A programme that has supported more than 150 Stoke-on-Trent and Staffordshire businesses to innovate and grow has announced a second phase.

The Keele Research and Innovation Support Programme (KRISP)[1] sees academics, professionals and students from Keele University working in collaboration with local businesses to develop new products, services and processes.

The second phase, which will be incorporated with the University’s Smart Innovation Hub[2] project and is also part-funded through the European Regional Development Fund, will enable to a further 200 businesses to be supported between June 2019 and December 2021.

Through the KRISP programme, businesses are supported by an innovation team, with talented students or graduates employed as a Research, Development and Innovation Associates, along with staff who have sector-relevant experience; all parties work together on a specific project that will benefit the growth and development of the company.

Rob McKay, KRISP Project Manager, said: “This second phase of the programme will enable us to build on the success that we’ve achieved with SMEs in the local area over the past couple of years.

“Through the support that the programme has made available and accessible, local businesses have been able to bring a significant number of innovative products and services to market faster than would have otherwise been possible, providing a valuable contribution to the Stoke-on-Trent and Staffordshire economy.”

Dr Mark Bacon, Director of Strategy and Director of Research, Innovation and Engagement at Keele University, added: “The KRISP programme forms a key part of the New Keele Deal – a £70m investment plan that we’ve developed in collaboration with a range of local partners – which aims to make the University’s world-leading research, facilities and resources available for the benefit of the local community and economy.

“Over the next 20 years, the Deal aims to deliver a significant number of higher value jobs locally and inject innovation into the heart of the local business community. Through the Deal, we’re aiming to support 1,000 local businesses and, in just over two years, we’ve already been able to support more than 300 organisations and generate more than £14.5m in regional economic employment impact as a result.”

The second phase of the programme will be based within the University’s new Smart Innovation Hub – a unique facility that will see innovative businesses co-located with Keele Business School. Along with the University’s Innovation Leadership programme, the new facility will bring these significant business support initiatives together under one roof, creating a regional core for businesses to work, network and grow together.

For more information about the Keele Research and Innovation Support Programme, and Keele University’s wider range of business support initiatives, please visit keele.ac.uk/business.


1. The Keele Research and Innovation Support Programme (KRISP) (Ref: 32R16P00711) is part-funded through the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) as part of the England 2014 to 2020 European Structural and Investment Funds (ESIF) Growth Programme.

2. The Keele University Science and Innovation Park Smart Innovation Hub (Ref No: 32R17P01691) / Innovation Centre 6 has been part-funded by the European Regional Development Fund as part of the England Growth Programme 2014-2020, the Midlands Engine and Staffordshire County Council with support from the Stoke-on-Trent and Staffordshire Local Enterprise Partnership.