USW Partnership and Engagement

USW Partnership & Engagement Programme

The USW Partnership & Engagement Programme, funded by HEFCW, is a simple-to-access scheme providing funded scoping and feasibility support from University of South Wales' experts. The programme aims to enhance and grow sustainable partnerships and collaborations with the University of South Wales by fully-funding early-stage collaborative activity. 

Benefit from up to £1,500 of funded support

There are 4 key strands of activity for which funded support can be accessed. These are: Economic Growth & Prosperity; Enhancing Workforce Skills; Establishing Industry-Academic Partnerships, and Civic Prosperity & Engagement. Each strand makes available up to £500 worth of support from USW, the equivalent of 8 hours of expert intervention. 

1. enhancing workforce skills with CPD & training

By undertaking a funded skills audit/training needs assessment, leading to the design of commercial CPD or training intervention that addresses skills gaps. 

3. Developing Industry-Academic Partnerships

By undertaking strategic relationship mapping; facilitated technical facility tours; expertise-led showcase events, resulting in scoping paper or partnership proposal. 

2. Enhancing economic growth & prosperity

By connecting to expertise to support scoping & feasibility of new products, processes or innovations; identifying next steps e.g. further research funding or consultancy. 

4. Enabling civic prosperity & engagement

By working to understand regional challenges, seeking to develop proposals for interventions to strengthen communities and their economic resilience. 

Developing Future Collaborations and Partnerships 

The aim of this programme is to increase industry-academic collaboration and partnerships, whilst supporting the delivery of positive economic impacts for Wales. 

Initial early-stage activity such as scoping, feasibility and diagnostic is fully funded & explored alongside our team of experts. Following this activity, our dedicated Engagement Managers will support you to take this further by developing a pathway for further ongoing engagement. This may include: 

  • Developing industry-university partnerships
  • Identifying collaborative research opportunities 
  • Signposting to follow-on funding opportunities 
  • Provision of contract research or consultancy
  • Design and delivery of commercial CPD or training 
  • Access to USW's technical facilities

Supporting Multiple Strands 

Applications can request funding for between 1 to 3 strands (i.e between £500 to £1,500 funded support), where organisations clearly articulate how the proposed collaboration will deliver outcomes across each of the strand themes they are applying to. 

Each strand of work will result in a scoping/feasibility paper, or CPD/skills development plan, or proposal for continued collaboration and next steps. 

Supporting a Post-COVID Recovery 

As part of the University’s strategy to support businesses through the economic recovery period, businesses will not be required to provide 'match funding' during year one of this programme (Aug 21 - July 22). 

How the Programme works: 

Our aim is to support as many businesses as possible to benefit from the Partnership and Engagement Programme. With this in mind, the process is as simple as possible, and paperwork is kept to a minimum. If you'd like to discuss suitability of your proposal for the programme first, our team can be contacted here

1. application

You can submit your application directly to USW Exchange, or our engagement team can support you in developing the application. 

2. approval

Your application is reviewed by USW Exchange within 14 days and you will receive an acknowledgement of your application based on the criteria laid out in the provided guidance document.

3. delivery

Once approved by USW Exchange we will connect with our academics for their consideration of your proposal.

4. next steps

Following this support we'll ask you to complete a second short form considering further opportunities to build on this work. 

Frequently Asked Questions: 

Find the most commonly asked questions about the Partnership and Engagement Programme below. Have a question we haven't covered? Simply drop us an email or give us a call on 01443 482266 to speak with a member of our business engagement team. 

The USW Partnership & Engagement Programme opened on the 1st July 2020, and will be operating a rolling application model, meaning that applications can be made at any time and will be reviewed at the earliest opportunity after submission. 

The programme is open to application by any registered business or civic body looking to develop meaningful future collaborative relationships with the University of South Wales. While there is no limit on the size or location of the external partner, the project must demonstrate that it is an effective collaboration and will deliver positive Welsh economic impact. Applications from microbusinesses and recent start-ups are also welcomed.  

