£100m R&D levelling up funding awarded to accelerate innovation

Shot of a young scientist using a virtual reality headset while working in a lab

The Innovation Accelerators programme is investing £100 million in 26 projects to accelerate the growth of three high-potential innovation clusters.

Twenty-six projects selected

The £100 million Innovation Accelerators programme is accelerating the growth of three high-potential innovation clusters in Glasgow, Greater Manchester and the West Midlands.

Twenty-six research and development (R&D) projects will attract private R&D investment, create new jobs, boost regional economic growth, and develop the technologies of tomorrow.

New R&D model

Innovation Accelerators are a pilot approach to supporting three city regions to become major, globally competitive centres for research and innovation.

The programme is pioneering a new model of R&D decision-making that empowers local leaders to harness innovation in support of regional economic growth.

Partnerships of local government, business and R&D institutions in the three city regions have led on selecting the 26 projects, working closely with Innovate UK.

Three city regions

Three city regions in Glasgow, Greater Manchester and West Midlands were chosen to pilot this programme in recognition of their R&D strengths, robust private and public innovation governance and strong local leadership.

The £100 million funding is being shared across those three regions and has been allocated using a pioneering ‘locally-led’ approach.

The projects will address local, national and global societal and environmental challenges. They range from developing health innovations to quantum technologies, and green technologies to secure a safe and resilient transition to net zero.

Boosting local economies

Glasgow will boost extensive venture capital investment in key growth innovation sectors including advanced manufacturing, space, and precision medicine.

Greater Manchester will lead the way in sustainable advanced materials and manufacturing, digital and tech, health innovation, and technology to become carbon neutral by 2038.

West Midlands will accelerate R&D and innovation strengths to enable greener technologies and improved personalised and digital healthcare for all regions, while boosting supply chains and creating new local jobs.

Local business leaders are central to the Innovation Accelerator partnerships. Industry are partners in many projects, and each city region’s portfolio will leverage private investment.

Innovate UK leadership

Innovate UK has led UK Research and Innovation’s (UKRI) support in delivery of the programme, working in collaboration with the three local partnerships.

The whole of government is backing the Innovation Accelerators, with access to dedicated support from:

  • the Department of Science, Innovation and Technology
  • UKRI
  • Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities

This will help the partnerships to attract private R&D investment and overcome barriers to cluster growth.

As a pilot programme, the Innovation Accelerators will also deepen our understanding of the right conditions and interventions to grow successful innovation clusters throughout the country and to cement the UK’s position as a science and technology superpower.

Creating opportunities

Minister of State for Science Research and Innovation at the Department for Science, Innovation and Technology George Freeman said:

Record investment in our UK science, technology and innovation sectors are creating new career opportunities in the campuses, clusters and companies of tomorrow.

R&D is key to levelling-up by growing the R&D Innovation Economy outside the Greater South East.

That’s why UKRI is putting clusters at the heart of its strategy and why our £100m Innovation Accelerator Program provides £33m each to 3 emerging clusters to attract industrial co-investment and become major, globally competitive centres.

Boosting local innovation

Indro Mukerjee, Chief Executive at Innovate UK said:

As the UK’s innovation agency, Innovate UK is dedicated to building strong regional partnerships to boost local innovation and commercialisation.

Our Innovation Accelerators will attract further private sector investment in city regions, driving economic and societal growth and benefiting local communities.

Together, we can unleash the full innovation potential of every community in the UK.

Injecting momentum

Andy Street, Mayor of the West Midlands, said:

I’m delighted to see the £33m Innovation Accelerator fund land in our region which will unlock a further £150m of private sector co-investment.

The funding will inject momentum into the delivery of the West Midlands Plan for Growth which sets out how we will unlock hundreds of thousands of new jobs and be home to major global companies in this decade.

One of my key mayoral missions is to restore our status as the fastest growing region outside of London – just as we were pre-pandemic. Innovation is central to achieving that mission.

We’re already a leading region for UK innovation when it comes to automotive and aerospace – with every £1 of Government spending for Research & Development translating in to £4 of business investment.

This latest news will help us to build on our progress to date – with Government’s forthcoming Trailblazer Devolution Deal and proposed programme of Investment Zones set to usher in exciting times ahead.

