Aston and Warwick Universities have been chosen to host a new Enterprise Research Centre that will help develop understanding of the factors affecting business investment, performance and growth.
The new £2.9 million centre will become a national and international focal point for research, knowledge and expertise on small and medium-sized businesses.
A key objective of the Centre, which launches on 1 January 2013, will be to provide policy-makers and SME managers with the evidence they need to make good decisions for growth and development in the UK. It will exploit and develop existing knowledge base and data resources, strengthen the links between evidence and practice, and inform Government policy and business practice for small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs). It is a joint collaboration between the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS), the British Bankers Association (BBA), the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) and the Technology Strategy Board.
Mark Hart, Deputy Director of the new Centre and Professor of Small Business and Entrepreneurship at Aston Business School, said; “This is a unique opportunity to further strengthen our high-profile work on small firm growth at Aston and we look forward working with our national partners to undertake some ground-breaking research projects to establish the Centre as the leading international voice for small business research. We have an exciting research programme set out on various aspects of small business growth and we will be working with our funders to ensure it can inform the ways in which they can work together to deliver more growth in the sector”.
Business and Enterprise Minister Michael Fallon, who announced the successful Aston and Warwick Centre partnership at the start of Global Entrepreneurship Week UK (Monday, November 12) ,said; “It is essential we listen to our SMEs and understand what makes them tick and how we can help them grow. By collaborating with partners and bringing together leading academics, the new Enterprise Research Centre will be able formulate long term policy that will help to stimulate economic growth in the UK.”
Aston University Vice Chancellor, Professor Dame Julia King, believes the Centre is great news for Aston and more importantly businesses in the West Midlands.“This newly created Enterprise Centre reinforces the fact that Birmingham is a place where business can flourish. It also recognises that Aston Business School is a global leader in the understanding and nurturing of the high growth firms. Research conducted by Professor Mark Hart and his team – including partners at Warwick University – at the Enterprise Centre will be applied to help companies to grow, identify opportunities and create new jobs.”
Professor Nigel Driffield, Executive Dean at Aston Business School, said; “I am genuinely delighted that the Enterprise Research Centre will be based at Aston Business School. It highlights our contribution to the areas of enterprise, innovation and firm performance over a number of years. Further, it enhances our reputation as a leading business school for engagement and impact as well as research.”
Professor Paul Boyle, Chief Executive of the ESRC, added; "Supporting economic performance and sustainable growth, and developing collaborative partnerships with business and policy are key priorities for the ESRC. I am pleased to be working with the British Bankers Association, the Technology Strategy Board and the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills to develop this new Enterprise Research Centre. Our complementary knowledge and experience make us ideal partners in this investment and by working together we will generate research which will directly benefit business and inform policy development."
Aston and Warwick University will work alongside a consortium of other universities including Strathclyde, Birmingham, De Montfort and Imperial College London.
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