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UoL offer free research opportunities for local SMEs

Updated: Nov 15, 2022

Innovation is a key aspect of business resilience and growth, but the time, knowledge and resource required for innovation to be successful is often difficult to manage within the confines of “business as usual”.

The Port City Innovation Hub (PCIH) supports the local maritime sector within Liverpool City Region, offering cross-discipline expertise to aid the development of new products or services. The PCIH includes business development expertise, innovation sprint knowledge, maritime cluster intelligence and links to world-class academic support.

As part of the PCIH, the University of Liverpool (UoL) has already set up several fully funded masters projects investigating topics such as:

  • Alternative fuel technologies for port infrastructure

  • Digitalisation of maritime operations

  • Assessment of air quality around ports

  • Sustainable technologies for existing port facilities

As part of their next phase of support, UoL is currently offering free research opportunities for local SMEs, focusing on developing maritime related studies. These projects are short term in nature, lasting about a month, and will be carried out inhouse by UoL students and academics (there is no need to embed a student within company operations).

The purpose of this support is help SMEs to explore their innovation ideas while not getting in the way of business-as-usual operations. As an added benefit, it is also an opportunity to explore the use of young local talent who will form the workforce for industry 4.0. This is a European funded project, and the student is paid directly by the university for their work.

There is no specific framework for the scope of these projects and the outcomes will be dictated by the needs of the companies involved, but the support could include (but not be limited to) research into regulations/standards, baseline research on new technologies/applications, special project support and business development opportunities. There is plenty of scope for interesting and varied support.

Previous projects of this nature have utilised academics and students from backgrounds including:

  • Mechanical Engineering, Materials and Aerospace

  • Geography, Planning and Environmental Geoscience

  • Electrical Engineering and Electronics

  • Architecture

  • Biochemistry

  • Computer Science

  • Business Management

  • Civil Engineering and Industrial Design

  • Psychology

  • Chemistry

  • Earth, Ocean and Ecological Science

To access this support, you will just need to be registered as part of PCIH and be an SME operating in the Liverpool City Region. We will then need to arrange a short meeting in order to explore the potential scope of work and then link you up with a suitable student.

If you are interested in exploring this opportunity further, please contact Matthew Calveley (

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