The Sheffield Innovation Programme (SIP) is a regional initiative to stimulate business growth and promote the development of long-term relationships with SMEs. This is achieved by providing access to a broad range of academic expertise and university facilities.
The support is in the form of bespoke research and innovation-based consultancy, workshops and networking events. SERG has delivered research and innovation support to regional SMEs since 2003, and the university-wide SIP is the current delivery vehicle that enables us to fulfil a key SHU strategic theme of Leading Locally.
SIP is an initiative that forms part of a long-running role for SHU and SERG in the South Yorkshire region innovation ecosystem. The aim is to support the development and growth of SMEs, and for SERG we focus on the businesses and that form the sport and active lifestyles sector.
Expert-led small-scale projects, network events, and workshops provide the means through which we support innovation and business growth in regional SMEs. Projects are typically 5-10 days long. 2-day workshops are intended to share expert knowledge to a wider group. 2-3hr breakfast or evening network events aim to act as a conversation opener, to share ideas and knowledge that might trigger a research or innovation journey with SHU that supports a business' ambitions to grow.
From 2017 to date we have delivered 31 projects, 4 workshops, 2 webinars, and 5 networking events. Within the projects we have supported the development or improvement of 10 new products. One project with Exyo has led to a successful Innovate UK smart grant to develop a new product related to Covid recovery. A novel running analysis tool developed with Tryumph-In-Life featured on prime time national TV. SIP projects also provide opportunities for our PhD students to gain useful experience supporting staff in delivery. Relationships built with companies through SIP also enable valuable local placement opportunities for undergraduates.