Frequently Asked Questions


What is innovation?

Innovation is the practical implementation of ideas that result in the introduction of new goods or services or improvement in offering goods or services.

What is open innovation?

Open innovation is a business management model for innovation that promotes collaboration with people and organisations outside the business.  

What is disruptive innovation?

Disruptive innovation refers to a process by which a new product or service creates a new market, eventually displacing established competitors.

About RISE

What is RISE about?

RISE provides a platform to access innovation, knowledge and expertise from the Universities of Brighton and Sussex with help and guidance from dedicated RISE Innovation Advisors.  We also provide a programme of workshops, training, and host the RISE community enabling interaction and connection for businesses within the RISE member portal.

For more information about the project, take a look at our 'About' section.

How many workshops can a business attend?

Businesses who sign up as a RISE member can access a variety of workshops for free as part of the 12 hours of support offered. Additional workshop time may be possible if there is funding and availability.

Why Join RISE

Why join RISE?

West Sussex County Council and European Regional Development Funding is supporting local businesses to access University research and development support for free. RISE offers innovation advisory support, workshops, training, access to university specialists and membership of a digital portal with innovation tools, resources and networking facilities. This is a new offer to support businesses to grow, increase productivity and competitiveness.

There is no fee to join, nothing to pay back, no tie-in, no commitment or catch – businesses can join and benefit from 12 hours innovation support at no cost.

How do I know if I need innovation support?

Our expert Innovation Advisors offer an initial free innovation audit for your business to assess how you are currently managing innovation, exploring idea generation, strategy, prioritisation, people, culture, organisation and opportunities, challenges and capability.   

The audit will discover the strengths and weaknesses in the business concerning your processes and practices and identify best ways to improve your research and development knowledge, skills and develop your innovation potential. 

From there, we scope the support needed, and how RISE can help. For example, we may recommend attending some of our workshops or a pathway to start working directly with our university experts. We will also draw your attention to other relevant innovation programmes, funding or matching opportunities that are on offer through the universities.  

What is an innovation audit?

Our Innovation Advisors will assess how you are currently managing innovation in your business, what innovation opportunities there are, any challenges and any gaps in your business capability, particularly around knowledge and skills.   

Our innovation audit will uncover the strengths and weaknesses in your business. The Innovation Advisor will work with you on your processes and practices and help to identify the most effective pathways to develop the idea. The audit will also help to discover any potential barriers in the project’s development and identify what research and development knowledge, skill or expertise are needed to progress. 

The outcome of the audit will be a list of priority challenges and action points to consider and how RISE can assist. 

Which University will I work with?

Members of RISE can benefit from working with both universities. Workshops and training will be delivered by academic expertise from both institutions. 

Can I leave the RISE member portal?

Yes. Businesses can unsubscribe from the portal at any time. However, if businesses have taken up any of the services of the project such as workshops, access to expertise, accessing webinars or any of the innovation tools, then as the project is fully subsidised (see our about section for information on our funders) - we are required to by our funders to report on the impact and results of the support provided. We will therefore request monitoring information as detailed in our Terms and Conditions and Privacy Policy

Access to Expertise

What is Access to Expertise?

If as a result of your discussion and audit with your Innovation Advisor a need is identified to access support directly from our academic community of expertise, then RISE will be able to fund the initial ‘kick-starting’ of a research and development (R&D) project with the University of Brighton or University of Sussex.

The size and scope of this project will be drawn up and value costed and the project will manage the procurement and engagement of an expert team. If the project is larger than the initial funding through RISE, the Innovation Advisors will explore additional funding routes to support the development of your R&D project. This could be a feasibility study, a piece of research, testing, validating, proof of concept, prototype development or possibly market research or capacity building through knowledge exchange (i.e leadership, strategy). 

Please note that funding for Access to Expertise projects is limited up to £12,000 of academic staff time and we are therefore only able to offer approximately 20 projects.

Will I have to pay for the Access to Expertise project support?

No. The initial Access to Expertise project will be fully scoped and funded. The project funding covers the costs of academic expertise – to trial working with a university to understand how it can support business research and development (R&D).

Any further support following an initial trial will be costed and funding options researched to support further R&D needs, either in a collaborative or a consultancy capacity. Any additional equipment, materials or costs identified outside of the scoped project of academic time the business will need to cover any of these additional costs. This will be discussed and agreed, in a fully transparent way, at the start of any project.

If I disclose my innovation idea to the university how will it be protected?

A Non-Disclosure Agreement (NDA) can be drawn up between the university and the business prior to the exchange or disclosure of your idea to the university.

Could my innovation idea be accessed by other members of RISE?

No. Commercially sensitive information will not be available on the portal and your ‘development’ area on the portal is secure and only visible to you via your unique log-in. Innovation Advisors will not share any information discussed in your meetings on the portal or with anyone else without a prior written approval from the business.   

We also advise members that this portal is a RISE member community space and to be mindful of not sharing commercially sensitive information in your profiles or on the forum posting area.  

The RISE project encourages ‘open innovation’ and collaboration with other members, organisations and the universities to fill any innovation capability gaps. This is not a prerequisite of RISE membership, and you may wish to seek Intellectual Property advice prior to any open innovation partnership development.  

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