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Business & Economy

Sunderland awarded funding for University Enterprise Zone

The University of Sunderland has been awarded £600,000 in new Government funding to create a University Enterprise Zone (UEZ) that will strengthen collaborative ties between higher education and businesses in the region.

The aim of the initiative is to stimulate growth by helping small businesses and start-ups access specialist facilities and expertise.

Sunderland is one of just 20 universities across the UK receiving money for the creation of a UEZ.

Each of these enterprise zones will look to support businesses in a wide range of industries, from aerospace and smart energy to AI and agrifoods.

Sir David Bell, vice chancellor at the University of Sunderland, said: “The University Enterprise Zone will bring new jobs and help to create the hi-tech businesses of the future.

“The 12-month project builds on existing facilities and aims to create new, pioneering student, graduate, and staff businesses, as well as supporting local enterprises.

“Particular features include a new digital incubator in the University’s David Goldman Informatics Centre, exploration of new ideas in the world of sports technology and improved facilities and support for creative and media start-ups at the University and in the local area.

“This builds on a recent study which found that Sunderland is one of the top three places in the UK to start a technology business.”

Funding for the UEZs has been announced alongside an investment of £78 million in the second wave of UK Research and Innovation’s Future Leaders Fellowships.

Science Minister, Chris Skidmore, said: “Small businesses are the lifeblood of our economy, and Sunderland has a thriving ecosystem of local businesses and entrepreneurs whose creativity and determination help underpin the UK’s position as a leading innovator.

“Alongside this, many of Sunderland’s research community are right on the precipice of turning ground-breaking ideas into real products and services which could change the lives not just of people in the local community, but people around the world.”