£15m fund will back city region innovation

Businesses across Liverpool city region will get access to a £15m fund to drive innovation in manufacturing. Tony McDonough reports

The Innovate UK Launchpad pilot will offer grants of between £15,000 and £1m

A new fund worth up to £15m will offer grants of between £15,000 and £1m to back new innovation by Liverpool city region manufacturers.

Liverpool city region is one of only two UK locations to benefit from the Innovate UK Launchpad pilot program. Initially £6m will be made available and this will rise to £15m as the pilot progresses.

The initial funding competition launches today and details will be explained in a webinar at 11.30am on Monday, September 26. It is designed to build on innovation clusters that have clear growth potential.

Successful applicants will receive wrap-around support from local and national organizations. Innovate UK, part of UK Research and Innovation, will encourage applicants to show a commitment to equality, diversity and inclusion within their proposal.

This initiative follows the publication of the Liverpool city region’s first Innovation Prospectus earlier this year. It highlighted strengths in infection prevention and control, advanced manufacturing, AI, as well as net zero and maritime technologies.

More than £12bn of investment opportunities were showcased in the city region including a £3bn R&D projects pipeline, at least £4bn in the Mersey Tidal Power programme, and £5bn in HyNet.

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Metro Mayor Steve Rotheram said: “Liverpool city region has a proven track record in delivering world-leading innovation. It’s no surprise that we’ve been recognized by Innovate UK as one of the country’s hotbeds for investment.

“With some of the brightest minds in advanced manufacturing, infection control, and AI, right on our doorstep – it’s safe to say they’ve come to the right place.

“Locally, we’re putting our money where our mouth is too, with plans to invest 5% of GVA into R&D – nearly double the national targets. But it’s essential the Government matches our ambition with further funding.”

Steve Rotherham
Metro Mayor Steve Rotherham at the Manufacturing Technology Centre

Liverpool City Region Combined Authority, economic development agency Growth Platform, STFC Daresbury Laboratory, and other local stakeholders have been directly involved in developing the Launchpad program.

Grants starting at £15,000 are available for business-led innovation projects, alongside wrap-around support for growth. Grant funding of up to £1m is available for projects that provide exceptional impact to the cluster of SMEs.

Innovate UK chief executive Indro Mukerjee added: “Innovate UK has been building strong regional partnerships across the UK to support local innovation and commercialization.

“Today’s launch of the Liverpool City Region and Tees Valley Launchpads is an important step and another example of active collaboration with regional partners to deliver growth and productivity through innovation.”

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