January 2020: £10 million Growth Challenge

In July 2019 the Marches Growth Hub launched a £10 million Growth Challenge to businesses across the region to help fire up the economy. So far businesses in Herefordshire, Shropshire and Telford & Wrekin have secured £1 million of this.

Businesses are now being invited to visit if they are looking specifically for grant funding to help grow their enterprises.

Grants are available for SMEs offering services and products to other businesses for projects as varied as helping you to bring a new product to market or to build, extend or renovate your premises.

More information can be found here.

September 2019: Tech Severn

CREST@UCS had a stand at the Tech Severn event which was held at Theatre Severn and organised by Shropshire Council. This two-day event was attended by over 600 visitors from local government, businesses, academia and charities. Innovation showcased included technology enabled care, education, construction, digi-health and green technology.

In support of Tech Severn, CREST@UCS hosted a Business Breakfast with presentations from Strength Through Adversity, demonstrating the use of a ReWalk Robotics exoskeleton that allows Darren Edwards to walk again following an accident that left him paralysed; Reclaim Tax UK and Professor John Buckley from UCS who presented on health related innovation.

July 2019: Shrewsbury Geospatial Forum

As part of the project to develop the Geospatial Special Interest Group at University Centre Shrewsbury, we have recently formed a Geospatial Working Group to support the Geospatial SIG, which met for the first time on June 19th at UCS. A number of actions came out of this meeting:

  • 5 new geospatial CPD workshops between July 2019 and March 2020
  • A change of name to Shrewsbury Geospatial Forum

The first event is to be held on the 24th July, 5.30pm – 7:00pm at UCS and will be an informal gathering with drinks and nibbles. More information on this and all other events can be found here

June 2019: Case Study in State of the Relationship Report 2019

We are very pleased to be featured in the 2019 State of the Relationship Report from the National Centre for Universities and Businesses, with a case study on Creative Exchanges of Knowledge.

“… knowledge exchange is far more creative and dynamic, and differs depending on the type, size and aims of the partners involved. It can be anything from shared spaces, to people, to priorities. And its impacts are just as wide-ranging”. NCUB Report

Here at CREST@UCS we are all about partnership, and much of our time is spent working with local businesses on research projects. This case study focuses on the collaboration between us and local software developers, Wolf Logic Ltd, resulting in the creation of a new product called Geopoints. This allows registered users to search for any location, using either a postcode or map co-ordinates, to find land and property details such as boundaries, title information, solar suitability, environmental issues and terrain information.

“It quickly became evident that in developing a geospatial product for market, Wolf Logic would benefit greatly from CREST’s expertise in environmental geospatial analysis”. NCUB Report

To read the report in full, click here (we are on page 43)

June 2019: And the winner is…

Border Hardwood! We are very pleased to announce that Border Hardwood Ltd was the winner of the Environmental Innovation Award, sponsored by CREST@UCS. They are an example of how a business can make small innovative changes to have a positive impact on the environment.  These are just some of the steps they have taken to ensure sustainability:

  • All of the oak is supplied with either the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) or the Programme for the Endorsement of Forest Certification (PEFC) certificate
  • They know their supply chains and complete regular supplier due diligence checks. “Can pick up our oak and tell customers exactly where it was grown, where it has come from, and assure our customers that it was harvested responsibly” says Charlie Bevan-Jones, Managing Director
  • Installed solar panels, to reduce the electricity consumption of the site
  • Harvest rainwater to wash down trucks, thus reducing water consumption
  • Installed a biomass boiler to burn unusable waste; this fuels the kiln used to dry their oak
  • Invested in software system to reduce paper usage by 70% by 2020
  • Since 2015 all vehicles are dual fuel with a charging facility on site
  • Unless impractical, all foreign travel is done by car or rail
  • Waste sawdust gets donated to a local community farm 

May 2019: Shropshire Chamber Business Awards 2019

CREST@UCS is proud to sponsor the ‘Environmental Innovation’ award at the Shropshire Chamber Business Awards for a second year running. This is an award for environmentally aware businesses which have introduced or developed innovative environmental practices, processes or technology either for use within their own business or for the marketplace.

We are pleased to announce the finalists for the award:

Judging will take place on Tuesday 21st May 2019.

May 2019: Our impact so far

An update of the impacts CREST@UCS has had for SMEs located in Shropshire and Telford & Wrekin.


