Celebrating EIRA Innovation Month: Digital Creative Week

The 3-year Enabling Innovation: Research to Application (EIRA) project is coming to an end, but not without a bang! For the whole of June we’re celebrating EIRA Innovation Month and this week is has been Digital Creative Week. To celebrate, we’re taking a look back at some of the digital creative projects Kent has been involved in .

EIRA stands for Enabling Innovation: Research to Application and supports innovation in the East of England by providing businesses with access to academic expertise, including consultancy and collaborative research, specialist facilities and funding. Over its three year lifespan, it has supported a wide range of innovative digital creative projects, many of which University of Kent staff, students and graduates have been involved in.


Chris Wright at his computer desk

Tackling Diversity Issues in Recruitment

The issues of a workforce that lacks diversity include reduced innovation potential by up to 40%, and reduced business interest from customers by up to £1.8bn across the UK economy annually. Talman HR is a talent management start-up based in Suffolk and founded by former Kent student Chris Wright, which aims to tackle this problem by increasing diversity in recruitment. They proposed to use virtual reality to enable organisations to experience a lack of inclusion and diversity by an employer and the possible solution, and were awarded an EIRA microfinance grant of £3,000 to do just that. Read the full case study on our website.

Person with vagus nerve stimulation cap on in front of a computer

Developing a New Way to Manage Stress and Anxiety with Mindspire

Anxiety and depression are growing concerns, with 25.8% of the UK population self-reporting depression according to the 2018 Global Wellness report, with an estimated annual cost to the economy of £105 billion. Established in 2019, MindSpire put forward a revolutionary proposal to produce a non-invasive, non-pharmaceutical means of alleviating stress and anxiety. How? By stimulating the vagus nerve with an easy to wear earpiece. Their successful proof of concept project was funded by EIRA and carried out by Kent’s Data Science Research Group. Read the full case study on the EIRA website.


Virtual reality bed on fire

Assessing Inappropriate Fire Interest Using Virtual Reality Technology

Professor Theresa Gannon from Kent’s School of Psychology wanted to examine whether a virtual reality environment is a valuable tool for assessing a person’s predisposition to firesetting behaviour. With EIRA’s support, she embarked on a proof of concept project which used a virtual reality environment constructed within the School of Psychology and delivered using a HTC VIVE VR Headset. The project was successful and the project is now being trialled with 10 NHS patients in collaboration with Maidstone Hospital staff. Read the full case study on the EIRA website.


in Canterbury logo

App Creation for Small and Local Retail Businesses in Canterbury with GenSpec

Khawar Naveed Bhatti is a graduate from the University of Kent’s Business School who, along with his team, came up with an innovative idea to set up an online platform, GenSpec Ltd., to support Canterbury’s retail industry, especially for small and local businesses. With support from an EIRA microfinance grant, he was able to perform market research into the value of such an idea, especially relevant for the retail sector post COVID-19. Using insights from this project, the next steps are to apply for further funding to aid the development of the InCanterbury app. Read the full case study on the EIRA website.


Tyler Hamblin intern standing at a podium

EIRA Innovation Internship with Wonderful Creative

Wonderful, a creative marketing agency based in Kent, were looking for an extra pair of hands to help with their business project. Kent student Tyler Hamblin was offered an EIRA Innovation Internship, set up to boost business productivity, with Wonderful. It was an opportunity for Tyler to work for an innovative company, whilst focusing on video production. During his internship, he undertook a range of projects, including 2D animation, live action filming and kinetic typography, and later became a permanent employee of the company. Read the full case study on the EIRA website.


Punting on the River Stour in Canterbury

Digital Creative Internship with Visit Kent

Visit Kent, along with most of the tourism sector, faced huge challenges over Summer 2020 due to the global pandemic. Through the University of Kent’s Employability Points scheme and EIRA funding, they hosted an EIRA Innovation Internship with final year student, Natasha Reeves. Although Natasha was hired before Covid-19 swept through the UK, her role became very important to the organisation, giving extra resource to the team who needed to regularly track and update the website with changing guidelines. Read the full case study on the EIRA website.

Whilst the EIRA project has now come to an end, why not speak to our professional innovation gateway team to discuss other opportunities for project funding and support?



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