Applications open for Partnership PhD scheme

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UWE Bristol has recently announced another application round of its successful Partnership PhD programme.

A Partnership PhD bridges the gap between external organisations and university. It enables an organisation to gain access to cutting-edge real-world research that can help transform it.

The Partnership establishes a relationship between an organisation and UWE Bristol, based on a specific project that is mutually beneficial.

Organisations have the opportunity to choose a relevant research area and gain access to cutting-edge research. The researcher will work extensively with the organisation to provide a tailored piece of research.

In turn, the researcher will gain an opportunity to pursue their research in a real-world setting, developing transferable and interdisciplinary skills whilst gaining cross-sector experience.

Over the past two years, the Graduate School, part of the Research, Business and Innovation team at UWE Bristol, has been developing the Partnership PhD scheme. Through it, UWE’s investment in Post Graduate Research has been matched by over £1.5m from 40+ partner organisations.

Application deadline 1 July 2022 for Partnership PhD’s starting in 1 January 2023.

Email uwebusiness@uwe.ac.uk to find out more.

Please find below full Partnership PhD guidance, costings, useful information and the flyer for businesses:

See below for our slides for businesses:

Email uwebusiness@uwe.ac.uk to find out more.

Time for SMEs in the West of England to seize the opportunities from the transition to net zero

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Calling SMEs across the West of England region – now is the time to plan for net zero with fully funded support from the Skills for Clean Growth programme.
 
The pace of change in the economy and legislative environment is accelerating as business leaders and politicians look to reach ambitious targets to reduce carbon intensity at a regional, national and international level. The West of England has gone beyond the commitments of central government with the ambition to reach net zero across the region by 2030.

At the same time, consumers, businesses and investors are growing in appetite for products and services that have a positive environmental impact and are driving decarbonisation.

By embracing low carbon practices, you will help position your business to prosper in this rapidly changing world.

Skills for Clean Growth will support you to grow your business in a sustainable way by upskilling your management team and employees to drive change and the adoption of low carbon practices.

Free expert support from the Skills for Clean Growth programme

The Skills for Clean Growth programme (part of the West of England’s Workforce for the Future Programme and being delivered by UWE Bristol and NatWest) is supporting SMEs to manage the risks and embrace the opportunities from the transition to net zero. Driven by the needs of businesses on the programme, training is focused on support that is immediately actionable.
 
SMEs are supported with analysing their skills needs & action planning before being given access to bespoke training, resources, and peer networks to help reach their targets.

Current workshops topics include Green Energy Procurement and Management, Measuring Carbon Emissions, and Behavioural Change, with new training and resources continually developed in response to the needs of businesses engaging with the programme.

Register now to start your clean growth journey .

“There is a climate emergency and everyone is going to have to do their bit to help build a greener future. As we change the way we make goods and retrofit our homes we will need a newly skilled workforce. That is of course also a significant opportunity to create high skilled, well paid, green jobs. I’m pleased to be able to offer this support so workers will get the skills they need to meet the demands of a greener economy.”
Dan Norris, Mayor, West of England Combined Authority

Launch event

Join us on Wednesday 25 May to find out about the programme and the opportunities available to businesses.

This event will bring together key stakeholders and SMEs on the programme, whilst providing an overview of the overall Workforce for the Future programme and the support available through Skills for Clean Growth. There will be several speaker slots from key partners, UWE Bristol academics and industry leaders with a green skills and low carbon focus.

This launch event is open to eligible SMEs on the Workforce for the Future programme. To be eligible for support, you must have a business presence in the West of England (Bath & North East Somerset, Bristol, South Gloucestershire and North Somerset) and be a small or medium sized enterprise (SME). If you are eligible and new to the Workforce for the Future programme, please register your details here.

Develop your workforce in other areas through Workforce for the Future

Skills for Clean Growth is being delivered by UWE Bristol and NatWest as part of the West of England Combined Authorities Workforce for the Future programme, supporting SMEs with skills development across a range of future focused areas. Support is funded through the European Social Fund and is being delivered across a number of partners.

Find out about support available through Workforce for the Future.

Contact the team to find out more – cleangrowth@uwe.ac.uk or visit our website.

Lifelong Loan Entitlement scheme: SME Workshop

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  • Friday 25 March 2022
  • 10:00 – 12:00 GMT
  • Watershed, BS1

You are invited to a consultation workshop to explore future plans for the government to fund training and up-skilling of potential staff, as part of the levelling-up agenda.

The outcome of the workshop will be to inform a pilot run by UWE Bristol on the Lifelong Loan Entitlement scheme, influencing the terms and conditions which the government will put on the scheme in time for the nation-wide launch in 2025.

