£6M CUC research fund announced

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An ambitious project worth more than £6 million to increase high quality research and strengthen links between businesses and the Combined Universities in Cornwall (CUC) has been approved for more than £4.6 million of ESF (European Social Fund) Convergence investment.

The CUC Research Programme will be run by the University of Exeter and is a partnership between it, the University of Plymouth, University College Falmouth, the Peninsula College of Medicine and Dentistry, Cornwall College and Truro/Penwith College.

It aims to significantly boost the amount and quality of research in Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly by developing a research programme tailor made for each institution. This will include encouraging more than 800 people to undertake post graduate research gaining PHDs, Masters Degrees or undertaking post doctoral research. The knowledge and skills gained from these will then be transferred to businesses.

Of the £6,250,000 cost, £4,685,492 has been approved from ESF Convergence with the remainder coming from the University of Exeter, University College Falmouth, the Peninsula College of Medicine and Dentistry, Cornwall College and Truro and Penwith College.

University of Exeter Deputy vice-chancellor Professor Mark Overton said: ” This investment in the CUC partnership is vital to the continued growth of the knowledge economy in Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly. It will allow the University of Exeter to build on its current portfolio of world-class research activity in Cornwall. This will include growing our provision of postgraduate research in biodiversity, energy policy, climate change, and environment and sustainability that is relevant to the needs of business and public sector organisations in Cornwall”.

CUC Director, Dr Sue Brownlow welcomed the news. “CUC Phase 3 is about creating world class centres of research and learning in growth areas of the economy like the creative industries, environment and health sectors that bring fresh opportunities for individuals and businesses to fulfil their ambitions in Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly. This investment helps us to achieve these goals and will make a big difference to the hundreds of students who will hone their research skills in the region and to the businesses which will be actively involved in identifying new areas for research.” 

Carleen Kelemen, director of the Convergence Partnership Office for Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly, said: “The Combined Universities in Cornwall is intended to strengthen our economy by marrying fresh knowledge and skills with the business community’s needs. 

“This ESF Convergence investment will not only bring about a step change in the volume of research in Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly but, more importantly, it will strengthen these vital links between academia and business – building the capabilities of these businesses and creating wealth and jobs.”

As part of the research programme new courses will be developed to provide higher level skills in economic sectors with a high growth potential. These include environmental science; environment and human health and design and media.

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