Wave 2 seedcorn-funded proposals

In June 2020, 17 UKRI Strength in Places Fund (SIPF) Wave 2 projects were awarded seedcorn funding of up to £50,000 per project (worth a total of £821,000). This funding was for developing bids for full stage awards, with the intention that a small number of these would receive full stage funding.

Northern Ireland

Smart Nano-Manufacturing Corridor

Lead organisation: Seagate Technology Ireland

Sector: Electronics and photonics

The shared centres created through the Smart Nano-Manufacturing Corridor (SNMC) will bring together organisations from across the Belfast-Londonderry Corridor, connecting experts in photonics design, prototyping and mass manufacturing, to speed up the development of new nano-scale optical components to power our future digital devices. The SNMC will adopt game-changing prototyping and manufacturing methods, creating economic benefit for Northern Ireland.

NIPBT – The Northern Ireland Precision Biomarkers and Therapeutics Consortium

Lead organisation: Queen’s University Belfast

Sector: Medical technologies and pharmaceuticals

The Northern Ireland Precision Biomarkers and Therapeutics Consortium (NIPBT) will build on the region’s existing strengths in digital health and pharmaceuticals. It will bring together partners from industry and academia to increase research, encourage innovation and make Northern Ireland’s life and health science sector more productive. It will develop new, more cost-effective targeted drugs and antibodies and new ways of diagnosing cancer and other conditions. The long-term aim is to attract and secure highly skilled jobs to the region to enhance its competitiveness and prosperity.


Centre for Regulated Bio-Manufacture

Lead organisation: Heriot-Watt University

Sector: Medical technologies and pharmaceuticals

The availability of essential new advanced therapies based on cellular technologies, such as transplanted donor material or cells harvested from a patient’s own body, and of bio-therapeutics such as antibodies, requires a manufacturing infrastructure. This consortium spanning academia, business and the NHS will provide the things that will make this possible in the Lothians. This includes training to upskill the local workforce, developing small-scale manufacturing facilities, ways of better controlling quality and developing new regulations and international agreements.

HotScot – unlocking mine water geothermal energy within former mining areas

Lead organisation: University of Strathclyde

Sector: Energy

The consortium will deliver economic growth, equivalent to £303 million and around 9,800 jobs, in the Central Belt of Scotland by constructing three new mine water geothermal projects to provide low-cost, low-emissions heat for communities and businesses. Research and demonstration will show that extracting heat from old flooded mines can deliver heating, cooling and heat storage to make geothermal schemes in old mining communities ready for widespread private sector investment.

Scotland and north England

Digital Dairy Value-Chain for South-West Scotland and Cumbria

Lead organisation: SRUC

Sector: Agri-tech, food and drink

The consortium aims to create a dairy industry that is more efficient and resilient. By combining digital communications and advanced manufacturing, milk, cheese and other products will become highly traceable, providing retailers, wholesalers and consumers with the assurance they need. In the longer term, this will establish South-West Scotland and Cumbria as the leading region for advanced, sustainable and high-value dairy processing, expanding businesses and jobs.


Creative Capital: moving the Cardiff Capital Region’s media cluster from strength to global leadership

Lead organisation: Cardiff University

Sector: Creative economy

After the devastating impact of COVID-19, the need for digital innovation in the creative sector has never been more critical. Cardiff is already internationally recognised for film and TV production and the consortium will build on this regional strength to help create a global hub for media innovation. UK broadcasters, small local businesses and freelancers will work together to research and develop new products and services for global markets, fuelling business and employment growth in the media sector and its suppliers.

East Midlands

Trans-Mid: Midlands supercluster for net zero transport and mobility supply chains

Lead organisation: University of Nottingham

Sector: Transport and logistics

This project brings together universities, large businesses and small to medium-sized enterprises involved at all stages of developing transport technology. The Midlands-based consortium will bring together local suppliers to the vehicle, aerospace and other industries to develop new ‘green’ products and supply chains. The project will create thousands of new and upskilled jobs to deliver on the net-zero challenge (the UK commitment to carbon-neutrality by 2050).


SuNRISE Coast: Suffolk and Norfolk research and innovation on the sustainable energy coast

Lead organisation: University of East Anglia

Sector: Energy

The Suffolk and Norfolk coast, while vulnerable to the impacts of climate change and coastal erosion, is crucial for UK’s energy supply combining off-shore wind, gas and nuclear energy resources. The project combines local research strengths and business needs to attract private investment to deliver economically and environmentally sustainable growth and jobs, including £30 billion of clean energy infrastructure projects around the southern North Sea and underpin thousands of jobs in new and existing industries.

Greater London

To deliver data driven next generation healthcare from Whitechapel

Lead organisation: Queen Mary University of London

Sector: Healthcare (including social care)

This project uses more precise data and artificial intelligence to provide better healthcare for people living in and around the Whitechapel area of east London, where chronic health problems are significantly higher than the national average. Should full funding be awarded, this will create expanded space for academics, clinicians and industry to work together to develop and test new treatments with the local hospital and population.

