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University College Shrewsbury celebrates CREST launch

University Centre Shrewsbury is celebrating the launch of a new £1.9 million initiative at which will support Shropshire businesses.

A special event was held at the Guildhall in Shrewsbury to mark the opening of The Centre for Research into Environmental Science and Technology (CREST).

The Centre is being created at the institution, in partnership with University Centre Reaseheath, to help environmental science and technology businesses to grow and succeed, after a successful bid for European Union funding by UCS.

The event provided an opportunity to share more information about CREST and featured a presentation from Dr David Gregory-Kumar, science, environment and rural affairs correspondent for the BBC in the West Midlands, and presenter for BBC Radio 4’s Farming Today programme. Talks were also given by leading academic Professor Roy Alexander and chair of the centre’s Industry Advisory Panel, Adrian Platt.

Dr Gregory-Kumar, said: “I was delighted to speak at the launch. For me the importance of a new higher education institution in a rural location can’t be overstated. This new centre will boost that impact further and I hope so much to tackle some of the issues I have talked about at the launch.”

Prof Alexander said: “This timely initiative provides an ideal opportunity for enterprises and specialists to work together in order to help secure a more sustainable future for communities in Shropshire, particularly those in rural areas.”

Mr Platt added: “The CREST launch demonstrates the exciting possibilities for local business, with access to research support and expert business advice.CREST represents a great opportunity for local businesses both new start-ups and existing companies. It's great to be involved with such a well thought-out business support initiative.”

CREST is bringing together a range of experts to work with Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs), in the county, including the Telford and Wrekin area. Support will be provided through research and specialist advice, and helping SMEs to develop innovative ideas and products before bringing them to market. This will include workshops to learn about new technologies and opportunities, and researcher placements.

The £1.97 million project has been made possible by a European Regional Development Fund grant of almost £1.2 million awarded to UCS, via the Marches Local Enterprise Partnership, as well as a contribution of almost £800,000 from the University of Chester.

The Centre is creating jobs directly, including the appointment of business development managers and researchers, and aims to create at least another five jobs in Shropshire by December 2019 as a result of its work.


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