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25 Midlands SMEs given £1000 to tackle Innovation projects

WMG, at the University of Warwick, has launched a new “Project Associate” scheme as part of its Innovation Programme for small and medium sized businesses.

The scheme will offer 25 SMEs in the region £1000 each towards the cost of taking on a new person to work on a dedicated project over the summer, 2014.

The Innovation Programme operates out of the International Institute for Product and Service Innovation. Dr Mark Swift, Head of SME Programmes at WMG comments “Many of the companies we are working with in the West Midlands are eager to progress with new product and service ideas, however haven’t necessarily got the time and skills to move forward. We have put aside some funds to support businesses to get access to the many talented individuals who work with WMG who can help them deliver specific product and service development projects.”

A number of SMEs in the region have already benefitted from new resource through the WMG scheme. This includes Automotive Insulations Ltd (AI Ltd) who had a requirement to test the viability of developing a brand new product line for an automotive client. As specialists in the design and manufacture of innovative noise reduction systems and thermal management solutions, they approached the WMG SME team to assist them in securing a polymer chemist specialist to facilitate the set up a new production cell.

Through the specialist scheme, the team appointed Shaun Morris from the University of Warwick’s Chemistry department. Shaun had an extensive brief which involved defining material requirements and specifications for the product, procurement and preparation of material formulations and training of AI staff to use the machinery required to fabricate prototype parts. He was also assigned with testing and analysing samples and prototypes and reporting on progress for AI and WMG.

Shaun had an immediate impact at AI, helping to implement a brand new production line into one of their manufacturing facilities. He assisted in the successful introduction of prototype manufacture which AI’s client was delighted with along with creating training and operating guidance document for the new cell. He led an R&D project focussing on how thermal protection could be added to the product and investigated cycle times. He also assisted the company with how they could cost parts in the future and created a marketing video.

Paul Neale, Sales Manager from AI Ltd said: “We were delighted with the success of the project and through Shaun’s hard work have already employed a supervisor. We are also looking at creating another 20 jobs as a result of the project and AI hope that Shaun joins the company after he graduates. We wouldn’t hesitate in telling other companies to explore getting involved with the Project Associate scheme. We’ve certainly seen the benefits.”

Shaun Morris adds “I thoroughly enjoyed the time spent with AI, and it was great that my work had such an impact on the business. I am considering joining the company upon graduation and now have a better understanding of the benefits of working in a smaller business in the region.” ”

Companies interested in hearing more about the scheme should contact

Ellie Precious in WMG’s SME Programmes Team on 0247 657 5594 email E:

For further for information for media please contact:

Peter Dunn, Head of Communications, University of Warwick,
UK Tel: 024 76 523708 Mobile 07767 655860 email:


Lisa Barwick, WMG, University of Warwick Tel: 024 76 524721 or 07824 540845

PR38 PJD 24th March 2014



Further Information:

Peter Dunn Head of Communications University of Warwick Tel: 024 7652 3708 Mob: 07767 655860 Email:


Lisa Barwick, WMG, University of Warwick Tel: 024 76 524721 or 07824 540845


Useful Links:


Dr Mark Swift profile