Innovation is the key to improving business productivity.

The University of Lincoln has launched a wide-ranging support programme, aimed at helping Lincolnshire’s businesses to innovate. The programme will deliver a range of research and innovation-based activities, interventions and funding opportunities designed to enable SMEs to advance and develop their innovation ambitions – driving levels of productivity and investment as well as collaborative engagement, leading to new products, processes and services and creating and exploiting new markets.

With funding from the European Regional Development Fund, the programme offers a number of activities and support strands

An innovation diagnostic, undertaken jointly by the business and one of the programme’s Innovation Advisors to help assess the readiness of the business to innovate, and identify how best the programme can help

The project will deliver an annual Innovation Conference, as well as series of sector-based and business hosted seminars and workshops. Events will encourage innovative thinking and best practice sharing, stimulating new investment into activities leading to R&D, innovation and higher level skills development – as well as enabling businesses to come forward for one-to-one support. The one-to-one support will help businesses to identify how to innovate and how to introduce change into the business; whether through new products, services, processes or systems

Subsidised access to a new graduate internship scheme whereby businesses can access graduate talent, from any university in the country, to help drive forward a new project within the business

Innovation Vouchers which can provide businesses with fully funded access to the University of Lincoln’s academic research and expertise as well as its services and facilities

A proof of concept grant fund – 50% cash matched by the business – will also be available to support areas of product development and market testing. This provision will address a lack of initial seed funding, often cited by businesses as a key barrier to innovation, as well as encourage new research and development investment

A series of peer-supported masterclasses and innovation leadership workshops focused on higher-level skills for those seeking to improve their management of innovation, at different stages of maturity, within their business. Delivered by the university’s Lincolnshire Leadership & Management Centre (LLMC) through a tailored programme, based on the experiences of firms who have already been through stages of development – supporting each business to build the right capacity for their on-going and future development

The programme, which runs for three years, has been developed to raise awareness of the value and importance of innovation, as well as delivering practical support to those wishing to implement innovation within their business. It is open to all small and medium sized businesses from across the Greater Lincolnshire area (Lincolnshire, North Lincolnshire and North East Lincolnshire).

For more information, or to register interest in the programme, please contact Michelle Davis, Income Generation Manager at the University of Lincoln, on 01522 837832 or