Mayor of West Yorkshire Tracy Brabin visited the 3M Buckley Innovation Centre (3M BIC) in Huddersfield to experience the value of investing in business innovation as she develops plans for a continued commitment to boost innovation across the region.
The 3M BIC is a subsidiary of the University of Huddersfield, designed to foster academic and industry collaboration and enable businesses to innovate, exchange knowledge with the university, and facilitate regional regeneration.
To kickstart her visit, the Mayor took part in a round table discussion on how universities support business innovation.
Chaired by the University of Huddersfield’s PVC Research & Enterprise, Prof Andrew Ball, it featured the Dean of Huddersfield Business School, Prof Jill Johnes, 3M BIC CEO and the university’s interim head of enterprise and knowledge exchange, Sue Cooke, Claire Paxman, director at Paxman Scalp Cooling and head of business support at Kirklees Council, Chris Duffill.
During the morning, the Mayor met several of the 3M BIC’s business tenants, Adventoris, Innovate Orthopaedics, Coterie Marketing, Simplifai and Surfachem, all of which have experienced significant growth through innovation.
She discussed live innovative measurement projects to reduce carbon and support pandemic recovery with Andy Morris, North of England operations manager at the 3M BIC’s anchor tenant, National Physical Laboratory (NPL).
She also met Philip Clegg, head of enterprise & entrepreneurship at the University of Huddersfield’s Enterprise Hub, based at the 3M BIC, which supports around 100 student and graduate entrepreneurs, as well as representatives of the Leeds City Region Supply Chain and Manufacturing Champions, programmes funded by the LEP.
The visit concluded with a tour of the centre’s Innovation Avenue, which houses technology to support business innovation for product design, prototyping, 3D printing, and product verification, where she met the 3M BIC’s Technology and Design team and Parik Goswami, professor in technical textiles at the University of Huddersfield.
Commenting on her visit to the 3M BIC Ms Brabin said: “I thoroughly enjoyed visiting 3M BIC and having the opportunity to meet some of the business tenants who are benefiting from this incredible centre.
“Having facilities like these available for businesses give our region further opportunities to develop ideas, to grow businesses and to invest in R&D.
“These innovation hubs are so important for collaboration, creative thinking and to address both regional and national challenges. We want to be a region that encourages diversity in innovation, to develop innovations that truly benefit those who need it most and it’s places like this that are driving that.”
Sue Cooke, CEO of the 3M BIC, said: “The importance of innovation has certainly come to the fore over the last 18 months as businesses have been forced to adapt business models and develop new products to thrive or support others to survive.
“As an innovation hub, we are keen to support many more West Yorkshire businesses to grow and develop new ideas through space to grow, design and testing facilities, access to academic expertise, networks and advanced technologies.
“We fully support the West Yorkshire Combined Authority’s new innovation framework and look forward to playing a greater part in supporting innovation and business growth across the region.”
For businesses looking to develop new products or innovate though technology adoption, the 3M BIC can help with design and technical support, as well as sourcing appropriate funding opportunities.
For more information about the 3M BIC, go to www.3mbic.com.