shropshire Chamber Business Awards

CREST@UCS was proud to sponsor the ‘Environmental Innovation’ award at the Shropshire Chamber Business Awards, held on Friday 15th June 2018 at Telford International Centre. We were very pleased to celebrate with Hobson’s Brewery, winners of the award.

CREST@UCS held its first funded workshop on 15th May 2018, which was a great success, being attended by over 50 people.
There were some interesting talks from both academics and people in industry about how flooding can be managed naturally, and what the benefits of this are to businesses in Shropshire and Telford & Wrekin.

The workshop featured talks from Dr Anne Wheeler, Chair of the Severn and Wye Regional Flood and Coastal Committee; Mike Morris, Deputy Director of the Severn Rivers Trust; Dr Phil Marren, CREST Researcher; Dr Nicola Hall from Reaseheath College; Guy Pluckwell from the Environment Agency and Peter Lambert, from Shropshire Wildlife Trust.