Delivering greater prosperity

Mayor of Greater Manchester, Andy Burnham, said:

Greater Manchester’s selection as one of three Innovation Accelerator regions reflects the high level of confidence in our innovation ecosystem.

The projects being backed are undertaking world-leading research to address some of the biggest challenges we face.

They also align with the sectors where Greater Manchester has emerging or established strengths, like advanced materials, artificial intelligence and diagnostics.

We look forward to working with partners to ensure this funding supports the growth of our future industries and delivers greater prosperity for our people.

Delivering inclusive growth

Speaking on behalf of the eight local councils, Susan Aitken, Chair of the Glasgow City Region Cabinet and Glasgow City Council Leader said:

Glasgow has a remarkable history rooted in industry and innovation and is home to world-leading science and technology expertise.

The IA programme will support the Region’s key economic aims of increasing productivity, delivering inclusive growth and achieving net zero.

It will create new jobs at all levels and grow the number of successful businesses. Vitally, through leveraging extensive private sector investment and building on our growing international profile it can turbo charge our innovation economy to the next level.

Further information


26 locally led, high impact projects selected across the three regions, with each region receiving an equal share of the funding allocation:

Glasgow City Region


  • Fusing a future from Glasgow’s proud heritage: schedule guaranteed high-integrity structures for a secure, safe and resilient transition to net zero’, led by University of Strathclyde. (Sector: net zero)
  • Risk stratification tool for colorectal polyp surveillance, led by University of Glasgow. (Sector: health)
  • ReMake Glasgow’, led by University of Strathclyde. (Sector: energy)
  • FinTech, Centre of Innovation in Financial Regulation, led by Fintech Scotland. (Sector: digital)
  • Museums in the metaverse, led by University of Glasgow. (Sector: creative)
  • Pilot Accelerator for National Institute for Quantum Integration’, led by University of Glasgow. (Sector: electronics)
  • Modular chemical robot farms for chemical manufacturing, led by Chemify Limited. (Sector: manufacturing)
  • Data-driven design and manufacturing colab (D3M_Colab), led by University of Strathclyde. (Sector: digital)
  • Innovation Accelerator in neutral atom quantum optimisation, led by M-Squared Lasers Limited. (Sector: emerging technology)
  • Next generation remote-sensing technologies, led by Thales UK Limited. (Sector: electronics)
  • Stratellite space and photonics Glasgow Impact Accelerator’, led by University of Strathclyde. (Sector: space)

Greater Manchester


  • Future Homes, led by University of Salford. (Sector: net zero)
  • Greater Manchester Electro-chemical Hydrogen Cluster, led by Manchester Metropolitan University. (Sector: net zero)
  • Manchester Turing Innovation Hub (MTIH), led by The University of Manchester. (Sector: digital)
  • The Development and Validation of Technology for Time Critical Genomic Testing (DEVOTE) Programme, led by The University of Manchester (Sector: health)
  • Energy Accelerator for Non-Domestic Buildings, led by The Growth Company (Sector: net zero)
  • Centre for Digital Innovation (CDI), led by Manchester Metropolitan University. (Sector: digital)
  • Pilots for the Sustainable Materials Translational Research Centre (p- SMTRC), led by Rochdale Development Agency. (Sector: advanced materials)
  • AR EdTech For Hydrogen Skills , led by Blair Project LTD. (Sector: net zero)
  • GM Advanced Diagnostics Accelerator, a partnership between Health Innovation Manchester, Manchester University NHS Foundation Trust, and University of Manchester (Sector: health)
  • MediaCity Immersive Technologies Innovation Hub, led by The Landing at Media City UK Limited. (Sector: creative)

West Midlands


  • West Midlands HealthTech/MedTech ‘6D’ Innovation Accelerator, led by University of Birmingham. (Sector: health technology)
  • Clean futures, led by Connected Places Catapult. (Sector: clean technology)
  • West Midlands Innovation Programme, led by West Midlands Combined Authority. (Sector: health and clean technology)
  • The Biochar Clean Tech Accelerator – Empowering Regional Clusters, led by Aston University. (Sector: clean technology)
  • Digital innovation transformative change, led by Connected Places Catapult. (Sector: health and clean technology)

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