News - 26 May 2016

£1.3m fund to help transport equipment manufacturing sector innovation

Companies involved in road, rail and aerospace equipment manufacture can apply for research and innovation help from a £1.3million fund, financed via the D2N2 Local Enterprise Partnership.

The ‘Catalysing Growth through Research for Transport Equipment Manufacturing’ project will be delivered by the University of Derby and Loughborough University.

It will cost £2.7m in total – £1.3m of that coming via the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) portion of D2N2’s allocation of €251m in European Structural and Investment Funds (ESIF), and the remainder from the two universities’ investment. D2N2 is the private sector-led partnership of business, local authorities, skills and training providers, and community and social enterprises which promotes economic growth and jobs creation across Derby, Derbyshire, Nottingham and Nottinghamshire.

The three year Catalysing Growth project is due to begin shortly (summer 2016).

Small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) working in the transport equipment manufacturing sector can access intensive research and innovation support from the University of Derby and Loughborough University.

Help will be given to main manufacturers and supply chain firms providing them with materials, services and technical support. This will boost their competitiveness, providing more efficient manufacturing processes and products, to strengthen companies’ turnover and create jobs.

The universities will help businesses identify areas where they could work with other SMEs or research institutes.

Loughborough University will supply grants to assist SMEs to get specialist support in the UK and in Europe. The University of Derby will provide direct research and development consultancy help; to address technical and design issues, prototyping and tooling equipment upgrades. This will develop knowledge in the Transport Equipment Manufacturing sector, by providing it with additional intensive support.

Today’s announcement follows the recent news that another three-year project – ‘Enabling Innovation’ – to be delivered by D2N2 LEP area universities Derby, Nottingham and Nottingham Trent, will also help more than 2,000 small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) with research and innovation. This project will cost £20.3m in total, £10.1m of that again coming via D2N2’s ERDF allocation and the remainder from the universities delivering the project.

The D2N2 Growth Hub will be supporting both projects, in helping those delivering them engage with SMEs. The Growth Hub supports new and established SMEs with help in business strategy and growth, marketing, networking and accessing funding for expansion; using its regional and national business networks to enable businesses to find the right help.

The Growth Hub can be contacted about the two projects on 0333 006 9178 or by email to

Peter Richardson, Chairman of the D2N2 Local Enterprise Partnership, said: “These two projects will help hundreds of SMEs gain the expert help they need, to innovate and grow their businesses. This will create jobs in our key economic sectors; including transport equipment manufacturing, food and drink, and creative and digital.

“The LEP has an over-arching target of helping create 55,000 additional private sector jobs over ten years and grow the number of businesses, and these projects are a significant boost towards that; making use of the excellent academic and industry know-how in our area.”

Professor Paul Stewart – Research Chair in Energy and Environment, and Programme Lead for both projects at the University of Derby, added:

“The ‘Enabling Innovation’ and ‘Transport Equipment Manufacturing’ projects bring together a key collaboration of East Midlands’ universities; whose over-arching objective is to deliver enhanced levels of innovation, competitiveness and profitability for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) across the entire D2N2 area.

“The D2N2 area is a key focus for road, rail and air original equipment manufacturers and SME supply chains. We are looking forward to developing this project with our delivery partner Loughborough University, and contributing to SME development and growth in this vital sector for the regional and UK economy.”

To learn more about how the D2N2 Local Enterprise Partnership is growing the economy of its area see its website at

Media wanting more information about this news release can contact D2N2 Local Enterprise Partnership Communications Manager Sean Kirby on 0115 9578749 or

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