A welcome boost for West Wales.

06 March 2012

A £12m initiative to help businesses in West Wales and the Valleys work in a more sustainable way has been given an EU boost.

The WISE Network (Welsh Institute for Sustainable Environments) project, led by Aberystwyth University in partnership with Bangor and Swansea Universities, will support companies to undertake research and development activities to develop ‘greener’ products and drive business growth.

The scheme will support a range of businesses offering expertise in areas such as developing renewable-based materials for use in products and improving resource efficiency of services, helping to reduce their ecological footprint.

The project is backed with £6.6m from the European Regional Development Fund through the Welsh Government with the remainder of the funding from the universities involved.

The Deputy Minister for European Programmes, Alun Davies, says:

“We are helping to ensure EU funding is maximised for the benefit of people, businesses and our environment. Already through the 2007–2013 programmes, EU projects have helped 82,000 participants to gain qualifications and 34,400 to enter work, and created over 10,500 jobs and 2,150 enterprises.

“This scheme is another example of how EU projects can support businesses, helping them to increase their competitiveness and deliver goods and services in a way that helps protect our environment, meeting our own ambitions to build a low-carbon economy and those of EU 2020 for smart, sustainable and inclusive growth.”

Through the project a range of activities are likely to get underway such as helping companies to make their manufacturing processes, products and packaging more efficient and cost-effective and increasing their use of renewable materials to produce commercial goods and services.

Professor Jamie Newbold, Director of WISE Network, welcomed the announcement. He added:

“We are delighted that EU funding has been made available to support this work, and we look forward to developing and extending relationships with businesses in the Convergence region. The partner Universities are highly enthusiastic about collaborating with local companies so that they can access the best University expertise to support the sustainable development of their business, and we look forward to exchanging our knowledge with them.”

Businesses wishing to find out more about the project can contact info@wisenetwork.org