Aston’s business support boosts the low carbon economy

  • A study, conducted by Focus Consultants, has forecast that the work of Aston University’s European Bioenergy Research Institute (EBRI) will create more than 150 jobs over the next two years
  • EBRI’s work will also generate nearly £20 million gross added value for the West Midlands economy

An independent assessment and evaluation of the work of the European Bioenergy Research Institute (EBRI) at Aston University in Birmingham – undertaken by Focus Consultants - has forecast the creation of more than 150 jobs and the generation of nearly £20 million gross added value (GVA) for the West Midlands economy over the next two years.

Focus Consultants was appointed to work with the team at EBRI to understand the impact of the team’s Business Investment in Research Project on both local SMEs and also the wider West Midlands economy.

Funded by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF), the project helps small and medium-sized enterprises in the West Midlands to develop new products and services from unwanted material, such as manufacturing, agricultural and food waste. 

The study provides an insight into project performance, effectiveness and value for money, as well as helping to shape future business support programmes being developed by the team.

The Business Investment in Research Project, which ran from 2016 and 2019, was designed to support the development of a regional bioenergy supply chain and the promotion of innovative, new bioenergy technologies by providing practical solutions for businesses to explore the growing ‘energy from waste’ and energy systems markets, and the opportunities they offer. Companies benefited from specialist support, cutting-edge technologies and bespoke events.

Tim Miller, Engagement Director of EBRI, said: “It’s great to see the positive impact that our work has had on business and excellent that we have been able to contribute to the growth of commercial opportunities linked to low carbon energy and products.”

Partner at Focus Consultants, Heather Frecklington, who heads the Economic Development Team, said: “The evaluation compiled by Focus Consultants reveals the wide-reaching success the project has had on the economy, the low carbon agenda and the business community in the West Midlands. 

“It forecasts significant job creation and an important boost to the regional economy.”

The project received £1.37m of funding from the England European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) as part of the European Structural and Investment Funds Growth Programme 2014-2020. 

Supported by the work undertaken by Focus Consultants, EBRI has now announced a new three-year ERDF project which will build on the findings of the review. This new initiative will support access to low carbon research and innovation in West Midlands businesses beginning July 2019.


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About Aston University

Founded in 1895 and a University since 1966, Aston is a long established university led by its three main beneficiaries – students, business and the professions, and our region and society. Aston University is located in Birmingham and at the heart of a vibrant city and the campus houses all the university’s academic, social and accommodation facilities for our students.  Professor Alec Cameron is the Vice-Chancellor & Chief Executive.

About EBRI

EBRI’s capabilities cover the breadth of advanced thermal technologies and biological conversion processes. These include gasification, pyrolysis, catalysis, and the thermochemical refining of biomass, wastes and plastics to high quality products and fuels. Allied to this is EBRI’s expertise in energy systems, supply chains, techno-economic analysis, transport logistics, analytics, engines and power systems. The institute welcomes collaboration opportunities with academia, government bodies and industry both locally and internationally and actively bids for new research and industrial engagement projects to bring further benefits to the Midlands region. For more information go to or email

More information can be found here -

About Focus Consultants

More information here -

Link to Focus Consultants’ report summary:

About the European Regional Development Fund (EDRF)

The project has received £1.37m of funding from the England European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) as part of the European Structural and Investment Funds Growth Programme 2014-2020.  The Department for Communities and Local Government is the Managing Authority for ERDF. Established by the European Union, ERDF funds help local areas stimulate their economic development by investing in projects which will support innovation, businesses, create jobs and local community regenerations.  For more information visit

For media inquiries in relation to this release, call Simon Glover, Press & PR Officer, on 0121 204 5159 or email Alternatively, email

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