Academics at Birmingham, Aston and UCE universities are channelling their expertise into the region's business community following the launch of three ground-breaking ICT Innovation Clubs.

It is hoped that the clubs, based on campus, will link up technology businesses, ICT Cluster projects, end users and academics to reach the common goal of encouraging technology innovation in Birmingham.

The University of Birmingham will launch an Intelligent Energy Monitoring Innovation Club on September 20. Set up to provide a free and open exchange of knowledge, the club will give local entrepreneurs the ability to source academic expertise close to home.

Padma Reddy, from the University of Birmingham, said: "Thanks to this ICT Cluster initiative, we can now be the first port of call for businesses that could benefit from our expertise in managing complex information which is held in most companies."

Peter Shearer at Aston University will head up the Medical Technologies Innovation Club. He believes that the scheme is among the most innovative and forward-thinking business initiatives in the country.

"This is an exciting initiative and by working closely with the ICT Cluster we are now on the cusp of engaging with the local business community in a way never seen before."

Finally, UCE completes the trio of Birmingham universities hosting the ICT Innovation Clubs.

Srikanth Reddy is heading up the Open Source Technologies Innovation Club and believes that: "These new clubs are part of a larger initiative to help create successful technology companies which can operate on a national and global scale.

"Initially, the ICT Innovation Clubs will focus on developing products or services that will help to grow the regional technology sector with individual universities playing to their strengths."

ICT Cluster manager, Mike Musson said: "This ICT Innovation Club will unlock the assistance available to SMEs from Birmingham universities and for the first time bring academics and business people from technology companies together in a structured way.

"The ICT Cluster believes that stronger university-business links are essential to creating a thriving technology sector in the West Midlands.

"Technology and innovation are at the heart of our strategy and this initiative complements existing projects run by the ICT Cluster," he added.

Bob Boyd, chief executive of WMita, added: "The ICT Innovation Clubs will exploit their close ties with the ICT Technology supplier network of the West Midlands IT Association (WMita).

"WMita branches are keen to participate in all the Innovation Clubs, and involve not only our SME membership, but also our extensive partner and affiliate members."

* For further information on the ICT Innovation Clubs, visit the ICT Cluster website, or contact Pat Costello, WM ICT Cluster innovation manager, on 01902 321829 or