NORTH WEST centre is driving forward eco-innovation in the region by helping SMEs access nearly a million pounds worth of funding and linking them with the best university talent.
The Centre for Global Eco-Innovation (CGE) – a collaboration between Lancaster University, the University of Liverpool and international management consultancy Inventya – is a virtual centre part financed by the European Regional Development Fund. CGE supports North West SMEs in commercialising eco-innovative products or services and has helped ten manufacturing businesses apply for a total of £973,131 Technology Strategy Board (TSB) Materials and Manufacturing Launchpad funding.
The competition centred around high tech manufacturing SMEs based at Sci-Tech Daresbury, the science and innovation campus and the Runcorn Heath Business and Technical Park. Winners now have six months to court other investors to gain matching funding to enable them to conduct R&D projects.
One of the winning bids was South Warrington-based Trametox which has developed unique radiation detectors to reveal any nuclear materials being smuggled into a country on shipping containers. Jeff Boardman, chief technology officer at Trametox, said: “Coming from a science and engineering background myself, the help from CGE and Inventya was incredibly valuable and included assisting us through two in depth stages of a video presentation and then a detailed submission. The Launchpad will now act as a springboard to help us raise the rest of the money required for the successful completition of the project.”
CGE is now calling for eco-innovative SMEs in the region to come forward to link up with university students on collaborative R&D projects lasting between three and six months. The centre is tasked with finding live project opportunities for 50 graduate students from the two world-ranking universities with SMEs in sectors spanning pharmaceuticals, bioscience, agriculture, environmental engineering and transport.
The projects are typically between 300 and 600 hours and are fully academically supervised and funded by the University of Liverpool and Lancaster University. Tom Wright, project manager at the Centre for Global Eco-Innovation, said: “Our aim at the centre is to help drive forward improvements in green technology and services throughout the North West as part of the government’s overall bid to reduce carbon emissions. “We want to make SMEs aware of the support that is out there to help them develop eco-innovative products. Depending on the needs of the individual businesses, this could take the form of funding or university-business collaboration.”
Businesses interested in taking on an graduate student to help them develop their eco-innovative business should contact project manager at CGE, Tom Wright on 01925 607190 or email firstname.lastname@example.org