A business innovation scheme run by Aston University has taken to the road to look for more SMEs to take part in its next round of funding.
The Innovation Delivers Expansion (INDEX) project offers companies £3,000 worth of academic input to improve their businesses.
It has already delivered £120,000 of innovation to more than 40 SME businesses across the region and has allocated £300,000 to a further 100 companies, including £240,000 to 80 more in April.
And it went on tour on a red bus this month around the science parks in the region talking to businesses about how to apply for a voucher and giving examples of how the input of high level academic thinking can help innovation and business expansion.
Dr Judy Scully, of Aston Business School, said: "The project has already developed some fantastic links between businesses and the universities, and that is what INDEX is all about.
"Making companies realise that the universities are able to provide a wealth of expertise for business. There has already been innovation across a very diverse range of projects.
"This trip on the red bus aims to make as many businesses as possible aware that they are able to apply for an INDEX voucher.
"The procedure begins with a simple online application, with nothing more arduous than contact details and a brief outline of the innovation your company would like to explore and the type of academic expertise required."
INDEX provides academic expertise from all of the West Midlands’ 13 higher education establishments, which can include many specialist areas of science, engineering or business.
The project is funded principally by Advantage West Midlands, European Research Development Fund, and the Engineering and Physical Science Research Council.
The bus was provided by the Economic and Social Research Council, as part of its Festival of Social Science 2008