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InfoLab21 Strategic Technology Exploitation Programme (ISTEP)

Support for Business

ISTEP is a project designed to identify and support interactions between the North West’s Digital and Creative industries and InfoLab21’s Departments of Computing and Communication Systems, directly helping businesses to collaborate with the 270+ strong research community at InfoLab21.

ISTEP is delivered under the “Innovation, Advice and Guidance” product, part of the Government’s Solutions for Business portfolio, a highly targeted, publically funded suit of products and services offering solutions to real business needs.



Research at InfoLab21 covers 5 broad areas of Information and Communications Technologies (ICT) 

  • Comms and Networking
  • Computer Systems
  • Software Engineering
  • Intelligent Systems
  • Human Computer Interaction (HCI)

ISTEP will showcase the latest research being carried out at InfoLab21 and identify opportunities for NW companies to meet, engage and collaborate with the buildings specialist academics.

By providing structured and supported collaboration, ISTEP will support business growth in line with ERDF requirements and help companies overcome barriers to innovation identified by Government.  The project will also act as a significant demonstrator of the benefits collaborating with Universities can offer to small businesses.

Ways to collaborate

ISTEP provides a range of ways for NW SMEs to collaborate, from focused consultancy and short term projects to workshops and a series of regional events.

Key forms of collaboration available through the ISTEP project include

ISTEP is able to help a company innovate when they:

  • Do not have the specialist resources to progress development
  • Need to raise their technical confidence in new areas of technology
  • Require specialist expertise to progress an grant or bid application


ISTEP supports Northwest Micro and SMEs in the Digital and Creative Industries that recognise the need for innovation and have identified growth opportunities for their business through the development of high tech and high value products and services.  In particular technology development, which could increase productivity, create new business models, increase resource efficiency or support business innovation and exploit new markets.

For more information on which companies we can support please view our page on eligibility.

What we do

  • Provide impartial advice and support to help each business identify opportunities to collaborate with InfoLab21’s specialist academic community.
  • Provide support through structured consultancy, drawing from the expertise based in the two academic departments in InfoLab21 and experienced Technology and Knowledge Transfer specialists.
  • Spend time with each company manager to ensure we fully understand the needs of the business and their particular requirements for business growth.
  • Match resources against the business requirements and agree a full plan of action
  • Promote the broader benefits of engaging with the Higher Education Research Base

More Information

To see if your company is eligible for this free support please contact Business Relationship Officer,

Samantha Winder
tel: +44 (0)01524 510463


About 'Solutions for Business'

Support for Business

Solutions for Business is a suite of publicly funded business support products and services designed to help businesses start, grow and succeed. The right advice, loan or grant – at the right time - can make the world of difference to your business. Solutions for Business products are simple to understand and access, good value for money and directed to where they will have most impact to help businesses grow. They are designed to equip you with the necessary knowledge and skills you need to tackle issues your business might be facing.

Eligible businesses can gain support in areas such as starting up, understanding finance, training and skill development, resource efficiency, exploiting ideas, accessing international opportunities and growing your business.

Accessing Other Business Support

InfoLab21 offers a wide range of ICT services and is an official Business Link Hub.
For general business support, Business Link is the government's online resource for businesses.