WISE Network project shortlisted for PraxisUnico Impact Award

The Welsh Institute for Sustainable Environments (WISE Network), a collaborative project between Bangor, Swansea and Aberystwyth Universities, is celebrating being shortlisted as a finalist for The PraxisUnico Impact Awards 2010

Representatives from WISE Network will be joining finalists from across the five award categories at The Impact Awards Ceremony held at the PraxisUnico Annual Conference gala dinner on Wednesday, June 16, where winners will be announced by Maggie Philbin.

The 'Environmental Impact' award category, for which WISE Network is a finalist, recognises projects that have made an outstanding environmental impact, through successful knowledge transfer.

The WISE Network was developed following the three Universities spotting an opportunity to create an easy-to-access, friendly 'front door' for companies to access all of the sustainability and environmental expertise across the three Universities. Academic departments in Bangor and Swansea, and the knowledge transfer offices in all three institutions worked together obtain European ERDF funding through Objective 1 and created the WISE Network.

"The WISE Network team is delighted that the project has been shortlisted for this award," said Dr Geoff Proffitt, Director of Third Mission, School of the Environment and Society at Swansea University. 

"WISE Network is a great example of three Universities working together flexibly to achieve maximum impact for business.  The idea for WISE Network was conceived by Swansea University, phase 1 of the project was led by Bangor University, and phase 2 of the project is being led by Aberystwyth University. This trusting, collaborative relationship between the Universities ensures that company needs are met by those best placed to help."

WISE Network has already had an impact on almost 500 companies across the eligible regions of Wales. Of these, 119 companies have engaged in collaborative R&D with one or more of the partner Universities, and a further 116 instances of environmental knowledge transfer via training workshops and use of university facilities have been made possible by the project.

Almost 80 new jobs have been created in the companies we supported, and their turnover has increased by £4.7m since WISE Network began. New patents and trademarks have been registered as a result of the project, which will produce further impact as new products and services based on these are launched.

Companies are able to embed staff in University facilities such as laboratories and glasshouses, and a total of 2130m2 of technology, innovation, R&D, and incubation space has been made available to companies as a result of the project.

As a result of the WISE Network, almost 500 companies have been able to both increase their financial success, and reduce their environmental impact.

Speaking of the future of the project, Dr Proffitt added: "WISE Network is an ongoing initiative which continues to offer facilities and expertise to businesses, and subject to ERDF Convergence funding, phase 2 will be starting during 2010 which will allow us to offer even more impact to companies in Wales."

This news item has been posted for the WISE network by Bethan Evans, Swansea University Public Relations Office, Tel: 01792 295049 or email
b.w.evans@swansea.ac.uk