Topics for exploration:

  • Lifelong Loan entitlement – a government scheme that enables individuals to access University short courses, funded through the Student Loan Company.
  • Higher/Degree Apprenticeships – a mentoring system and funding mechanism for employees on certain professions, where they complete a degree part-time and obtain a separate professional qualification such as chartership.
  • Skills Bootcamps – short intense training courses aimed at giving potential employees the basic skills they need to join the labour market.
  • Education delivery methods – exploring the different types of education delivery and the opportunities and barriers that they may pose to employers. This includes day-release, block-release, evening classes, blended, hybrid and on-line.
  • Recruitment of people from low participation neighbourhoods and low participation demographics.
  • Green & Zero Carbon skills – the pilot for the Lifelong Loan Entitlement short courses will be on the subject of Zero Carbon buildings and sustainable development. So there will also be an opportunity to discuss the content of these, although this is not the main focus of the workshop.

Catering is provided and each participant will receive a sustainable gift for their time.

SMEs in the West of England start their net zero journey through the Skills for Clean Growth programme

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Skills for Clean Growth (SCG) is a free business support programme co-delivered by UWE Bristol and NatWest, as part of the Workforce for the Future (WftF) programme, helping to drive the West of England Combined Authority region’s ambitions for clean and inclusive growth.

The programme is supporting SMEs to manage the risks and embrace the opportunities from the transition to net zero, drawing on the expertise of UWE Bristol academics and professional services staff, industry leaders and subject matter experts.

SMEs are supported across three areas:

  1. Green Skills Needs Analysis & Action Plan – An initial diagnostic to analyse skills needed and development of an action plan to drive clean growth
  2. Training and Workshops – developing practical skills & knowledge across businesses that is directly actionable
  3. Skills Ecosystem and Network – Practical, industry targeted case studies and resources, peer learning and connections to likeminded businesses (in person and online).

Matt Hatcher, Director of Commercial Banking, West of England at NatWest, said:

“Our ambition is to play a leading role in the UK’s transition to a net zero economy. We know from our Springboard to Sustainable Recovery report that SMEs could create up to 130,000 new jobs, produce around 30,000 new businesses and result in an estimated £160 billion opportunity for the UK economy.

We want to support them on every step of the journey that takes them from awareness and understanding, to ability to act, and finally to achieving positive climate and financial impact.

This is why we are delighted to partner with UWE Bristol on their Skills for Clean Growth programmes, helping SMEs and their workforce develop the skills required to transition to net zero and embrace the opportunities arising from a greener economy.”

West of England’s Metro Mayor, Dan Norris, who is also supporting the programme, said: 

“There is a climate emergency and everyone is going to have to do their bit to help build a greener future. As we change the way we make goods and retrofit our homes we will need a newly skilled workforce. That is of course also a significant opportunity to create high skilled, well paid, green jobs. I’m pleased to be able to offer this support so workers will get the skills they need to meet the demands of a greener economy.”

Eligibility Criteria

To be eligible for support, applicants must have a business presence in the West of England (Bath & North East Somerset, Bristol, South Gloucestershire and North Somerset) and be a small or medium sized enterprise (SME) with less than 250 employees.

Registrations

The SCG programme is accepting registrations from SMEs. Register today to start your clean growth journey!

Please apply via the SCG website or select Apply now where you will be asked to fill out some details about your company and the support you are looking for on a registration form.

A member of the UWE Bristol team will then be in touch with you to arrange an initial discussion around the programme and any of your needs. If you have any further queries in the meantime, please contact us via cleangrowth@uwe.ac.uk  and one of the team will get back to you.

Workforce for the Future

Funded by the European Social Fund (ESF), UWE Bristol is delivering Workforce for the Future on behalf of the West of England Combined Authority (WECA) in collaboration with other partners.

Alongside the SCG programme, SMEs can access other support from expert partners. Please visit the West of England Combined Authority Growth Hub to find out more.

Applications now open for UWE Bristol’s Green Skills programme

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Delivering opportunities for young people and increasing ethnic diversity in the flourishing green economy

Green Skills for Jobs and Entrepreneurship, a transformational ‘first of its kind’ skills programme has opened for applications.  It is offering young people aged 18 – 28 living in Bristol, South Gloucestershire, North Somerset, Bath and North East Somerset access to green jobs, training and business opportunities. The programme particularly encourages applications from Black, Asian and ethnically diverse young people.

