Research and Development

Trade and Industry written question – answered on 30th March 2006.

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Photo of Jim Cunningham Jim Cunningham PPS (Mr Mike O'Brien, Solicitor General), Law Officers' Department

To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what financial assistance his Department is giving to research and development for industry in (a) Coventry, South and (b) the West Midlands Region.

Photo of Alun Michael Alun Michael Minister of State (State (Industry and the Regions)), Department of Trade and Industry

holding answer 29 March 2006

In financial year 2005–06, Advantage West Midlands offered a total of £185,056 to four companies in Coventry South under the DTI's Research and Development Grant Scheme, which is designed to help individuals and small and medium-sized businesses research and develop technologically innovative products and processes. The corresponding figures for the West Midlands are £1,607,871 being offered to 19 companies.

Advantage West Midlands also contributed 332.6 million towards the £70 million Premium Auto Research and Development Program (PARD) at the University of Warwick.

PARD assists companies involved in supplying to the luxury car industry and is also supported by partner companies including Jaguar and Land Rover. It allows companies who would not normally be able to invest heavily in research and development to use the cutting-edge facilities at the Warwick Manufacturing Group, ensuring West Midlands firms gain access to the highest level of skills and technology. Since being launched in 2003, projects have covered areas such advanced body joining techniques, characterisation of new vehicle materials, crash analysis and the exploitation of IT technologies.

CovPress, a company based in Coventry South, is one of the 200 companies that have benefited from PARD to improve their productivity. Through PARD, the company has been able to tackle a series of production issues at their plant and develop increasingly sophisticated body parts.

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