Loughborough University
Leicestershire, UK
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3 April 2009 - PR 09/40

Loughborough graduate returns to University to drive regional innovation

A Loughborough University graduate, James Reeves, has returned this month to become an Innovation Adviser at the Transport Innovation Network (iNet). The new team are tasked with boosting innovation among businesses in the aerospace, rail, marine, automotive and motorsport sectors.

James graduated with an honours degree in product design and manufacture in 2002, and went on to carve out a career centred around technology and innovation within the East Midlands. Most recently, as Business Manager for the Motorsport Academy, he facilitated a number of business support programmes for motorsport related companies. His other roles have included managing research projects across small and medium sized enterprises and blue chip organisations, giving him a breadth of experience across automotive, motorsport and aerospace industries.

On returning to Loughborough, James said: “I am pleased to be based back in Loughborough and at the university which kick-started my career. We are keen to make a real difference in helping businesses and research organisations in the transport sector to innovate, through the advice, support and signposting that my new colleagues and I can offer.”

Located at the Systems Engineering Innovation Centre (SEIC) at Loughborough University, the Transport iNet is a business-led organisation funded by East Midlands Development Agency (emda) and the European Regional Development Fund. It provides support to help businesses and individuals in the aerospace, rail, marine, automotive and motorsport sectors to become more innovative.

emda has created four iNets with support from East Midlands Innovation (the Regional Science and Industry Council) covering healthcare and bioscience, sustainable construction, food and drink and transport. The overall objective is to increase the level of innovation in the East Midlands to improve business competitiveness, margins, sustainability and growth. They encourage individuals and organisations to work together, share ideas, technologies and intelligence and create a link between operational industries and the academic community.

James joins two other new recruits at the Transport iNet, fellow advisor Georgette Hall, and programme administrator Carol Wright. Georgette Hall has over two decades of manufacturing experience spanning academia, industry and publicly funded projects in the automotive sector. Carol Wright brings a wealth of post graduate administrative experience and will be the main point of contact as programme administrator.

For more information visit www.eminnovation.org.uk or contact Carol Wright on 01509 635270.

– Ends –

For all media enquiries contact:

Jo Lumani
Senior Public Relations Officer
Loughborough University
T: 01509 228697
E: J.P.Lumani@lboro.ac.uk

Notes for editors:

Loughborough is one of the country’s leading universities, with an international reputation for excellence in teaching and research, strong links with industry and unrivalled sporting achievement.

It was awarded the coveted Sunday Times University of the Year 2008-09 title, and is consistently ranked in the top fifteen of UK universities in national newspaper league tables. In the 2008 National Student Survey, Loughborough was voted one of the top five universities in the UK, with 22 out of 30 of its subject areas being ranked in the top ten for overall satisfaction. It was named winner of the 2006 and 2007 Times Higher award for the UK’s Best Student Experience and winner of the 2007 award for Outstanding Support for Overseas Students. In recognition of its contribution to the sector, the University has been awarded six Queen's Anniversary Prizes – an achievement bettered by no other institution.

It is a member of the esteemed 1994 Group – a set of internationally recognised, research-intensive universities – and has a reputation for the relevance of its work. Its degree programmes are highly regarded by professional institutions and businesses, and its graduates are consistently targeted by the UK’s top recruiters.

Loughborough is also the UK’s premier university for sport. It has perhaps the best integrated sports development environment in the world and is home to some of the country’s leading coaches, sports scientists and support staff. It also has the country’s largest concentration of world-class training facilities across a wide range of sports.

About emda

East Midlands Development Agency (emda) is one of nine Regional Development Agencies in England, set up in 1999 to bring a regional focus to economic development.

Ten years on, independent evaluation shows emda has:

  • Had a significant impact on the region’s economy
  • Generated economic benefits that substantially outweigh its overall costs
  • Put back over £9 of economic output (or GVA) into the regional economy for every £1 it spends
  • Produced more than £1 billion in economic benefits per year
  • A wider impact on people, places and businesses in the East Midlands that cannot be captured by figures alone.

emda is committed to supporting the region through the current downturn and has put in place a range of measures to provide real help during these challenging times.

Over the long term, emda’s aim is to deliver the 2006 Regional Economic Strategy (RES) by working in partnership with public, private and voluntary organisations. The RES highlights the themes of productivity, sustainability and equality and sets out key priorities until 2020 to ensure the vision for ‘a flourishing region’ can be achieved.

For more details visit www.emda.org.uk

About East Midlands Innovation

East Midlands Innovation is the Regional Science and Industry Council which was established in 2005 by emda. 

East Midlands Innovation’s principle responsibility is to take the lead for emda in implementing the Innovation Strategy and Action Plan for the East Midlands with the aim to grow a long term, sustainable, innovation-led economy.

About iNets

In order to deliver the Regional Innovation Strategy and coordinate action under its four themes, emda and East Midlands Innovation have created four business led innovation networks (iNets) which are focused on the identified regional industry and research strengths across four priority sectors. These have been identified as:

  • Healthcare and Bioscience
  • Food and Drink
  • Sustainable Construction
  • Transport Equipment

The iNets are raising the level of innovation in their sectors, with the aim of stimulating the research and development of new products, services and processes.

For further information, visit www.eminnovation.org.uk

About the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF)

The ERDF Programme aims to strengthen economic and social cohesion in the European Union by supporting regional economic development.

The ERDF objectives for England are:

  • Promoting innovation and knowledge transfer
  • Stimulating  enterprise and supporting successful business
  • Ensuring sustainable development, production and consumption
  • Building sustainable communities
  • Improving accessibility and connectivity (for Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly only – as part of their Convergence Programme).

A Programme Monitoring Committee consisting of regional stakeholders such as Government Offices, RDAs, Regional Assemblies, Local Authorities, Sub-regional Partnerships, Higher Education Institutions, Trade Unions, and the private and voluntary sectors will monitor and oversee programme implementation in each region.

For more information on ERDF funding generally, please visit or

About ERDF in the East Midlands

The East Midlands is eligible for 268.5m Euros between 2007 and 2013, which, when combined with match funding, provides a programme value of approximately £420m – a significant investment in the economic development of the region.

The East Midlands qualifies as a competitiveness and employment region under the EU’s Cohesion Policy, which aims to meet the EU Lisbon objective to become ‘the most competitive and dynamic knowledge based economy in the world, capable of sustainable economic growth with more and better jobs and greater social inclusion.’

East Midlands Development Agency (emda) is responsible for the programme management and delivery of the region’s 2007-13 ERDF Competitiveness Programme. The responsibility for the ERDF programme management was transferred from the Government Office for the East Midlands (GOEM) to emda following a decision by the UK Government to seek greater alignment between ERDF and regional strategies and funding streams. The 2007-13 ERDF Programme is therefore set firmly within the framework of the Regional Economic Strategy.

A Programme Monitoring Committee, chaired by the Regional Director of Government Office for the East Midlands (GOEM), guides the strategic direction of the programme and works closely with emda.

To find out more about ERDF, the region’s strategy for delivering the funds, how to apply for funding and how the programme is managed, please visit www.eastmidlandserdf.org.uk

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