  • A new product that makes advanced environmental data accessible to property developers, estate agents and commercial land agents
  • Creation of a Geospatial Special Interest Group with an interest in advancing Geospatial Mapping & Science, Learning and Technology


  • Product testing carried out by a CREST@UCS consultant


  • A geospatial data driven interactive food poverty map, used to inform strategy and locate hotspots
  • Development of a website, which will lead to the development of an environmental training package hosted on a Virtual Learning Environment
  • Support with development of a circular economy around green waste 
  • Research into how brewers spent grain can be utilised

Planning and Pollution

  • Research and training on use of free datasets to reduce costs and increase efficiency 
  • Specialist research into datasets and methodologies
  • Development of GIS and remote sensing workflow 
  • GIS training for team members to facilitate computerised data collection and interpretation
  • Advice and initial scoping into the feasibility for the development of in-field bioreactors

Renewable Energy

  • Support on developing funding and grant applications


  • Contributed to the creation of the Shrewsbury Water Forum – an informal professional business networking group aimed at promoting the water science sector
  • Formation of a Sensor Research group to investigate the use of technology to manage pollution in Shropshire
  • Shared information and expertise on the concept of Smart Rural, in the first of several events planned on the topic


Number of SMEs who have applied for support

Number of SMEs who have received some support

Number of SMEs with completed support package

March 2019: Shrewsbury Water Forum

CREST@UCS have been influential in developing the newly named Shrewsbury Water Forum. Since it’s creation in November 2018, the informal, professional networking group have decided to focus on:

  • Promoting and sustaining Shrewsbury as a centre of Groundwater Excellence 
  • Encouraging collaboration between the professional community and academia
  • Promoting and improving access to groundwater science training and education
  • Retaining and grow the economic activity of this industry within the Marches LEP

The group have a number of technical events planned but are also pursuing business surgeries, a day event to be hosted in Shrewsbury, and, for the longer term, a ‘hot topics’ conference and publication for groundwater science. There is also talk of resurrecting the “Water Ball” to raise money for WaterAid!

If you are interested in water and would like to get involved or be kept up to date with information, please email 

February 2019: The British Renewable Energy Awards, organised by the REA – 11th June 2019

The British Renewable Energy Awards is Now Open for Entries! The BREA are the most prestigious event in the UK renewable energy industry calendar; recognising and celebrating the achievements of companies and individuals who have done something amazing in renewables and clean technology over the past year.

If you, your company, a colleague, a supplier or someone you know has done something amazing in renewables or clean tech over the past year. enter them now to honour them.

For more information and an entry form visit the REA website

February 2019: CREST@UCS is proud to be a sponsor of the Marches Blue Business Awards

We are pleased to offer a venue for the event, which is likely to be held on 4th December 2019. If your business is working to improve water quality or reduce its consumption of water, you might like to earn recognition for your efforts by applying for the Marches Blue Business Award.

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.

Applications are now open so for more information, and to see the winners from 2018, visit the Shropshire Wildlife Trust website.

November 2018: CREST@UCS first geospatial Special Interest Group

October was a busy month for CREST@UCS events; we held the first meeting of our geospatial special interest group. The group members have a shared interest in advancing geospatial mapping & science, and learning and technology.  The SIG came about as response to the geospatial workshop run by Andrew Miles in June.  It gives members the opportunity to communicate, meet, and organise events. Likewise, they are able to cooperate to impact or to produce solutions within the geospatial field.

This meeting was timely as the Government are establishing a Geospatial Commission to oversee and open up geospatial data held by Government Departments. It is anticipated the Geospatial Commission will publish a strategy in Spring 2019 based on the call to businesses that was due at the end of October 2018.

One result of this meeting was a successfully completed questionnaire in response to the Geospatial Commission’s call for evidence. We are awaiting to hear the overall outcomes from this call for evidence.

November 2018: R&D Tax Credits and Intellectual Property Event

This event was held in October 2018 and attended by businesses who work in a variety of different areas. We had extremely knowledgeable speakers providing information useful for anyone starting a new business or developing their own products.

“Use of case studies was particularly helpful in gaining an understanding of the subject matter” G.M.

“The Intellectual Property Office gave an overview that was particularly useful” M.S.

“I will look into R&D tax credits further to see if they are applicable to my business” M.W.

Number of SMEs who have applied for support

Number of SMEs who have received some support

Number of SMEs with completed support package

October 2018: Our impact so far

Since the official launch in February 2018 CREST@UCS has delivered the following (please note, due to privacy we are unable to provide company names):


  • Successful Department for Transport funding bid
  • 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


  • 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
  • Research collaboration to help the SME develop and launch a new product
  • Research collaboration to develop a new product and bring it to market using academic expertise
  • Support to develop a Knowledge Transfer Partnership leading to development of a new software product
  • Research collaboration into data sources to develop a new product


  • Innovation support to shorten development time on a new project allowing the SME to generate more income more quickly
  • Advice on Intellectual Property and identification of opportunities for new products
  • Researching the market opportunity for the re-use of existing products to create a new business


  • 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 or the expertise
  • Support with developing funding and grant applications for a novel waste management scheme

October 2018: 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

September 2018: 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).

July 2018: 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?

July 2018: Geospatial data workshop

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!

June 2018: 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.