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Commercialisation and R&D support

Realise your ambitions for business growth

  • Are you an ambitious SME in the North West?
  • Has a lack of time and resources prevented you from developing your ideas for eco-innovative new products, processes and services?
  • Could you realise your growth ambitions through collaboration with a world class university, an international consultancy and a network of like-minded businesses?
  • Do you have eco-innovative products, services or processes that you wish to exploit?
  • Do you want to enter new international markets and benefit from our global reach?
  • Do you wish to develop new or improved eco products, services or processes

If the answer to the above is yes and you want to benefit from fully funded commercialisation support, then you are the kind of business the new Centre for Global Eco-innovation wants to collaborate with.

The Centre for Global Eco-Innovation

The Centre for Global Eco-Innovation brings together the expertise, resources and global contacts of Lancaster University and the University of Liverpool, together with international commercialisation consultancy Inventya Ltd. The aim of the centre is to form collaborative R&D and commercialisation partnerships with businesses to enable and drive innovation for a better environment. It supports the development, exploitation and export of new products, processes and services for the global marketplace that have positive environmental benefits.

What is Eco-Innovation?

Eco-Innovation is the development of new products, processes and services for the global marketplace, which by virtue of their use, manufacture, raw materials, reuse or disposal, deliver positive environmental impacts. We are seeking businesses from diverse sectors such as engineering, manufacturing, construction materials, alternative energy generation, energy management, software and app development, environment management, modelling, chemicals, agriculture, etc.

A 3-year programme of commercialisation support for 200 of the region's most ambitious businesses

At the heart of the centre are 50 R&D partnerships working on three year collaborative research projects. In addition, we are seeking 200 additional Northwest small medium enterprises (SMEs) with eco-beneficial products, services and/or processes who wish to take them to new markets. Support from the centre may include help with:

  • Researching new markets
  • Taking a product to market / to a new market
  • Exporting for the first time / a new focus on exports
  • Building up strategic partnerships with like-minded companies
  • Accessing government and additional university help and support
  • Winning further funding for the business
  • Mentoring throughout the process

Fully funded R&D collaboration for 100 of these businesses

Lancaster University and University of Liverpool will provide at least 100 of these businesses with R&D support from the staff and students working in their departments. The support offered is flexible, depending on the needs of the business and the complexity of the work. It could be delivered through several means:

  • A full time Graduate Researcher working for 12 months on the project with the business as part of a Masters by Research project.
  • An individual or group working on a project as part of a degree course at undergraduate or postgraduate level. This gives access to researchers from 3-11 months typically delivering up to 600 hours of support.
  • An internship with the business which more typically is around 140 hours.

What is the process?

Register your interest here. You will be asked to provide some basic information which will give us your contact details, enable us to establish that you meet the acceptance criteria. Selection criteria include:

  1. Are you an SME operating in the North West?
  2. Are you using the programme to develop or commercialise eco-innovative products, processes or services?
  3. What is the potential economic benefit to the North West from supporting you?

Initially it is likely you will be invited to meet with Inventya to discuss your business, its needs and opportunities, and the support you require.

When registering, you will have the option to register R&D projects. This will require a brief summary of the project, its needs and benefits. It will be judged on its eco-innovation, commercial opportunity, fit with the universities' R&D and study areas, and the medium / long term potential.

Your project will be forwarded to the teams at the two universities, who will connect the project to the most appropriate departments, staff and skills. We may need to come back to you to refine the project idea and it does need to demonstrate how it delivers both economic and environmental benefits. Selection depends on the eco-innovative and economic benefits of the project, and also on its fit with the academic expertise. NB It is possible that ultimately your project cannot be delivered.

If the project is to be delivered within a formal course, these can only be undertaken at certain points in the academic year, and there is a selection process by the student researchers from a list of projects. There is potentially a period of delay between project submission and the delivery of a solution and therefore time critical projects may not be suitable for this support. It is helpful to describe the project well and make it as attractively as possible.

If the project is delivered as an internship there is more flexibility over the timing of the delivery of the support, and potentially a researcher can be recruited more quickly.

Inevitably there is some paperwork to complete and the project team will take you through this as and when the projects are agreed. It covers details such as eligibility for support, health and safety arrangements and the "beneficiary proposal" which is the formal agreement about working together.

Support is given with the aim of increasing profitability, creating new jobs and products / services, and reducing environmental impact. While it is recognised that different businesses will contribute more to different measures, all assisted businesses have a part to play, and this commitment will be considered in selecting which businesses to assist within the programme. At the end of your project and again in 2015, and 2017, you may be asked to report the results of the project, and the project team will assist you in this regard.

Contact

If you have any questions, please contact:

Tom Wright, Project Manager, Inventya Ltd
01925 607 190
t.wright@inventya.com

Dr Andy Pickard, Project Manager, Lancaster University
01524 510 403
a.pickard@lancaster.ac.uk

Dr Matt Fulton, Project Manager, University of Liverpool
01517 944 864
m.fulton@liverpool.ac.uk