Sian Dunning

Job Title and Responsibilities

Programme Manager

Located within Enterprise and Commercial Development, I manage the growth strand derived from HEIF 2011-15. This involves high level project management, monitoring and evaluation and operational management of service design, delivery of work streams and the coordination of private sector sponsorship, public sector funding and match funding. My key objectives are to grow businesses' GVA through enriched collaborations with Staffordshire University, generating knowledge transfer opportunities, leveraging national and European grants and funding opportunities and impacting on the local and social economy.

Through management of a team of business development and commercial funding professionals, and working extensively with the knowledge transfer team, our aim is to provide an holistic provision to companies, university spin-outs and the internal academic customer base. Focussing initially on high growth and potential high growth companies, our vision is to drive competitive advantage and stimulate the level of innovation within the region.

About Me

After graduating with a BA (Hons) in English and European Literature, my first role was with Waterford Wedgwood. It is during this time that I developed an appreciation for the creative industry. Having developed these skills I then moved into the health and medical arena, working for a global blue chip company, focussing mainly on the medical device markets. I spent 12 years in the Medical Device Sector, working in wound management, orthopaedics and tissue construction; in various sales, marketing and training environments. I am still fascinated by all things medical and health related.

A seasoned project manager in the education sector for the last 5 years, I have worked on a number of high profile projects with multiple funders including ESF and LSC. Prior to joining Staffordshire University, I worked for Business Link Staffordshire providing business advice and support to SME's within the Staffordshire region.


Masters in Business Administration

BA Hons English and European Literature

SFEDI accredited Business Advisor

PRINCE 2 Qualified Practitioner


My private sector background is in sales and marketing. I have varied experience in leadership and management, business development, funding and innovation



Enterprise and Commercial Activities

Managing a £590945 HEFCE match funded project; a rapid response approach to coordinate provision and provide additionalilty to the wider multi agency response, by providing focused 'knowledge intensive' support addressing immediate impacts recession has on businesses. The project achieved major outcomes and its impact has shaped the development of ECD activities and priorities especially through the new tranche of HEIF 2011-15 funding.

Leading on a UFI project (Business Advantage) which aimed to provide leadership and management programmes within the West Midlands; this project combined with the Staffordshire University's re-launch of its Learning through Work programme. It ran for just over 12 months and Staffs was one of the most successful partners, achieving outcomes at higher levels - especially our accredited 30 credit module in Project Management using PRINCE 2 methodologies. A dedicated course, designed to provide both a HE qualification and a PRINCE 2 qualification.

PICTS and MED Tech project joint funding by the Learning and Skills Council and the European Social Fund, this £1.5 million project provided up-skilling from NVQ 2 through to graduate level skills for SME's in the West Midlands region with objective 2 core areas. It focused on the ICT and Medical Technology sectors and delivered over 300 training outcomes in less that 18 months. It was commended on its online partner submission system and dedicated project team.

Research Interests

Open Innovation, University and Business Collaboration, Building Entrepreneurial Cultures, Academic Enterprise, The Knowledge Economy, The Impact of Funding and Grants - especially with the European agenda, Facilitating opportunities for SME's.

Selected publications:

Making an Impact Locally- The Futures Programme (ECIF)


Sian Dunning
Development Manager - Enterprise & Innovation
RBES - Business Services
Research, Business & Employability Services
Staffordshire University
U108 Trent Building
Leek Road
t: +44 (0)1785 353535
m: 07766 520280
twitter: @ECD_StaffsUni