Research Activities for SMEs

SME-related research projects by CIMR members:

Knowledge Transfer Partnerships

  • Work by Muthu De Silva, Federica Rossi includes outlining how SMEs could generate most value from their interactions with universities. There work has influenced the government investment of £15m in piloting University Enterprise Zones, which amongst their other purposes provided office and laboratory space to small businesses, which was a recommendation from the project. 
  • Research report and associated papers discussed how to generate long-term value from university-SEM co-creation (e.g. the use of boundary spanning practices to enable SMEs to generate long-term exploratory and exploitative innovation and the effect of SME commitment and leadership towards SMES exploring new opportunities as the result of their interaction with universities). The findings influenced the introduction of University Alliance’s, ‘the voice of professional and technical universities’ which involved in establishing new Knowledge and Enterprise Network involving its 12 member institutions across the country (including Coventry, which was involved in the West Midlands KEEN).

University-industry knowledge co-creation

  • World leading research that focuses on the practices and institutions that support impactful engagement between universities and business
  • Publications in leading academic journals by CIMR members
  • Engagement with policymakers through ongoing consulting activities
    • Impact case study submitted to REF focused on Andersen, De Silva and Rossi’s research (2012-2018) which had impact on the EU’s Horizon 2020 programme (how funding was assigned), IPO (revision of Lambert toolkit) and InnovateUK (performance evaluation of Catapult Centres)
  • Targeted events: executive training with Chinese municipal delegations, meeting of the HEBCI user group organized by CIMR and NCUB (2016)
  • CIMR workshops engaging wider audience, e.g. mini series with Essex Business School on science-university engagement in Covid-19, workshops on science business co-creation and innovation intermediaries

Shaping institutions supporting entrepreneurship and innovation

  • World-leading research analysing institutions that best support entrepreneurship and innovation (e.g. intellectual property rights, standards and accreditation, skills and training), with significant policy implications
  • Published in leading academic journals
  • Engagement with policymakers through consulting activities
    • Helen Lawton Smith’s work with the OECD on upgrading the innovation infrastructure in numerous advanced and emerging economies has influenced, among others, SME policy in Canada and Poland
    • Frenz and Lambert’s work has impacted UK policy on standards and measurement, and national and international accreditation bodies
    • De Silva’s ongoing relationship with IPO has included a trade delegation visit to India in late 2019
    • DeSilva’s ongoing work with the OECD on co-creation during Covid-19 included 29 case studies from over 17 OECD countries and a partner of such co-creation projects was SMEs. The recommendations of this project outline how SMEs could interact with other players of an ecosystem to generate social and business value.
    • Targeted events: session organized by CIMR and BEIS on developing policies for leadership in SMEs (2020)
    • CIMR workshops engaging wider audiences e.g. workshop on public investment for reconstructing Europe, green finance and innovation, Entrepreneurship in developing regions: context and implications for policy, rising to the UK’s skills challenge
  • Strong legacy of EU Trigger project aimed at increasing the number of women in those university sectors where they are underrepresented: developed a  mentoring scheme specifically for women in STEM, ran a series of workshops for and organized by PhD students, who were also chairs and discussants, as well as networking events such as a facilitated engagement between Birkbeck staff and business leaders on “Embedding Equality”. PhD students workshops are continuing with support from BGRS, while continuation of networking events has been possible thanks to funding from Taylor and Francis.
  • Current work on how to promote opportunities for under-represented communities, including opportunities for disabled and BAME innovators (funded by ESRC/InnovateUK and the Regional Studies Association)
  • CIMR workshops engaging wider audiences e.g. on diversity and entrepreneurship, Unlocking the potential of disabled entrepreneurs, Entrepreneurship policies through a gender lens, Unlocking the potential of Black and Ethnic Minority entrepreneurs

Emerging theme: entrepreneurship in emerging technologies

  • Collaboration with Kogod Business School, Washington
  • Large scale application to UKRI/ESRC for project on business accelerators in UK, US and India
  • Emerging work on quantum technology entrepreneurship
  • Emerging work on Industry 4.0 and Internet of Things
  • Potential collaboration with Cabinet Office