Launchpads to deliver local growth through innovation support

Posted on: 23/09/2022

Launchpads to deliver local growth through innovation support

A pioneering new initiative will build on local innovation strengths through support to small and medium enterprises (SMEs) to deliver jobs, growth, and higher productivity.

The first Launchpad pilot areas have been announced in Tees Valley and Liverpool City Region, with the first grant funding calls open for local businesses to be followed by calls to support cluster leadership.

The Tees Valley Launchpad aims to support making Tees Valley a regional hub for Net Zero innovation for Yorkshire, Humber and the North East, focusing on hydrogen, carbon capture, utilisation and storage, and offshore wind energy.

The Liverpool City Region Launchpad will focus on the advanced manufacturing sector, with digital technologies and net zero outcomes, building on the local economic strengths, R&D assets, and strategic priorities.

And following the opening of the two pilot Launchpads, bids from across the UK will shortly be welcomed by Innovate UK, part of UK Research and Innovation, to identify partners and determine the locations of the next wave of Launchpad investments. A call for Expressions of Interest will be run this Autumn.

Innovate UK CEO Indro Mukerjee said: 

Innovate UK has been building strong regional partnerships across the UK to support local innovation and commercialisation.  

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.

Each of the two Launchpad pilots has been developed in co-creation with local leadership including the metro Mayor’s teams and is tailored to the local innovation ecosystem. Grants starting at £15,000 are available for business-led innovation projects, alongside wrap-around support for growth.

The Tees Valley Launchpad will build on existing economic assets and investments in Tees Valley, including Teesside Freeport, which is creating a hub for Innovation and clean industrial growth.  Activity will support levelling-up the Tees Valley economy, growing key sectors and increasing productivity.  Technological and supply chain benefits within an established ecosystem will also bring wider geographical value and contribution to the national economy.

The Liverpool City Region Launchpad will focus on the advanced manufacturing sector, with digital technologies and net zero outcomes, building on the local economic strengths, R&D assets and strategic priorities.  The innovation cluster is centred on the Liverpool City Region, includes the Science and Technologies Facilities Council’s campus at Daresbury, and extends beyond the city region into areas including Warrington, Cheshire West and Chester, Deeside, and South Lancashire.

This announcement comes on the same day that the latest winners of the Innovate UK Fast Start competition are announced.  Over 600 new companies based in regions across the UK have been awarded Innovate UK funding of up to £50,000 grants with tailored business support, through Innovate UK EDGE.  A total of £30 million of grants have been awarded to back innovations in one or more of the seven technology areas outlined in the Government’s Innovation Strategy.

You can find out more about the Launchpad pilot areas and the Innovate UK Fast Start Competition winners on the Innovate UK website.

About the Launchpads

The Launchpad programme is a new Innovate UK innovation cluster development programme that has an initial £15m investment over three years to cover the first launchpad pilot period and to help strengthen place-based innovation clusters in parts of the UK.

The key objective is to ensure more places in the UK host world-leading and globally connected innovation clusters, creating more jobs, growth, and productivity in those areas.

Following the announcement of the first two pilot Launchpads, the initial competitions are now open for bids from businesses in Tees Valley and Liverpool City Region to apply for grants.

A further call will follow in the Autumn, through which local leaders will be able to help Innovate UK to determine the locations of the next wave of Launchpads.

Find out more about the funding

Launchpad – Net zero – MFA (Minimal Financial Assistance) – Tees Valley

Launchpad – Net zero – CR&D – Tees Valley

Launchpad – Advanced Manufacturing – MFA (Minimal Financial Assistance) – Liverpool City Region

Launchpad – Advanced Manufacturing – CR&D – Liverpool City Region

The two MFA competitions offer grants of £25k-£100k, which can cover up to 100% of project costs; the CR&D competitions offer grants of £150k-£1m, which can cover up to 70% of project costs depending on business size. All four competitions close at 11am on 4th November 2022.

Briefing events will be held online, one event covering each location: follow the links below to register.

Liverpool briefing event – noon, 26th September

Tees Valley briefing event – noon, 27th September

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Current funding opportunities

Launchpad - Advanced Manufacturing - CR&D - Liverpool City Region

Opens: 23/09/2022 Closes: 04/11/2022

UK registered organisations can apply for a share of up to £6 million for projects that grow activities in the advanced manufacturing innovation cluster centred on Liverpool City Region.

More Information

Launchpad - Advanced Manufacturing - MFA (Minimal Financial Assistance) - Liverpool City Region

Opens: 23/09/2022 Closes: 04/11/2022

UK registered businesses can apply for a share of up to £6 million for projects that grow activities in the advanced manufacturing innovation cluster centred on Liverpool City Region. This funding is Minimal Financial Assistance (MFA) from Innovate UK.

More Information

Launchpad - Net zero - CR&D - Tees Valley

Opens: 23/09/2022 Closes: 04/11/2022

UK registered businesses can apply for a share of up to £6 million for projects that grow activities in the net zero innovation cluster centred on Tees Valley.

More Information

Launchpad - Net zero - MFA (Minimal Financial Assistance) - Tees Valley

Opens: 23/09/2022 Closes: 04/11/2022

UK registered businesses can apply for a share of up to £6 million for projects that grow activities in the net zero innovation cluster centred on Tees Valley. This funding is Minimal Financial Assistance (MFA) from Innovate UK.

More Information