The programme, led by UWE Bristol, in collaboration with NatWest and the Black South West Network will help the West of England region transition to a green economy, while seeking to address the underrepresentation of people from Black, Asian and ethnically diverse backgrounds in environmental careers, through an inclusive and equitable programme of training and employment opportunities. 

Launched against a backdrop of economic recovery, following the Covid pandemic, and the demand for 50,000 new jobs to be created in the region by 2030 to meet the zero carbon target, it will provide participants with fully paid training in newly emerging green skills, facilitate access to internships and support start-ups in a fast growing sector.  

Learners will receive 8 days of paid in-person training in small groups focusing on developing leadership and networking skills, whilst covering topics including the future of energy, a zero waste approach to food and carbon neutral building and retrofitting. They will then move on to either a paid local internship, or fully funded further training, or support for starting their own business.

Learners will receive tailored coaching, mentoring and careers advice throughout the programme and benefit from site visits to experience green skills in action.

Businesses in the region looking to include diverse talent and introduce key green skills into their business will be able to benefit from fully funded internship opportunities.

As a legacy, the project will launch a Green Skills and Entrepreneurship HUB providing a toolkit of skills and business support for learners, entrepreneurs, businesses and social enterprises and will including training modules and talent and employment opportunities.

Sado Jirde, Director, Black South West Network said “BSWN is delighted to be a partner in this pilot programme. The opportunities to provide targeted, sector specific skills and enterprise opportunities to Black and Minoritized communities are few and far between and this programme is an innovative and unique step forward. We are looking forward to welcoming a cohort of Black and Minoritized environmental entrepreneurs to our new Enterprise and Culture Centre at the Coach House in St Paul’s. We hope that this pilot will evolve into an ongoing, longer-term programme that will address two-fold, intersecting issues of the environmental crisis and racial injustice.”

Director of Business, Research and Innovation, Tracey John said: “Green Skills for Jobs and Entrepreneurship will provide the skills and support needed by young people who’ve missed out on so many opportunities as a result of the Covid pandemic, while opening up opportunities to communities that have previously experienced difficulty in receiving mainstream support. We’re delighted to be working with our partners at Black South West Network and NatWest to deliver such an exciting new programme helping to create inclusive regional economic growth whilst supporting the West of England’s transition to a green economy.

Matt Hatcher, Director, Commercial Banking said: “As a principal partner at COP26 and as the leading bank in the UK for business customers and one of the largest for retail customers, we understand the role the finance sector needs to play in helping companies, customers and communities achieve their net zero ambitions. Our recent Springboard to Sustainability Report has also shown the opportunities the green economy can create. SMEs could create up to 130,000 new jobs, produce around 30,000 new businesses and result in an estimated £160 billion opportunity for the UK economy. This partnership offers the chance to put our young people and communities at its heart. By working together with UWE Bristol and the Black South West Network, we can provide the skills and resources to help nurture their potential and make progress towards a more inclusive economy in the West of England.”

Young people interested in applying to the scheme should see below:

Businesses in the region can find out more at www.skillsforfutures.co.uk


About

It is managed, in the West of England, by the West of England Combined Authority (WECA) on behalf of the Department of Levelling Up, Housing and Communities (DLUHC).

The UK Community Renewal Fund aims to support people and communities most in need across the UK, creating opportunities to trial new approaches and innovative ideas at the local level.

WECA covers the three geographical areas of Bath & North East Somerset, Bristol, and South Gloucestershire.

UWE Bristol Academic Spotlight: Mehmet Aydin, Senior Lecturer, Computer Science

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Knowledge Transfer Partnership

Working with Flexys to integrate Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning technology within debt resolution software, to enable more effective management of debt resolution and improvement of customer relationships and retention.

Research Interests

Dr Mehmet Aydin is Senior Lecturer in Computer Science with long-standing experience in solving real-world problems using AI, machine learning and soft computing methods. He has led and taken part in numerous research and industrial projects involving data analysis and modelling and problem-solving aspects in supervisory, consultant and researcher capacities. His research resulted in a long-list of publications in internationally peer-reviewed and well-recognised journals and conferences, and the impact of his research can be evidenced with citation metrics.

He has conducted guest editorial of a number of special issues for internationally peer-reviewed journals including International Journal of Production Research, European Journal of Industrial Engineering and International Journal of Fuzzy Systems. In addition to the membership of the advisory committee of many international conferences, he is associate editor and member of the editorial board of peer-reviewed international journals. He is currently a fellow of the Higher Education Academy, member of EPSRC Review College, member of The OR Society UK, ACM and IEEE.

Business/Sector Interests and a brief description of how your academic expertise could be practically applied for a business partner

Mehmet has experience of being the academic supervisor on two KTP projects.

