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Dr Mark Swift, Head of SME Programmes

My role

In a nutshell, my job involves supporting small businesses, with the core aim to accelerate SME economic growth through research-led innovation through the identification and adoption of new technologies. That’s the focus of my (excellent) SME team. We are measured on achieving commercial outcomes and as a result run intensive innovation projects, technology demonstrations, workshops and internships. Meeting the challenges of innovation can be incredibly varied (we help over 100 on average a year) from undertaking research projects on novel Additive Layer Manufacturing materials to helping businesses find new customers and markets through social media tools.

A typical day can involve working with the wide variety of stakeholders we have for the International Institute for Product and Service Innovation (IIPSI). This ranges from meeting with University academics and management to our funders, partners and, of course, small businesses.

The best part of my job is...

Supporting a range of diverse research ideas into the marketplace. Recently we had the opportunity to produce a film using Professor Alan Chalmers' world first High Dynamic Range (HDR) camera. It was important to ensure that the film was captivating, demonstrating the capability of this technology and also was developed with a West Midlands context (due to the source of our funding). I approached Morgan Motor Company, a contact I had who owned a number of vintage Spitfire aircraft and a local film company owned by a Warwick film studies postgraduate, and we made a wonderful short film that was considered by a Hollywood producer as the best HDR film he had ever seen.

The best thing about WMG

The people – a cliché I’m sure, but it’s true. I’m also often reminded by visitors about how wonderful the campus environment is, from the buildings we have, such as our brand new IIPSI building to the lakes, trees and wildlife. It’s a place that allows you to think.

Warwick is unique because of the blend of world class research and the propensity to collaborate closely with industry, whether it’s Jaguar Land Rover, The Royal Shakespeare Company, TATA, the NHS or small businesses.


Head of SME Programmes