Success 1400 times over

Yorkshire and Humber's Centres of Industrial Collaboration have won a top European award.

The 12 strong network of centres, which includes two based at Sheffield Hallam University, were among 71 nominations from across 18 European states for five RegioStars Awards.

The awards are designed to celebrate Europe's most innovative regional projects and the Yorkshire and Humber Centres of Industrial Collaboration (CICs) won the award for technology transfer to Small and Medium Sized Employers.

Since their launch in 2003 the CICs have helped business more than 1,400 times and generated more than 50 million-worth of research income for the region.

Success stories include helping silversmiths Carrs Of Sheffield by developing Lustre Silver - a form of sterling silver that doesn't tarnish.

RegioStars Award judges said: "This cross-regional project was seen as an outstanding example of a sustainable project that triggered collaboration and self-financing.

"The project was based on an analysis of the needs of regional industry and has been able to bring this to the CICs. In addition no subsidies were provided to companies or research groups - the funding covered the incremental costs of providing professional business/university interface and promoting their services".

Jim Farmery, head of innovation at regional development agency Yorkshire Forward, which set up the CICs, said winning the award showed the Centres could offer the region's businesses some of the best advice and expertise in Europe.

Encouraging more firms to take advantage of the centres, Mr Farmery said they had been judged against the best examples of innovation in Europe.

Sheffield Hallam is home to the Design Futures and Materials Analysis and Research Services Centres of Industrial Collaboration.

Receiving the Yorkshire Forward award in the picture above are left to right Hywel Jones from Sheffield Hallam University's Materials Analysis Research Services, Jim Storey from Sheffield silverware firm, Carrs of Sheffield, science writer and BBC journalist Sue Nelson, Alan Hopkinson, from Carrs and Yorkshire Forward chairman, Terry Hodgkinson.