Examples of current projects involving the University of Brighton and supported by Regional Development funds include:
- BRITE - a growth and innovation programme to support businesses located in the Sussex and south-east region worth £10.5m over three years.
- KEEP+ - a £3.2m programme to support SME innovation in the south-east.
- DRIVA arts DRIVA - a £1.3m project to support both the creative sector and technology businesses to engage in knowledge transfer and innovation with data.
- LOCASE – a programme to help businesses across the south-east become more competitive and profitable while protecting the environment and encouraging low carbon solutions.
- STEP-UP – an internship programme that enables final-year students and recent graduates to work with SMEs in the Brighton area.
Without the timely replacement of these funds, projects of this kind will be at huge risk, affecting individuals and livelihoods across the region, at a time of growing economic challenges.
Commenting on the open letter, Professor Debra Humphris, Vice-Chancellor of the University of Brighton, said: “EU structural funds have been a vital mechanism for universities like ours to support businesses and communities in our region - especially throughout the pandemic. Details of their replacement, the UKSPF, have been promised but not delivered, and time is running out as we approach the end of the Brexit transition period.
“To continue doing our part to address current and future challenges, we need greater transparency and an open dialogue with government on the priorities, how they plan to administer and deliver the UK Shared Prosperity Fund, and in what timescales. Ultimately, as the end of the Brexit transition approaches and the severe impact of COVID continues to challenge our economic and social infrastructure, we need answers and a plan.”