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UWE Bristol to offer robotics and automation support for South West SMEs

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Written by: The Business | Posted 01 February 2019 17:19

UWE Bristol to offer robotics and automation support for South West SMEs

Businesses and entrepreneurs across the West of England are being given the opportunity to trial, adopt and develop robotics and smart automation solutions thanks to a new £1 million initiative from UWE Bristol.

The SABRE Programme, which is based in the Bristol Robotics Laboratory (BRL), will help small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) from any sector to explore the benefits of these technologies and identify the most appropriate robotic equipment for their organisation.

All types of SME – from start-ups and sole traders, to more established companies – can access SABRE’s assistance, either through attending free workshops or by applying to receive free or subsidised technical support.

“We are very excited about the opportunities this new initiative presents for BRL to support a diverse range of innovative businesses,” said Professor Chris Melhuish, director of BRL. 

The programme includes workshops on the practical basics of operating robotics. 

For SMEs researching and innovating new products or services, SABRE’s Technical Development Projects (TDP) will help businesses to develop, prototype, test and validate concepts.

Read more: £32m global technology centre to open in Bristol

The TDPs, which range from five days to 12 weeks, are awarded on a competitive basis, following the submission of applications that is reviewed by an assessment panel.

Successful applicants can undertake their TDP at UWE's University Enterprise Zone, where they will be supported by professionals with knowledge  in disciplines such as robotics, mechanics, electronics, mechatronics and control systems.

Robotics and automation already has an essential role to play in the UK’s innovation landscape, and are becoming increasing important to SMEs in sectors not traditionally associated with industrial hardware.

“The adoption of these technologies is key for future economic growth,” said Professor Steve West, Vice-Chancellor of UWE Bristol.

“They feature prominently in the UK’s Industrial Strategy and are championed by important local bodies such as WECA and the West of England Local Enterprise Partnership.”

The SABRE Programme is part-financed through the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF).

It forms part of UWE Bristol’s portfolio of ERDF-funded initiatives, which incorporates the Launch Space graduate start-up incubator, the Health Tech Hub innovation facility, the Scale Up 4 Growth project and the Network for Creative Enterprise.

Potential applicants can register an interest online at or call 0117 3283296.

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