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23.09.05
New Fund Promotes R&D In Cornwall

Businesses seeking to undertake research and development projects in Cornwall could be eligible for up to £10,000 of investment funding, thanks to a fund launched by the Combined Universities in Cornwall (CUC).

The Cornwall Research Fund, which receives financial support from Objective One, has been created to stimulate the creation of intellectual capital in the region, as CUC Business Support Manager, Peter Castell explains: "We know that there are small and medium sized businesses in Cornwall with tremendous potential for innovation, but some are held back by an inability to devote sufficient resources to research and development. This fund aims to help businesses realise their potential, which in turn will increase their contribution to Cornwall's economic prosperity."

One of the first businesses to benefit from the fund is altcom, a Penzance-based software developer. altcom's Operations Director, Dr Andrew Jupe feels that the extra investment in research and development is helping the company to open up new business opportunities: "altcom has been a leading provider of news processing software to companies such as Reuters and Dow Jones since 1995. For some time we've wanted to make the step from software provider to information provider - by setting up our own web based news and information service covering microseismic monitoring technology, R&D, news and events. The Research Fund has enabled us to focus resources onto the underlying R&D needed to form the basis of our first web service. Microseis.net will be launched later this year. From the market research we've completed so far we're convinced it will prove a valuable online information and training resource to oil and gas companies worldwide."

Carleen Kelemen, Director of the Objective One Partnership for Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly expressed her support for the fund: "This fund, alongside other successful business projects such as actnow and Unlocking Cornish Potential, will help build intellectual capital in this region. By investing in research we are taking another step towards the kind of knowledge-based economy that is key to Cornwall's future prosperity."

The Cornwall Research Fund complements the existing range of research and development funding opportunities available in the region. The level of support provided by the Fund makes it well suited to smaller projects or to the early stage development of ideas that could then be eligible for other sources of funding, such as the Department of Trade and Industry's Grants for Research and Development (administered by the South West Regional Development Agency).

Small and medium-sized enterprises or small clusters of businesses are eligible to apply and can seek up to 39% of the cost of a research and development project. The fund will operate until October 2007 and can pay for areas such as staff costs in the development of prototypes or the feasibility of a new product or process. Market research and design projects are not eligible. Interested businesses should contact the CUC Business Development Team on 0800 7313870 for an application form and guidance notes. All applications will be evaluated by Business Link.

For further information please contact David Kirk at the CUC on 01326 371471 or email: david.kirk@cuc.ac.uk.

The Objective One Programme for Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly has invested in the CUC Research and Development fund through the European Social Fund (ESF).

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Editor's notes:

The Combined Universities in Cornwall is a dynamic and visionary partnership that is one of the driving forces behind Cornwall's renaissance. This partnership combines the Universities of Exeter and Plymouth, University College Falmouth, The Open University, The College of St Mark & St John, and the Peninsula Medical School, with Cornwall's Further Education colleges - Cornwall College, Truro College and Penwith College. It aims not only to provide the students of the future with more choice and greater opportunities, but also to boost the economic fortunes of the region for the benefit of one and all.

The CUC initiative has been invested in by the Objective One Partnership for Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly, the South West Regional Development Agency, Cornwall County Council and the Higher Education Funding Council for England.

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Clare Morgan
Media Relations Manager
Objective One Partnership Office
Castle House
Pydar Street
Truro TR1 2UD
Mobile: 07973 813647
Telephone: 01872 223439

cmorgan@cornwall.gov.uk