One, still in progress, concerns data analysis and machine learning to understand customer behaviours in the area of debt management. The other, recently successfully completed, was with Lyons Davidson. This concerned the use of artificial intelligence for natural language processing and task-oriented dialogue management, creating automated systems for answering customer queries.

These, combined with his extensive experience of modern software development practices (for example, he is module leader for UWE’s final year module ‘Enterprise Systems Development’) provide him invaluable experience with project management and tools throughout the workplan. In particular his research experience and wide experience of formulating problems as learning tasks, then designing, implementing and evaluating machine learning-based solutions, give him the expertise needed to support collaborations.

For more information about Mehmet’s work please click here

For more information about Knowledge Transfer Partnerships click here

UWE Bristol Academic Spotlight: Jim Smith, Professor in Interactive Artificial Intelligence

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Knowledge Transfer Partnership

Working with Lyons Davidson to establish an automated legal advice helpline utilising complex Artificial Intelligence that can deliver suitable solutions to a wide-range of possible enquiries.

Research Interests

Jim Smith is Professor of Interactive Artificial Intelligence and Deputy Director of the Computer Science Research Centre at UWE Bristol.

His interests include computational intelligence, machine learning, and interactions between humans and intelligent systems. The quality and impact of his research on interactive and adaptive AI is evidenced by citation metrics, (over 13000 citations to his work as at 16/8/21) through awards like 2001 ACM-SIGEVO prize for papers ‘deemed to be seminal’, membership of various IEEE Technical Committees and Task Forces, membership of the EPSRC peer review college, and editorial boards of leading academic journals in relevant fields.

In 2018 he contributed an invited chapter on the role of AI within Confidentiality and Linked Data to the National Statistician’s Quality Review. More details can be found on his website.

Business/Sector Interests and a brief description of how your academic expertise could be practically applied for a business partner

Professor Smith has led numerous successful projects concerning the hybridisation of metaheuristic approaches with machine learning, and mathematical approaches funded by the EU, EPSRC, DSTL, other governmental agencies from the UK, US and Brazil, and commercial partners.

His experience in delivering successful projects in commercial environments, includes applying AI to areas such as adaptive vision-based production quality control, interactive design optimisation, characterising Video Conference Meetings, privacy preservation in published official statistics, modelling customer behaviours, and speech recognition.

Jim has led three KTPs to successful completion (one ‘good’, one ‘outstanding’ and one under review) and a fourth is already delivering value to company, associate and UWE’s research agenda.

For more information about Professor Smith’s work please click here

For further information about Knowledge Transfer Partnerships please click here

UWE Bristol announces final funding round of the Digital Innovation Fund

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The University of the West of England (UWE Bristol) has opened its final round of the Digital Innovation Fund (DIF).  The scheme offers eligible businesses grants of £10,000 to £40,000 to undertake digital innovation.

The scheme has already supported 34 companies across the West of England and is offering businesses a final chance to apply for funding before the programme closes. Eligible businesses will be offered one to one support to develop their projects and application forms.

The scheme, funded by the European Regional Development Fund, offers small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs) in, Bath & North East Somerset, Bristol, North Somerset or South Gloucestershire grants from £10,000 to £40,000 to fund up to 35% of project costs. Projects must be completed by December 2022.

The deadline for applications is 12.00 (midday) on 16 November 2021

Apply now

Director of Research, Business and Innovation at UWE Bristol, Tracey John commented: “We want to fund strong innovation projects from dynamic businesses that are creating jobs in the region. This is a great time to support R&D activities that boost growth and competitiveness.  We actively support SMEs that are delivering digital innovation or research and development projects.  We provide one to one support for eligible businesses to help them through the application process. We are proud to support businesses in the West of England.


Notes to editors

European Regional Development Fund:

The project will receive up to £1,900,000 of funding from the England European Regional Development Fund as part of the European Structural and Investment Funds Growth Programme 2014-2020.  The Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government is the Managing Authority for European Regional Development Fund.

Established by the European Union, the European Regional Development Fund helps local areas stimulate their economic development by investing in projects which will support innovation, businesses, create jobs and local community regenerations.  For more information visit here.

West of England region: All organisations with a presence in Bristol, Bath and North East Somerset, North Somerset and South Gloucestershire.

UWE Bristol to deliver Help to Grow: Management courses for SMEs

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UWE Bristol has announced the expansion of their delivery of the Small Business Charter accredited government-backed Help to Grow: Management programme, which includes 50 hours of in-depth training, 1:1 business mentoring, and the opportunity to grow your business, fast.