North East

International Centre for Connected Construction

Lead organisation: Northumbria University

Sector: Construction

This consortium brings together industry, academia and the public sector across the North East’s globally renowned cluster of experts in digital construction. The centre, known as IC3, will enable the construction sector to ‘build better and build smarter’ by championing the use of digital technologies to drive productivity, improve safety and provide value over the longer term. This collaboration of industry, academic and the public sector will co-create, test, demonstrate and bring to market innovate digital solutions for the construction sector in a consolidated and synergistic manner, further boosting the region’s expertise, talent and reputation and unlocking new global markets for the region and wider UK.

North West

Transforming productivity in complex medicines in the Cheshire and Warrington region

Lead organisation: Medicines Discovery Catapult

Sector: Medical technologies and pharmaceuticals

Medicines Discovery Catapult and the Cheshire and Warrington Local Enterprise Partnership will leverage world-leading expertise and state-of-the-art infrastructure to position Cheshire and Warrington as an international powerhouse in the medicines of the future. The consortium will accelerate the development of a North West Complex Medicines cluster, support technology-driven start-ups and spin-outs, provide essential technical and business skills, and enhance cross-sector collaborative opportunities to drive innovation. Employee productivity in terms of gross value added is higher in the pharmaceutical industry than any other sector. Enabling innovation in the medicines of the future will result in massive regional growth, improved productivity and ultimately, better patient outcomes.

Creative City+

Lead organisation: Manchester Metropolitan University

Sector: Creative economy

The consortium aims to enhance local productivity through stimulating R&D activity to increase the knowledge, skills and expertise in the creative industries required to develop innovative products and services. Closing the productivity gap between the region’s creative industries and the national average would increase its economy by £305 million per year. Establishment of three Innovation Labs underpinned by a Creative Economy Observatory and Future Skills Production Hub will support collaborative R&D interventions and drive clusters of businesses across a range of sizes to innovate through the better utilisation of productivity-enhancing digital technologies. The project will also seek to improve the nature of equality and diversity practices within the sector.

South East

Accelerated medicines design and development

Lead organisation: Kent Surrey Sussex Academic Health Science Network

Sector: Medical technologies and pharmaceuticals

This project will support innovation in the use of data and digital technology to accelerate the medicines development process. Building on existing strengths in paediatric medicine, it will involve development of a new Medicines Design Studio located at Discovery Park in Sandwich, where innovative businesses can collaborate with Pfizer, the National Measurement Laboratory at LGC, the University of Kent, Discovery Park, Kent Surrey Sussex Academic Health Science Network and other industry partners. This will help to grow Kent’s life science sector, and has the potential to create around 400 jobs and to contribute an estimated £180 million to the local economy over the next 15 years.

South West

South West Floating Offshore Wind Accelerator

Lead organisation: Wave Hub Ltd

Sector: Energy

Taking advantage of Cornwall’s deep and uncongested waters, the project will invest in floating offshore wind (FLOW) industrialisation in South West England. Building on Cornwall and Plymouth’s world-renowned excellence in offshore renewables business and research, the project will fast-track the building of large-scale floating offshore wind farms in the Celtic Sea from the mid-2020s onwards, allowing the region to make a decisive contribution to Britain’s offshore wind target of 40 Gigawatts by 2030; deliver British jobs; positioning Britain as a world leader in floating offshore wind, targeting a fivefold increase in British offshore wind exports.

West Midlands

CW Creative Futures: driving a new era of immersive technologies growth in Coventry and Warwickshire

Lead organisation: Coventry University

Sector: Cyber security and digital

CW Creative Futures develops skills and infrastructure to drive growth in Coventry and Warwickshire’s immersive economy. Building on the world-leading Silicon Spa (home to 50+ games studios and 3,000 businesses) the project provides new R&D opportunities, brings together talent and expertise from industry and two world-class universities, and accelerates innovation for immersive products and services across sectors – specifically digital production, automotive, advanced manufacturing and digital healthcare. Outcomes will include increased productivity, job creation and inclusive economic growth rooted in the regions’ diversity and creativity.

Midlands Advanced Ceramics for Industry 4.0

Lead organisation: Lucideon Group Ltd

Sector: Chemical industries and materials

Advanced technical ceramics are vital for many manufacturing sectors, like energy, health, aerospace, automotive and defence. This project will improve manufacturing processes making them more energy-efficient, faster and cheaper. This will boost growth and productivity across the advanced ceramics supply chain as well as customers across a wide range of industry sectors.  The investment will build on existing ceramic and manufacturing strengths to help to make the Midlands a global leader in advanced ceramics.  It will assist in the expansion of advanced manufacturers, small and medium-sized advanced ceramics enterprises and make the Midlands a magnet for global investment into this fast-growing sector, all contributing towards jobs growth of 4,200 jobs across the Midlands by 2030.

Yorkshire and the Humber

Advanced Machinery Institute

Lead organisation: NPL Management Ltd

Sector: Manufacturing

This project will drive innovation for the UK’s advanced machinery manufacturers, building economic growth in the design, development and manufacture of the advanced intelligent machinery, robotic and cooperative systems needed by emerging technologies. Centred around existing capabilities and research excellence across the North of England, the AMP Institute will be a partnership between industry, local government, higher education institutions and NPL. It will provide the safe space, technical resources and skills pipeline needed for advanced machinery innovation to flourish, delivering a sustainable impact on its own local economy and that of UK industry export.

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