Cumbria Innovations Platform

Cumbria Innovations Platform (CUSP) aims to help boost economic growth in Cumbria by providing micro, small and medium enterprises with a competitive edge. This platform is unique and diverse in its offerings, as it combines the research and development capabilities of various departments from the universities of Lancaster and Cumbria to provide bespoke business support. 

The universities of Cumbria and Lancaster pool their capabilities together to enable multifaceted, tailored business support in five different formats. It will allow you to explore new ideas by providing practical and academic guidance.

The platform has been designed for inventive and innovative Cumbrian businesses, who wish to accelerate their growth by utilising academic expertise, knowledge and resources.

This is a fully-funded programme available to European Regional Development Fund eligible companies.

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What’s on offer for Cumbrian businesses?

Innovation Research Projects

The University of Cumbria offers early stage research and development support through Innovation Research Projects.  Our student researchers and academics will provide your business with robust research, academic expertise and knowledge to help you drive innovation forward.

Fully funded internships are worked flexibly to suit your business needs.
Masters and academic research projects are designed to provide your business with detailed and robust research to support new product or service development

Benefits to your business:

  • Increases capacity and capability to drive innovation and business growth
  • Resource your research and development requirements and accelerate innovation
  • Assess your technical readiness and innovation potential
  • Access specialist academic knowledge and expertise
  • Enhance your competitive edge

Access to Unique Facilities

Access to a variety of regionally unique science and technology facilities (chemistry, engineering and physics facilities, including specialist equipment, laboratories and workshops)and capabilities from Lancaster University and the University of Cumbria that would typically be unavailable to Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs).
Cumbrian SMEs from any ERDF eligible sector can access technical expertise, equipment and facilities to support the development and prototyping of new products and processes.

Digital Product Design

Businesses in any sector, who are keen to diversify and investigate new business models that exploit data and digital technology, are potential beneficiaries.  Many businesses have a large pool of data or internal expertise and collective knowledge that may be tapped to develop a knowledge-based business or product.

Bespoke consultancy may include:

  • Analysis of business processes and systems to identify underused data and knowledge assets.
  • Exploration of digital solutions to solve future business challenges or opportunities.
  • Investigation of new digital products and service concepts.
  • Development of digital prototypes to assess concept and feasibility.


Innovation Masterclasses and Events

A series of masterclasses and events designed to help business leaders gain the tools to shape innovative business ideas.  From concept through to commercialisation, these workshops will equip businesses with the necessary skills and knowledge needed for today’s ever competitive market.

Business leaders can mix and match in topic areas of interest depending on where they are on the innovation journey.  Businesses are required to attend at least 2 masterclasses or events of their choice over a 12-month period. Events will be tailored around needs and demand from participating businesses and will encourage networking between participants.

Innovation Development Programme

The Innovation Development Programme has been specifically designed for senior decision makers of Cumbria based SMEs. This six month peer-network programme will give delegates the space to explore emerging trends and the opportunities for innovation in their businesses.

What’s involved?
?    An Overnight Experiential over two days (one night) to build relationships with your peer group
?    Monthly, sector focused half-day workshops and masterclasses
?    An interactive group challenge to identify and maximise opportunities across the food and drink landscape in Cumbria
?    Access to Masterclasses delivered by inspirational, world-class speakers
?    A final residential (one night) to consolidate learning and put ideas into action

Benefits of the Cumbria Innovations Platform

?    Reduce the risk of research and development
?    Speed up innovation
?    Support the development and commercialisation of new products
?    Accelerate growth in innovative Cumbrian businesses
?    Increases capacity and capability to drive innovation and business growth
?    Resource your research and development requirements and accelerate innovation
?    Assess your technical readiness and innovation potential
?    Access specialist academic knowledge and expertise
?    Enhance your competitive edge

Are you a student interested in one of our innovation research projects?

Innovation research placements are an ideal way for students to extend their research skills, enhance employability by working with a real business, strengthen CVs and gain excellence references.  And, our students are paid for the research they carry out.


There are two ways to get involved in our innovation research projects

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?    Students are employed by University Of Cumbria to carry out an innovation research project or support with new service/product development for a maximum of 140 hours
?    Students are paid monthly based on the research/work carried out
?    Students work flexibly to suit work, home and study commitments
?    Students may choose to use align their internship to their dissertation theme but this is not essential
?    Academic support is provided along with coaching and mentoring
?    Students will prepare a report of research findings and conclusions at the end of their internship

Masters research placements

?    Masters research placements last for up to 4-months and should be aligned to dissertations
?    Students are paid a monthly stipend for research carried out during the last 4 months of their Masters i.e. their dissertation module
?    Students work flexibly to suit work, home and study commitments
?    Academic support is provided along with coaching and mentoring
?    Students will prepare a detailed report of research findings, recommendations and conclusions at the end of their Masters placement.

How to search and apply for Student Internships & Masters Placements

Student internship opportunities are advertised on the current vacancies section of the University Of Cumbria website.  You will need to formally apply for each opportunity as you would with a normal job application.  If your application in successful you will be invited for an interview with the project manager and the business owner.

If you would like help with your application, preparing your CV or would like an informal chat about any of the opportunities please contact:

Sarah Allison – Project Manager, Cumbria Innovations Platform – or call 07969 768919


Be the first to hear about opportunities by registering your interest and signing up here.

Masterclasses, Events and Innovation Coaching

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Support is available to European Regional Development Fund eligible companies. To find out if your company is eligible for support please


For more information please contact


Sarah Allison – Project Manager, Institute of Business, Industry & Leadership

07969 768919


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