The EIRA network is made up of seven insitutions across eastern England, and is led by the University of Essex.

University of Essex


The University of Essex is committed to two things: excellence in teaching and excellence in research. We’re in the top 20 for research excellence (REF 2014) and 77% of the University’s research is rated as either 4-star (world-leading) or 3-star (internationally excellent) in terms of originality, significance, and rigour. Essex is organised in three Faculties: Science and Health, Social Sciences and Arts and Humanities.

The University has a strong and expanding commitment to sharing its expertise with business, including Executive Education courses from Essex Business School, innovation funding vouchers, internships and seedcorn funding for start-ups. Essex is ranked top 10 in the UK for the number of Knowledge Transfer Partnerships, these are collaborative research projects between our academics, a skilled graduate and a business. We have a range of facilities on the Knowledge Gateway, our research and technology park, including office space in the Parkside Office Village and the new Innovation Centre (due to open in March 2019) which provides start-up support and a dedicated space for digital creative enterprise.


University of East Anglia


UEA is ranked in the top 15 of UK universities (The Times/ Sunday Times 2018 and Complete University Guide 2018) and the top 200 of the world’s universities (Times Higher Education World University Rankings 2017). Our research makes an economic and social impact way beyond our campus, and in the most recent Research Excellence Framework, over 80% of our research was assessed as being world-leading or internationally excellent.

Our academic staff produce world-leading research, and their guidance helps to prepare our students to make their mark globally. We help businesses find solutions to their challenges via our world-class research and leading academics, our cutting edge, state of the art facilities and technologies, and our enterprising and enthusiastic students and graduates. UEA has a track record of successful collaboration with large companies as well as start-ups and SMEs, where our academic insight and research discoveries already benefit organisations and businesses throughout the region and further afield, so how will we work together?


University of Kent


The University of Kent, the UK’s European university, is a forward-thinking research institution committed to the transformative power of education and research. Here we value and promote innovation, creativity and enterprise in all areas of our activity. Awarded Gold in the most recent Teaching Excellence Framework and ranked in the top 20 for research intensity, our research, skills, knowledge and facilities promote growth and innovation in the business community within Kent, as well as at a national and international level.

Research excellence at the University comprises internationally renowned subject specialists, and is designed to produce creative and practical solutions. Business projects benefit from this wealth of knowledge through our tailored consultancy services, along with training, funding and partnering opportunities which can all be accessed through our dedicated business and innovation gateway.


Harlow College


Harlow College is a Further Education (FE) college that offers a mix of study, enrichment and work placements. The strong focus on employability translates to courses to equip students with the skills they need to prepare for the workplace, an Apprenticeship or for further study at college or university. The College is an Apple Distinguished School which recognises it for continuous innovation in learning, teaching and the school environment and in January Tim Cook (Apple CEO) visited the College to mark the news that it is one of 70 colleges and universities across Europe adopting Everyone Can Code, an Apple-developed programme to help students learn to code and build apps with Swift.

Harlow College is also houses HAMEC, Harlow Advanced Manufacturing and Engineering Centre, which will inspire and train the next generation of engineers for key areas including advanced manufacturing, operational maintenance, aerospace and civil engineering.


Norwich University of the Arts

Norwich University of the Arts is an academic community committed to specialist study in arts, design, architecture, media and creative science. It has been voted one of the top five universities for creative scene in the Which? University Student Survey 2016, and its research in art, design, history, practice and theory was ranked as world-leading in the 2014 Research Excellence Framework. The University has strong industry links with courses recognised by industry bodies such as Creative Skillset and Architects Registration Board.

The Ideas Factory is the focal point of the University’s outreach into the creative and artistic sector, offering services for startups and established businesses alike, as well as providing unique and valuable opportunities for students to develop and learn. Services include design and brand consultancy, an incubation centre as well as commissions.


University of Suffolk

The University of Suffolk is a transformational University, absorbing the best of UK university traditions and aligning them with a twenty first century audience and a modern world of employment and entrepreneurship. We are a distinctive, thriving academic community, which makes a clear and immediate impact. Our purpose is to change lives – of individuals and communities – for the better. We are committed to working and engaging with businesses to help them grow through enterprise, innovation and knowledge exchange. We can provide access to graduates, apprentices, state of the art facilities, the Ipswich Waterfront Innovation Centre (IWIC), Knowledge Transfer Partnerships (KTPs), Continuing Professional Development (CPD), networking events and enterprise skills development to name but some of the offer to help accelerate business growth and development.


Writtle University College

Established in 1893, Writtle University College is one of the oldest providers of specialist education in the UK and has producing leaders in the land-based industries and organisations for more than 120 years. Today it offers a range of land-based, environmental, animal, design and sport courses at its picturesque 220 hectare campus, providing a unique mix of theory and practical expertise.