Aimed at senior leaders in small and medium businesses, the course covers strategies for growth and innovation, leading high-performance teams and digital adoption, as well as financial management and responsible business practices. You will hear from inspirational business leaders and learn alongside local peers, with access to a national alumni network.

By the end of the programme, you will develop a tailored business growth plan to increase productivity and grow your revenue and help take your business to the next level. 

The 12-week programme costs just £750 and is 90% subsidised by the government. You can take part around your existing work commitments and access learning through a blend of online and face-to-face sessions.   

Small Business Minister Paul Scully said:

“Seizing opportunity is what being a business leader is all about, and our Help to Grow Management Scheme gives entrepreneurs the chance to access the very best advice on how to innovate, reach new customers and boost profits.

“The practical training scheme is 90% funded by the government and designed around busy business owners’ schedules, so I would encourage entrepreneurs across the UK to get involved and maximise the potential of their business.”

UWE Bristol Programme Director Dan Knox commented:

“The Help to Grow Management Programme represents an excellent opportunity for SMEs to obtain support to grow, to identify new opportunities and to overcome business challenges.  We at UWE Bristol are delighted to be able to offer the programme across the south-west of England and to reach into the communities in which our regional SMEs operate. We are committed to working with businesses and communities to drive innovation, contribute to sustainable economic growth and to maximise the positive impacts of businesses in our region”.

UWE Bristol is running courses across the South West until March 2022 with more dates to follow. Find out more about the courses available and book your place.

Future Space Business produces technology to help tackle sustainability and climate change issues

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Future Space is part of UWE Bristol’s University Enterprise Zone. They aim to drive the University’s ambitions to prepare students with entrepreneurial skills, spark collaboration between UWE researchers, innovators and entrepreneurs and commercialise the latest research.

Professor Steve West, UWE Bristol Vice-Chancellor and President, said:

“This is the latest venture that sets us apart as a technology-based university focused on generating opportunities for business growth and collaboration.

There is no doubt in my mind that fostering an entrepreneurial atmosphere on our campus is a win for our students and our research community, as we know that by collaborating and nurturing business we create a climate of innovation that has a ripple effect.”

Future Space is part of one of four University Enterprise Zones in the UK. The West of England University Enterprise Zone provides facilities and services to companies specialising in robotics, biosciences, medical technologies and other high tech sectors. 

Albotherm is a member of Future Space and they are focusing on developing technology that provides a solution to address climate change.

Here’s their story:

Albotherm was founded by a team of scientists turned entrepreneurs in 2020 with a vision to bring our planet one step closer to carbon neutral and ensure future food security with their passive cooling technology.

Air conditioning alone currently accounts for 20% of electricity usage from buildings and this is expected to triple by 2050 due to rising global temperatures. Using fossil fuel derived energy for air conditioning traps us in a ‘Catch 22’ as we are further warming our planet, creating even more demand for cooling.

At Albotherm we are developing coatings based on novel polymer chemistry that reversibly transition from transparent to white, passively cooling the structure they coat by reflecting solar radiation in hot weather. We can control the trigger temperature this transition occurs at, between 18 ℃ and 45 ℃ to create optimal conditions in a range of climates. Our technology works without electrical input, cutting down carbon emissions associated with air conditioning and removing our reliance on fossil fuels.

Our first product is a glass coating aimed at the Greenhouse Horticulture market. Greenhouses are designed to extend our growing seasons by increasing growing temperatures during colder months, hence the term “The Greenhouse effect”, however they are consequently prone to overheating in the Summer months.

Currently, greenhouses are painted with chalk based white paints each summer. This is a labour intensive process and also means light levels are reduced even on cooler summer days. Unlike these solutions, our coatings only turn white to shade crops when they risk being damaged by heat. This protects crops while maximising light levels in cooler days, boosting yields in an industry that has historically struggled with razor thin margins.

In the future, we plan to develop products for commercial buildings to reduce carbon emissions associated with air conditioning. At the moment air conditioning accounts for 20% of electricity usage from buildings and 10% of total global electricity usage. By applying our technology to windows and roofs, we can significantly reduce energy usage from these buildings to protect against the impacts of climate change.

Furthermore, another key benefit of our technology is the ease with which it can be retro-fitted. More than half of current global building stock will remain standing in 2050. On top of that, two thirds of UK homes do not meet energy efficiency standards. Is it essential that we improve the sustainability of the buildings we currently have and retrofitting is the only way to do that. As our technology is applied as a coating, it can be easily sprayed onto existing and new buildings.

To get in touch with Albotherm please click here

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