Liverpool City Region launchpad projects announced

The Three Graces comprise the Liver Building, the Cunard and Port Authority.

Twenty-three new projects ranging from eco-friendly concrete to floating solar arrays have been announced as part of Innovate UK’s launchpad programme.

The 23 projects funded through the Liverpool City Region launchpad pilot will share nearly £5.5 million and have an emphasis on digital technology and tackling the climate emergency.

Globally connected innovation clusters

The aim of the launchpad programme 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.

In addition to the Liverpool City Region pilot, which focuses on developing innovations that transform its advanced manufacturing cluster, a second pilot is taking place in Tees Valley.

Collaborative projects

Of the projects announced in Liverpool City Region today, 9 collaborative research and development (R&D) projects, involving businesses working with research and technology organisations, were awarded a total of just over £4 million in the first round.

Successful projects, receiving between £128,000 and £694,000, include schemes to manufacture:

  • an eco-friendly concrete block to help protect coastal communities against climate change-related flooding. The project, run by Liverpool small and medium-sized enterprise (SME) Virtus Concrete Solutions Limited in conjunction with Liverpool John Moores University, will develop a new eco-friendly concrete ‘Geoblock’ which would completely replace cement for use in breakwaters and non-structural applications
  • advanced fuel cell technology for use in hydrogen-powered cars, heavy goods vehicles and boats, delivered by Liverpool start-up Mersey Fair Air Limited

Developing innovations for manufacturing

A further 14 projects shared a total of £1.44 million, receiving up to £100,000 each. These projects are to develop innovations for manufacturing, including:

  • pioneering micro-wind turbine and energy storage systems. Delivered by city region-based SME Enturi Solutions Ltd, the scheme could help drive an 11-fold increase in wind power
  • floating solar arrays. Flogen Limited will research and test construction of low-carbon floating solar arrays using natural and recycled materials such as bamboo and polydrums
  • energy-efficient ceramic filtration membranes used to produce ultra-clean water, delivered by Evove Limited

A second round of competitive grant applications will open this month for advanced manufacturing projects in the Liverpool City Region.

Boosting business-led innovation

Indro Mukerjee, CEO of Innovate UK, said:

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

I am pleased to work with Mayor Steve Rotheram and support his vision for his region.

The Innovate UK launchpad programme and our other partnership activities are strongly contributing to boost business-led innovation across the region.

Attracting more innovation funding

Steve Rotheram, Mayor of the Liverpool City Region, said:

The Liverpool City Region has the political will, research strengths and drive to succeed as a leader of the Fourth Industrial Revolution. It was that ambition and our underlying status as a hotbed of innovation that led to Innovate UK making us 1 of only 2 launchpad pilots in the country.

This is about attracting more innovation funding into our region and the wider north, helping us to create secure, well-paid jobs and training opportunities for local people who, for far too long, have been held back from fulfilling their potential not by a lack of talent, but a lack of opportunity. As Mayor, I’m working to put that right.

It is fantastic to see our launchpad status starting to bear fruit with this first £5.5 million of funding coming into the region.

Top image:  Credit: GordonBellPhotography, iStock, Getty Images Plus via Getty Images

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