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Hertfordshire Science Partnership

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We invested nearly £4m Government and EU funding to support innovation by brokering a unique partnership between businesses and the University of Hertfordshire to help bring cutting edge research and development to market.

The Hertfordshire Science Partnership is an innovative collaboration between the University of Hertfordshire and Hertfordshire LEP, which leverages the university's state-of-the-art science facilities and academic expertise to boost the dynamic pharmaceutical, life sciences and agri-technology sectors in the East of England.

Launched by then Business Minister Richard Harrington on 29 March 2018, the programme strengthens links between business and academia to accelerate cutting edge scientific R&D to market, and supports the growth of SMEs by providing access to facilities and academic expertise. This project aligns with the LEP's objective to stimulate enterprise and innovation within the county through targeted investment in its key sectors.

Watch the highlights from the launch:

The Hertfordshire Science Partnership programme was formed in response to growing research and innovation within the county’s life sciences industries. It operates from within a new science building constructed to house all of the University’s life science facilities under one roof.

The Hertfordshire Science Partnership has three strands:

  • Knowledge Exchange Partnerships, which allows graduate research scientists to undertake a 4 year, PhD-level research and development alliance between the University and a commercial organisation. This gives companies access to new, talented scientists while enabling graduate researchers to gain invaluable knowledge of applying science in the commercial and entrepreneurial world.
  • Research Hotel and Science Concierge Service: a shared specialist research facility developed primarily for Hertfordshire SMEs, giving businesses access to 10,000 square metres of brand new life science laboratories on a walk-in, pay-as-you-use, self-service basis.
  • Therapy Accelerator Competition: a competition for academic research centres or new start-ups with a prize value of £700,000 (now closed). Winners receive scientific support and/or laboratory facilities from the University for up to 24 months to secure commercial viability for a new venture with support from a research collaborator from the University of Hertfordshire. The technologies identified through the Therapy Accelerator scheme will be accelerated by a team of post-doctoral scientists and academic research mentors.

The Partnership takes a pioneering approach to the transfer of knowledge from academic research to business, helping deliver new high value products and services to market and supporting the growth of the county’s SMEs. The programme also equips a new generation of business-facing researchers to deliver industry-ready solutions to address two of the nation’s strategic challenges: high-efficiency food production and new precision healthcare technologies for our ageing population.

The Partnership is expected to facilitate 28 knowledge exchange partnerships by 2021 and will result in 28 collaborative PhD projects.

Hertfordshire LEP invested £2.5m of funding from Growth Deal 2 into this project in 2016, with a further £1.45m of ERDF funding in 2017. The University of Hertfordshire has sourced additional investment from industry bringing the total partnership funding to £6m.

Case study
See how Letchworth Garden City Heritage Foundation has benefitted from a Knowledge Exchange Partnership bridging academic and industry research, in a project focused on the local food economy: