Staffordshire laboratory wins bid for £10k grant towards advanced science equipment

February 7, 2018

A Staffordshire laboratory has successfully bid for a £10k grant, allowing it to buy equipment and create a new job.

Dermal Technology Laboratory Ltd, based at Keele University Science and Business Park, applied for the cash through Stoke-on-Trent and Staffordshire Growth Hub’s small business grant scheme.

The laboratory specialises in testing chemicals on skin, but the work is done in test tubes, instead of on animals or people. The vital work forms part of the safety testing of new and existing chemicals, agrochemicals, personal care, and pharmaceutical products.

Thanks to the grant, the company can now buy equipment for high-performance liquid chromatography (HPLC), a technique used to study each component in a mixture. The grant, which comes from the European Regional Development Fund, will help pay for the £24k equipment.

David Fox, MD of Dermal Technology Laboratory LtdManaging director David Fox said: “The equipment allows us to test chemicals in the product, for example, a hair dye, and if the chemical penetrates the skin. We can look at how much of that chemical is in the sample we have prepared, compared to the product, and see if we have made a variant which is suitable for use.”

Mr Fox, 48, from Madeley Heath, said he wants to expand the business and hire four new staff this year, and the grant will allow him to create one of those jobs in the role of study director.

He said: “We work closely with Keele University and the Local Enterprise Partnership, and I was subscribed to the Growth Hub’s email newsletter, which is where I read about the grant scheme. The application was straight forward. We were really hoping to get this equipment and now that we have this money it will allow things to progress quickly.”

Nicola Kent, operational manager of the Growth Hub, said: “We are pleased to help Dermal Technology to buy new equipment, particularly in such an important field as chemical testing.

“The Stoke on Trent and Staffordshire Growth Hub would like to support more companies in the science and technology sector and would encourage anyone looking to grow their business to contact the Business Helpline for more information on 0300 111 8002.”

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The Growth Hub was established by the Stoke-on-Trent and Staffordshire Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) to play a major role in the drive for strong, sustainable business growth across the LEP area.

Local Enterprise Partnerships were established by the Government to bring all the stakeholders in local areas – from the private and public sectors – around the table to drive local economic growth. In total there are 38 LEPs across England.

The Stoke-on-Trent and Staffordshire LEP is chaired by David Frost CBE, former director general of the British Chambers of Commerce and includes senior representatives of local businesses, universities and FE colleges, and local authorities including Staffordshire County Council and Stoke-on-Trent City Council.

The Growth Hub acts as the focal point for businesses that wish to grow, providing co-ordinated and cohesive growth programmes, business networks, growth groups and links to specialist information, advice and services.

The funding for the Growth Hub was secured from the Government’s Regional Growth Fund (RGF)  through Lancaster University, who led the creation of 15 new growth hubs across the UK.

As part of the Growth Hub service, officers from the Staffordshire Chambers of Commerce are available to provide face-to-face advice to local businesses and to signpost them to specialised support.

European Regional Development Fund (ERDF)

The project (either has received or is receiving up to) £1.6m of funding from the England European Regional Development Fund as part of the European Structural and Investment Funds Growth Programme 2014-2020.  The Department for Communities and Local Government (and in London the intermediate body Greater London Authority) is the Managing Authority for European Regional Development Fund. Established by the European Union, the European Regional Development Fund helps local areas stimulate their economic development by investing in projects which will support innovation, businesses, create jobs and local community regenerations.  For more information visit

Call the Business Helpline to find out how we can help your business. Call 0300 111 8002.