Sheffield Universities launch Innovation Network to boost South Yorkshire’s growth

22nd March 2023

A network that is set to boost growth and innovation throughout South Yorkshire has been launched by the University of Sheffield and Sheffield Hallam University.

  • The University of Sheffield and Sheffield Hallam University have launched the Innovation Network South Yorkshire, welcoming academics, thought leaders, organisations and businesses from across the region to meet and discuss ideas for economic growth and productivity
  • Formerly the Managing Directors’ Club, the newly launched Innovation Network will bring together academia and industry from across South Yorkshire for free peer-to-peer networking events
  • The launch event showcased examples of collaboration between businesses and the universities to address challenges and generate opportunities in the region

The Innovation Network South Yorkshire was launched at an event last night (Wednesday 15 March 2023). Over 150 delegates from a range of industries and sectors at Sheffield's Millennium Galleries explored how the universities and industry can collaborate to support regional needs, find effective solutions to challenges and support economic, environmental, cultural, and skills growth.

Exhibitors from the engineering, creative, and digital industries and more showcased how programmes such as RISE and the Sheffield Innovation Programme can address research and business needs. White's Bakery, Imagining Technologies for Disability Futures and Guildhawk also attended to share how their work with the universities helped their businesses grow, whilst the University of Sheffield’s Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre and iForge and Sheffield Hallam University’s Advanced Wellbeing Research Centre, Design Futures and National Centre of Excellence for Food Engineering highlighted the facilities available to support businesses and organisations.

The event also welcomed academics to share how their collaborations with industry can provide expertise and product, process, or technological support. Through industry partnerships, academics are able to develop their learning and expertise in their field by translating their research to real-world industry applications, such as the development of a new product or prototype, resulting in better innovation and skill development in the region.

Alex Prince, Head of Innovation Services at Sheffield Hallam University said:

"Sheffield and South Yorkshire have always had a strong history of collaboration, and we wanted to mirror this when we developed the Innovation Network. As two civic organisations, we can make more of an impact together.

“We consulted local businesses and academics to find out how we can support them, from collaborative research, mentoring, student support, work placements, access to funding, or facilities. Innovation is happening across multiple sectors and agencies, and it's great to see that the two Universities can work together to provide a space for everybody to learn from each other and support our region to flourish and thrive.”

Yasmin Knight, Assistant Director, Partnerships and Regional Engagement & Head of Regional Engagement at the University of Sheffield, said

"It's so fantastic to see academics from diverse fields and businesses of all sectors and sizes join us for the launch of the Innovation Network. The presence of such diversity of skills and knowledge in the room is great because it broadens the scope of opportunities for partnership working and collaborations that contribute to the growth of our region's economy.”

As part of the partnership between the two institutions, the Innovation Network team sits across both Universities and is embedded in networks across the region to be well placed to facilitate introductions and partnerships. The Network welcomes academics, organisations and businesses to its free events and activities to network and build links with both Sheffield Universities. The next event will take place in July 2023 in Doncaster.

More information can be found on the Innovation Network website: innovationnetwork.org.uk.

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