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A4B Feasibility Study

 

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ACADEMIC EXPERTISE FOR BUSINESS (A4B)

FEASIBILITY STUDY

Knowledge Transfer of Advanced Membrane and Surface Technologies for Process Engineering and Biomedical Applications

INTRODUCTION

A4B is a six year programme of support funded by the Welsh Assembly Government and European Structural Funds aimed at providing a simplified, integrated package of support for knowledge transfer from academia to business. A4B brings together a suite of already successful programmes into one, overarching programme, improving on previous capabilities.

A4B consists of the best elements of the Knowledge Exploitation Fund (KEF), Centres of Excellence for Technology and Industrial Collaboration (CETIC), Know How Wales (KHW) and Accelerate Clusters (AC). These previously separate programmes have successfully worked with both Higher Education Institutions and, where appropriate, Further Education Institutions over the last seven years, delivering knowledge transfer to Welsh industry and businesses.

This new strategic approach to supporting Knowledge Transfer will also enhance the existing collaboration with HEFCW in the delivery of Third Mission aims and objectives. A4B will provide a single strategic fund to support Third Mission knowledge transfer projects that will build on the infrastructure funding provided by HEFCW.

The aim of the programme is to promote a high value-added economy and to maximise the economic impact of academia and business through technology transfer and the creation of a stronger science, engineering and technology base with clear commercial potential. This will be achieved by the adoption of new processes, systems and services, or by improving substantially those already produced or installed. In turn, this will lead to the creation of high value jobs and ultimately, a value-added economy.

Our proven track record of successful collaboration with industry and continuing commitment to the industrial implementation of research findings has earned the Centre recognition and funding as a Centre of Excellence for Technology and Industrial Collaboration.

The Centres of Excellence for Technology and Industrial Collaboration are industrially focused research groups that have been supported to enhance their delivery of technology transfer activities in support of industry.

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One of the biggest barriers to the successful transfer of knowledge from universities to companies is a lack of university staff dedicated to commercial activities. The Centres of Excellence programme addresses this issue and each Centre has received financial support to fund the recruitment of staff dedicated to helping industry. The Centres can also purchase equipment to update their capabilities; thereby ensuring companies continue to benefit from leading edge developments.

A key objective of the Programme is to ensure greater help for small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs). Wherever possible, financial assistance will be made available to eligible smaller companies to subsidise the cost of collaboration with the Centres. See the Associated Programmes section of this site for further information.

Mission Statement - The Centres of Excellence for Technology and Industrial Collaboration will provide and continue to develop a world-class scientific, technical and research resource for the long term benefit of the Welsh economy. They will be used to transfer knowledge to Welsh companies, and for UK and international companies seeking to invest in Wales.

Selection of the Centres - From 50 applicants, 32 were shortlisted and invited to develop a robust business plan, which outlined their 3-year objectives in collaborating with industry. The sponsors along with key industrialists and specialised consultants assessed not only the viability of the business plans but also the infrastructure in place within prospective centres to enable them to work with industry. Following a final accreditation process, the 20 of the Centres of Excellence were accredited in early 2001.

The Programme reflects changing industry needs and the performance of the accredited Centres will be regularly reviewed to ensure that they are continuing to meet the requirements of industry.

The Chosen Centres - The chosen Centres represent the very latest technologies. They cover a variety of disciplines ranging from computing science and IT, advanced materials, through product design and manufacturing, to environmental and biological sciences and specialist medical technologies.