The purpose of the application form is to obtain enough information about how you seek to utilise the programme, the expertise you would likely require access to, and how the project aligns with the required outcomes of enabling future collaborative engagement activity or partnership.

To receive a copy of an application form and if you require support with your application, please contact [email protected].  

Applicants are required to seek appropriate authorisation from within their organisation before submitting the application. Approval will also be sought by the internal Academic Subject Manager of any academics involved, to ensure time commitment to delivering their activity.  

Applicants should email completed application forms to [email protected] with the subject line: ‘USW Partnership & Engagement Programme’. You will receive email acknowledgment on receipt of your application.  

Applications will be assessed by the USW Exchange team, on a rolling basis.  Applications will be checked to ensure they are complete and meet eligibility requirements. Compliance with eligibility requirements alone does not guarantee approval. 

Whilst we will endeavour to successfully link your application with a relevant academic for work to begin, unfortunately, we can’t always guarantee that we will have the relevant academic expertise or capacity at the time to carry out the scoping work outlined in your proposal. Once your application is complete, USW Exchange will begin conversations with academics to ensure expertise and capacity is available and if so we will then begin to make introductions.

We anticipate high demand for this programme, and so applications which meet these requirements will go on to be assessed competitively based on the criteria below, and their potential for scientific, economic or societal impacts.  

Assessment Criteria: 

  • The need or challenge brought by the external partner is clearly presented 
  • The proposed solution (if known) or desired outcomes/deliverables from USW are articulated & align with the defined Strand Theme(s) 
  • Anticipated benefits to the business, organisation or region are articulated clearly (note: must demonstrate positive economic impacts for Wales).  
  • Anticipated benefits to USW clearly articulated (i.e. future partnership development with USW; development or provision of CPD; opportunity for follow-on collaborative research; contract research or consultancy, or future use/need of USW’s technical facilities or equipment). 

Applications which also have a link to one of USW’s 4 Accelerated Development Areas (Sustainable Environment; Crime, Security and Justice; Health & Wellbeing; Creative) will be of particular interest to assessors.  

If your application is successful you will be notified by email. USW Exchange will allocate an External Engagement Manager to support the development and delivery of strand activity, by facilitating the engagement between the industry partner and our internal expertise.  

A schedule for initial diagnostic or scoping sessions with our staff will be mutually agreed to understand your challenge, and a timeline for any feasibility papers, skills diagnostics, scoping reports or other outcomes agreed as part of the programme activity will be confirmed on a case-by-case basis by the allocated Engagement Manager.  

Once the relevant academic expertise has been identified and secured to work on your request or challenge, we will arrange for a diagnostic and scoping session to bring the academic and industry collaborators together.  This session may be in-person or conducted through virtual meeting software. During this session the challenge will be discussed in detail, including steps taken to date, resource available to work on solutions and any other relevant information.   

Following the diagnostic session, the linked expert will use the remainder of their funded time to consider and research potential next steps for your project resulting in a summary report regarding feasibility, insights and recommendations.  This will also include suggested tangible further collaboration opportunities which will seek to move any proposed solutions forward e.g. Collaborative Research with USW, Contract Research, Commercial Consultancy, CPD or Access to USW Facilities/Equipment. The assigned Engagement Manager will discuss the outcomes of this with the external organisation including the availability of any other funding which could enable this.  

Successful applications are required to submit a short post-award form after the activity has been delivered, the contents of which may be used to case-study impacts of the Partnership & Engagement Programme as well as for reporting and monitoring purposes.  

All applications are considered in competition with each other, and the availability of the required expertise at the time of application. If your application is unsuccessful you will be notified by email. Where possible, the USW Exchange team will support your challenge through other channels.

Apply now: 

To request an application form & guidance pack and to discuss a proposal for the Partnership and Engagement Programme contact the USW Exchange team now on [email protected] or by calling 01443 482266.


USW Exchange, 
Llantwit Road, 
Pontypridd CF37 1DL  


USW Exchange, 
Usk Way, 
NP20 2BP

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