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New voucher scheme to stimulate SME innovation

Small UK businesses will be able to obtain Government funding to help them develop and grow with the launch this month of a new and easily accessible Innovation Voucher scheme.

Opening on 24 September 2012 the scheme – to be managed by the UK’s innovation agency, the Technology Strategy Board ( – will enable start-up, micro, small and medium-sized businesses to access up to £5,000 worth of advice and expertise from universities, research organisations or other private sector knowledge suppliers.

Initially, Innovation Vouchers will be available to businesses that are working on ideas relevant to the agrifood and built environment sectors. The vouchers, available from 24 September, will have a value up to £5,000 and will enable businesses to work with an external expert for the first time by paying towards the cost of their services.
In addition to these sectors, a number of vouchers valued at up to £8,000 will be available to businesses working on ideas in the space sector, in association with the International Space Innovation Centre.

The Technology Strategy Board will monitor the scheme’s progress and consider extending it to other sectors in future.

Innovation Vouchers will enable businesses to access knowledge for all types of innovation, such as:
– Ideas for new or improved products, processes and services;
– Using design to improve ideas;
– Managing intellectual property.

Business can use their Innovation Vouchers to work with knowledge suppliers such as:
– Universities and further education colleges;
– Research and technology organisations;
– Technical consultancies;
– Catapult centres;
– Design advisers;
– Intellectual property advisers.

Applications should be made via the Technology Strategy Board’s website at


Knowledge Exchange Opportunities scheme

NEW: This ESRC scheme provides the opportunity to apply for funding for knowledge exchange activities at any stage of the research lifecycle, and is aimed at maximising the impact of social science research outside academia.

NERC Internships for Researchers

The Natural Environment Research Council has launched a call for internships,  inviting existing researchers to apply for projects of up to four months, based  in businesses, policy or third sector organisations to explore and  demonstrate how business, policy or third sector partners in the area of Marine Renewable Energy can make use of scientific knowledge, data, models or other  tools to understand and manage their impacts and/or dependencies on the  environment.

The internships offer appointees an excellent opportunity for extending their research experience into business, policy or other settings.

There is potential for successful business internships to progress into Knowledge Transfer Partnerships in 2013/14, through the forthcoming TSB call in Marine Renewable Energy.

Applications to the NERC internships will be accepted on a rolling basis, until the funding has been allocated or by 5pm on
26 October 2012. More information:

Is the future Knowledge Mobility?

Knowledge Mobility is now being presented as the new term to replace Knowledge Exchange as it is thought to better describe the underlying desire of those concerned to position knowledge where it will prove to be most effective.

Business – Academic Partnerships

When working in partnership together, the transfer of knowledge between business and academic representatives is often achieved in a ‘peer to peer’ manner and as such is best delivered within a Community of Practice as defined by Wenger (2003).

Wenger, E. (2003) ‘Communities of practice and social learning systems’ in Nicolini, D, Gherardi, S. and Yanow, D. (eds.) Knowing in Organisations: a Practical-Based Approach,New York, M.E.Sharpe.

Leicester design company benefit from University knowledge

Leicester-based design agency Bulb Studios has nearly doubled turnover and created new jobs as a result of support from the University of Leicester School of Management.

How big will arts, humanities and social sciences be in the future of KE?

Andrew Corcoran from Blueberry Training asks “with science and technology having dominated Knowledge Exchange (KE) so far, how big will arts, humanities and social sciences be in the future of KE?”

Find Andrew on Linkedin and join the debate to have your say…