EU-funded project launched to help around 120 small businesses in Wales and Ireland

A new scheme, backed by €2.9m of EU funds through the Ireland Wales programme has been launched to help around 120 small businesses in Wales and Ireland in the food and drink, life sciences and renewable energy sectors.

Partners of the project gathered at the UKSPA conference in Swansea recently for the project’s official launch, which was hosted by Swansea University Medical School.

BUCANIER BUCANIER (Building Clusters and Networks in Innovation Enterprise and Research) aims to support small businesses to increase innovation by collaborating with Higher Education institutions and other public bodies to boost productivity across Ireland and Wales.

The project will see lead partner Pembrokeshire County Council join forces with Swansea University Medical School and Carmarthenshire County Council in Wales and the Institute of Technology Carlow, Bord Iascaigh Mhara and Wexford County Council in Ireland.

Mr David Thomas, Senior Partner for the BUCANIER Project at Pembrokeshire County Council said “Bringing together these six partners in Ireland and Wales for what is a very exciting innovation project is the culmination of a lot of hard work and effort. We are thankful to the Ireland Wales programme for funding this work and we now look forward to delivering this project and bringing a new innovation dividend across the two regions”.

BUCANIER will also invest in ideas for the design, development, testing and delivery of new products, processes and services by applying design based innovation that will bring new product/service ideas closer to the commercial market thereby contributing to the increase in cross-border productivity.  BUCANIER intends to increase the number of cross-border collaborative research, development and innovation (RD&I) clusters and networks between research institutions and SMEs.  

BUCANIER has four main pillars which will be used to strengthen research, technological development and innovation:

  • INNOVATION PROCESS The first pillar will introduce an innovation framework to help businesses understand the process and practices needed to create ideas for commercially viable products and services.
  • DESIGN THINKING The second pillar will use design maker spaces and mentors to gain insights into the idea through research, conceptualisation, product refinement and prototyping.
  • COMMERCIALISATION The third pillar will be assisting organisations in taking ideas to the commercial market. Experienced practitioners will help enable, facilitate and challenge key issues.
  • CLUSTERS AND NETWORKS The fourth pillar will be the creation of sector specific cross-border innovation networks to promote sharing of ideas, knowledge transfer and build best practice.

BUCANIER is part funded through the Ireland Wales 2014 – 2020 European Territorial Co-operation (ETC) programme which connects organisation, businesses and communities on the west coast of Wales with the Southern Region Assembly area of Ireland.

At the UKSPA conference, Mr Jim Duvall the Executive Director of the UK Science Park Association said “We are delighted that the BUCANIER project team chose our forum to officially launch their work, we will be keeping a close watching brief on this project as a potential model for other Science and Technology Parks to follow in the future”.

BUCANIER  (EU logos)