Sara Turner :
UK ENGINEERING SECTOR BENEFITS FROM OVER £1.1m R+D FUNDING FROM SMARTCymru IN JUST 3 YEARS
Sara Turner :
In just 3 years, the UK engineering sector has received over £1.1m research and development investment from the SMARTCymru grant programme run by the Welsh Assembly Government.
The SMARTCymru programme aimed at small-to-medium-sized businesses has proved
increasingly attractive to businesses across the UK which are able to relocate operations to Wales. Of the £12.6m R+D investment made since its formation, SMARTCymru has invested significantly in businesses previously located across the UK. This trend is expected to continue as the programme – and the difference in its investment approach compared to the English SMART Grant for R&D schemes - becomes better known.
Julie Cunnington, acting head of SMARTCymru explains: “SMARTCymru has invested heavily in small and medium sized businesses seeking to innovate through new R+D projects that have real commercial potential and we remain dedicated to innovation in the engineering sector in particular. We are able to support businesses above and below the 250 employee mark and will accept applications for grants at any time of the year.
Crucially, applications are appraised against the scheme’s criteria rather than competing with each other for funding as we have found this approach to be hugely
successful. We are continuing to see a lot of interest from English companies as well
as those already resident in Wales.”
In the engineering sector, Consort Precison Diamond Co. Ltd., of Kinmel Bay, Conwy
received a grant of £49K towards developing a new technique in the manufacture of highly
accurate rotary diamond dressers used mainly in the aero engine industry.
With the help of SMARTCymru, Consort Precision Diamond has grown to become a world leader in diamond dressing technology, highly regarded for its engineering and
innovative excellence, ensuring each product it supplied is the optimum choice for each
individual customer, however demanding and complex the configuration.
David Morris Managing Director of Consort Precision Diamond comments: "Our innovation
simply would not have been possible were it not for the way in which SMARTCymru is
structured and the ability the Welsh Assembly Government has to support businesses such
as ours through the SMARTCymru scheme.
Not only have we been helped by SMARTCymru financially we have also been offered mentoring support and received invaluable advice from International Business Wales the exporting arm of the Welsh Assembly Government.
Our export level is now almost 70% of our output and we are proud to be a Welsh company having established ourselves as suppliers in the global market of prime and sub contract component manufacturers earning the respect of both our customers and our competitors.”
SMARTCymru is part of a unique innovation support package from Wales termed SMART
Futures. SMART Futures offers innovative businesses infrastructure through it’s Technium
network incubation environments, and the access to leading industry-focused research
groups within the universities in Wales through the CETIC programme.
The SMART Technology Exploitation Programme (TEP) is also available to smaller
businesses taking their first steps in innovation, through investment in new technologies or the acquisition of technology services and expertise.