Cross-border eco materials project launched
06 Dec 2012
A University of Brighton project which helps to engage and develop ‘green’ entrepreneurs both sides of the English Channel has just been launched.
The Building Research and Innovation Deals for the Green Economy (BRIDGE) is a new European Union INTERREG funded research project led by principal investigator, Dr Joan Farrer, from the Faculty of Arts. Teams from the faculty and the School of Pharmacy and Biomolecular Sciences (PABS) share the project funding worth 2.4 million Euros with their UK and French partners.
The project focuses on eco materials, their local and geographical growth, production, use and disposal networks with the aim of supporting emerging businesses in Southern England and Northern France
Wood and textile material streams are the focus for the investigation to find ecological processes to develop, provide, re-use and up-cycle materials and increase consumer understanding of the concept of sustainability. BRIDGE aims to build partnerships for cross-border economic development and complementary centres, and business and design incubators to work in a sustainable way through sharing best practice.
The target groups to be incorporated into and benefit from the project are agriculturalists, farmers, new designers and makers, Small to Medium Enterprises and waste stream entrepreneurs. Professional networks include the creative industries, small retailers, local manufacturers, councils, National Government Organisations, testing labs and educational institutions.
The key deliverables of the project are a series of inter-regional business-to-business events, a range of designed prototypes and narratives from the use of eco materials and an extensive database and digital map of virgin material producers, waste material collectors, materials processors and designer makers and incubators. The project also aims to deliver a database of the specific target groups who are testing materials in timber and textiles both sides of the Channel.
The UK partners took part in the formal launch of BRIDGE in Caen, France in September hosted by the lead partner Mission Régonale Pour L’innovation et L’action De Développement Économique (MIRIADE). The event was attended by business educationalists, government ministers and the press. The French partners then crossed the Channel in October to visit the UK partners WSX Enterprise, business innovation and incubation; the SusCon Centre, a sustainable construction training and research centre, and Remade South East, construction waste.
The Faculty of Arts hosted the final event, an atelier symposium delivered by staff from the School of Art, Design and Media and PABS and external institutes such as the Woodland Enterprise Centre in Flimwell, Sussex.
Watch an excerpt about the project from French regional news
As well as showcasing the research work of the university, student capabilities and the workshop facilities available to the project, BRIDGE embeds live research into the curriculum leading to conceptual and innovative design through student and staff engagement.
The BRIDGE CLUB within the university aims to promote cross-disciplinary student and academic networking. The well-attended launch took place on 6 November at Grand Parade where the audience, including two visiting professors from China, heard a short presentation from The Dean of Faculty, Professor Boddington, about The House That Kevin Built, which will also engage with the BRIDGE project.
The first cross-border event on eco design, ‘Eco design: Using and recycling bio-sourced materials’ took place on 21 November at La Halle aux Toiles in Alençon, France. This one-day event was an opportunity for 150 professionals to meet, discover innovations and skills in relation to bio-sourced materials and identify opportunities through professional meetings. More than 40 meetings were held with British partners and laboratories and over 80 business meetings with companies from the wood industry in the Lower Normandy region. For more information about the project visit: http://arts.brighton.ac.uk/research/design-research-brighton/projects/bridge