UWE Bristol has launched a £1m initiative to help local SMEs identify and develop robotic equipment suited to their organisation.
The programme, named SABRE, is based in the Bristol Robotics Laboratory (BRL), and is open to all kinds of SME, from start-ups and sole traders to more established companies.
Participation in the programme will allow businesses to access SABRE’s assistance, either through attending free workshops, or by applying for free or subsidised technical support.
For SMEs researching new products or services, the programme’s Technical Development Projects (TDPs) offer more in-depth support, facilitating collaborations with engineers which will help the SME to develop, prototype, test, and validate concepts.
Farid Dailami, associate professor for knowledge exchange in manufacturing and director of RIFBristol at the Bristol Robotics Lab, said: “Our TDPs are awarded on a competitive basis, following the submission of applications that are reviewed by an assessment panel. They can have durations ranging from five days to 12 weeks, and are tailored to the particular needs of individual businesses.”
The adoption of these technologies is key for future economic growth. They feature prominently in the UK’s Industrial Strategy, and are championed by important local bodies such as WECA and the West of England Local Enterprise Partnership.
–Steve West, UWE Bristol
Successful applicants to the TDPs can undertake the programme at UWE’s Enterprise Zone, where professionals in areas such as robotics, mechanics, electronics, mechatronics, and control systems will be available for support.
Professor Steve West, vice-chancellor of UWE Bristol, said: “The adoption of these technologies is key for future economic growth. They feature prominently in the UK’s Industrial Strategy, and are championed by important local bodies such as WECA and the West of England Local Enterprise Partnership.”
Dailami added: “SABRE will work with SMEs from across Bristol, Bath & North East Somerset, North Somerset and South Gloucestershire, providing them with hands-on assistance, tailored to their individual research and development challenges.”
The SABRE Programme is part-financed through the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF). It forms part of UWE Bristol’s portfolio of ERDF-funded initiatives, which incorporates the Launch Space graduate start-up incubator, the Health Tech Hub innovation facility, the Scale Up 4 Growth project and the Network for Creative Enterprise.