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ESRC: Enterprise Research Centre launches

Warwick and Aston Universities have been chosen to host a new Enterprise Research Centre that will help develop understanding of the factors affecting business investment, performance and growth. The centre launches on 1 January 2013 and will become a national and international focal point for research, knowledge and expertise on small and medium-sized businesses.

The new £2.9 million centre will exploit and develop the existing knowledge base and data resources, strengthen the links between evidence and practice, and inform government policy and business practice for small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs) in the UK. It is a joint collaboration between the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS), the British Bankers' Association (BBA), the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) and the Technology Strategy Board.

Warwick and Aston University will work alongside a consortium of other universities including Strathclyde, Birmingham, De Montfort and Imperial College London.

The Director of the Centre will be Stephen Roper, Professor of Enterprise at Warwick Business School. He said: "I am delighted to be leading the Enterprise Research Centre with Professor Mark Hart from Aston Business School. By working together we will generate world-class research which will both benefit business and inform UK policy development".

He continues: "The Centre will research important issues including business ambition, leadership and management, finance, innovation, productivity and diversity. Our key objective is to provide policymakers and SME managers with the evidence they need to make good decisions for growth. We have three main ambitions: to conduct and publish exciting and novel research; to provide the evidence for better growth strategy in the UK; and to establish the Enterprise Research Centre as a reference point for anyone interested in issues around business growth."

Business and Enterprise Minister Michael Fallon said: "It is essential we listen to our SMEs and understand what makes them tick and how we can help them grow. By collaborating with partners and bringing together leading academics, the new Enterprise Research Centre will help the formulation of long-term policy that will help to stimulate economic growth in the UK."

Professor Paul Boyle, Chief Executive of the ESRC, said: "Supporting economic performance and sustainable growth, and developing collaborative partnerships with business and policy are key priorities for the ESRC. I am pleased to be working with the British Bankers' Association, the Technology Strategy Board and the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills to develop this new Enterprise Research Centre. Our complementary knowledge and experience make us ideal partners in this investment and by working together we will generate research which will directly benefit business and inform policy development."

Anthony Browne, CEO of BBA, said: "We very much look forward to working with Warwick University and its strong academic consortium in getting the Enterprise Research Centre up and running. This very important initiative will help inform policy, provide a focal point for SME research, bring key knowledge together in one place and help banks better serve their business customers. The research will help policymakers, business organisations and investors work together to develop and deliver initiatives that support enterprise and the UK growth agenda."

Iain Gray, Chief Executive of the Technology Strategy Board, said: "We are very pleased at the announcement that this group of recognised experts in the field of entrepreneurship will lead the new Enterprise Research Centre. We are looking forward to working together with our co-funders and the Centre to develop a better understanding of the drivers of growth for innovative entrepreneurial businesses, which will help us at the Technology Strategy Board to shape our strategy and delivery mechanisms to be as effective as possible in stimulating business-led innovation and driving economic growth."

For further information contact:

ESRC Press Office:

Sarah Nichols
Email: sarah.nichols@esrc.ac.uk
Telephone: 01793 413122
Jeanine Woolley
Email: jeanine.woolley@esrc.ac.uk
Telephone: 01793 413119
Notes for editors

The Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) is the UK's largest organisation for funding research on economic and social issues. It supports independent high quality research which has an impact on business, the public sector and the third sector. The ESRC's total budget for 2012/13 is £205 million. At any one time the ESRC supports over 4,000 researchers and postgraduate students in academic institutions and independent research institutes.
The Technology Strategy Board brings together business, research and the public sector, supporting and accelerating the development of innovative products and services to meet market needs, tackle major societal challenges and help build the future economy.
The British Bankers' Association is the leading trade association for the UK banking and financial services sector. It speaks for over 200 banking members which have operations in 180 countries worldwide. The major UK banks supporting the Enterprise Research Centre are Royal Bank of Scotland PLC, HSBC Bank PLC, Barclays Bank PLC, Lloyds TSB Bank PLC and Bank of Scotland PLC.
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