28 February 2012
Leading edge research from Aston University in Birmingham is about to have an impact on companies who are detecting early stages of illness and quality of consumer products. Over the next three years 20 businesses from the West Midlands will receive support to help bring into the real world the tools and techniques to quickly and accurately detect organisms such as bacteria, viruses and small molecules. By identifying molecules (biomarkers) that are uniquely present during specific illnesses or in contaminated materials, the researchers will work to help local businesses to improve their competitiveness.
The new project entitled ’Promoting Biomarker Development in West Midlands SMEs’ is supported by just under £263,000 from the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) which is managed by the Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG), and matched by Aston University.
Norman Price, Deputy Chair of the West Midlands ERDF Local Management Committee said: “Supporting local businesses through ERDF in areas where there is huge potential to make a difference is vital. Through this project we are not only able to help businesses working in this field but also bring to life the many benefits that this work is discovering that will help local communities. For example the introduction of non-invasive tests used to indicate an illness can now be carried out much quicker allowing for earlier detection, quicker treatment and overall cost, time and resource savings."
Professor Helen Griffiths, Executive Dean, School of Life & Health Sciences at Aston University said: “The biomarker industry is a rapidly growing market and the increasing use of biomarkers in a medical scenario is a key driver to boosting the market. There are a number of barriers preventing West Midlands businesses from fully participating in and taking advantage of this market including their ability and capacity to develop new processes, improve existing ones and really encourage the adoption of this leading edge technology. This new project will really help to break down these barriers and start to make our mark within a field that could bring so many benefits to businesses and local people alike."
To find out more about the support on offer please contact Professor Helen Griffiths on 0121 204 4096.
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The Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG) is the managing authority for the managing authority for the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) Programme which runs from 2007 to 2013. This is one of the funds established by the European Commission to help local areas stimulate their economic development.
The West Midlands European Regional Development Fund Programme has been allocated 400 million euros to invest in projects which will support local businesses and create jobs.
In the West Midlands the priority areas and themes are:
Innovation and Research & Development - Increasing investment in research and development through helping businesses take forward new innovation, sharing of knowledge and developing and demonstrating new technology
Enterprise Development - Increasing business performance through supporting high growth businesses, improving resource efficiency, providing access to finance and developing a strong entrepreneurial culture
Sustainable Urban Development - Improving the performance of key urban areas through regenerating local areas, encouraging investment and new businesses, creating job opportunities and helping communities most in need
Inter-Regional Activity - Working with European partners to learn and improve, share and apply best practice and solve problems.