Researchers from the University of Cumbria are encouraging businesses in Cumbria and north Lancashire to take part in a survey which could help influence how much government financial support comes to the region after Brexit.
Small and medium enterprises (SMEs) in the region have benefited from EU Structural Funds which support programmes delivered by the University of Cumbria along with partners such as chambers of commerce and local enterprise partnerships.
Cumbria is due to receive almost £80m under the current Structural Fund programme until 2020 while Lancashire has been allocated £211m; only London, Leeds, Manchester, Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly received higher allocations.
“The Government has promised to underwrite ongoing projects at the point of Brexit but, beyond that, proposes to replace EU structural funds with a UK Shared Prosperity Fund,” Katie Carr, a research associate at the University of Cumbria, said. “It is not yet clear how much money will be available, nor the funding mechanisms through which it will be distributed.”
As well as working on this project Katie is also completing her MA Sustainable Leadership Development with the university’s Institute for Leadership and Sustainability.
The online questionnaire on innovation will help determine how the UK government supports SMEs when EU funding stops.
“It will explore the factors that contribute to the dynamic capabilities of SMEs in Cumbria and North Lancashire, the way in which knowledge is created and utilised within organisations and the competitive advantages that arise from this,” Katie added. “Intuitively, we know that the local specificities of geography, demographics, transport, networks and so on all impact on the ways in which we can innovate and drive change but this is an area which is under-researched. Our team hopes to focus attention on ‘place-based innovation’ and, in doing so, inform the development of new funding mechanisms that will prove to be more useful and impactful for SMEs in our region.”