A collection of leading universities in the West Midlands have announced the formation of a collaborative enterprise to drive forward ICT innovation.The West Midlands ICT Cluster features three quarters of the region's universities and is aimed at fostering links between academia and small firms.The project's founders believe that by encouraging businesspeople and university researchers to work together each group can benefit the other, leading to both increased economic and academic progress.The ICT cluster is just one of ten projects being started to help drive forward small companies in the West Midlands, in turn boosting the region's profile and its attractiveness for business investment."The ICT Innovation Clubs will unlock the assistance available to SMEs from their local universities and for the first time bring academics and businesspeople from technology companies together on a region-wide scale," said cluster manager Mike Musson."Collaboration is already a natural and integral part of higher education and by extending our knowledge and resources to the region's budding enterprises we are in a win-win situation," added Pat Costello from the project. © Adfero Ltd