THE University of York is backing a £200,000 project to ensure the local economy, health and environment benefits from the Tour de France long after the last cyclist leaves.

It has partnered up with four other universities - Sheffield Hallam, Huddersfield, Leeds Trinity and Leeds Met - under the banner Yorkshire Universities, to ensure the event benefits some of the region’s youngest and brightest academic minds.

The universities, working with Cycle Yorkshire, have all agreed to waive their fees for a research studentship – worth up to £45,000 - linked to the Tour.

Ian Rowe, from Yorkshire Universities, said: “Each year, Yorkshire’s universities work with thousands of companies on research and development.

“This higher education Tour de France initiative will lead to many more opportunities for the economy, health and environment.”

But he said businesses could also get access to pioneering research by helping the students with finances.

“By supporting a student financially during the time they are studying, businesses will be able to benefit from world class research and be part of the Tour de France legacy," he said.

“We are very open minded about where this research may go. Proposals so far have included; health economics, the benefits of getting more people exercising; community engagement, for instance the dramatic growth in cycle clubs; and research to alleviate medical conditions like asthma that prevent people from doing sport.”

Longer lasting benefits include ways of tackling conditions such as asthma that prevent people taking up cycling in the first place.

Engineering students could also work with businesses on a range of Tour de France-related ideas, such as using low-cost technologies to enhance bike-fitting.

Graham Titchener, of Cycle Yorkshire, said: “Cycle Yorkshire exists to seize the momentum created by the world’s biggest annual sporting event coming to our region.

“Working with Yorkshire Universities across a range of subjects will create opportunities for this and future generations.”

Businesses wanting to find out more should contact Yorkshire Universities on 0113 343 1582.