The UK government has unveiled eight emerging regional innovation clusters across the UK are set to receive a portion of £75 million in government funding, targeting sectors such as health science, bio-based manufacturing, and food technology.
The government aims to catalyze economic growth within these regions and foster groundbreaking advancements, spanning from healthcare to achieving net-zero emissions.
Introducing the Eight Regional Innovation Clusters
The UK government has unveiled an opportunity for local small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) to vie for funding of up to £7.5 million in each area to drive their research and development endeavours.
This funding initiative for regional clusters comes on the heels of two triumphant pilot programs: the Net Zero Launchpad in Tees Valley and manufacturing-focused initiatives in the Liverpool City Region.
The eight regional innovation clusters are:
- South West Wales: Net Zero Industry
- North East England: Digital Technologies
- West Yorkshire: Health Technologies
- Eastern England: Agri-tech and Food Tech
- Great South West: Marine and Maritime
- Scotland: Bio-based Manufacturing
- Coventry and Warwickshire: Immersive and Creative Industries
- Northern Ireland: Life and Health Sciences
George Freeman MP, Minister of State at the Department for Science, Innovation and Technology, said “The UK science, research and innovation economy is not just the ‘golden triangle’ of Cambridge-Oxford-London. It is all around the UK.”
“That is why we have launched our flagship Launchpads programme – and this £75 million investment will support high-growth companies to build the industries of tomorrow – in sectors from renewable energy through to digital health. These Launchpads will play a pivotal role in growing our local economies, creating jobs and levelling up the UK.”
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Supercharging the New UK Network
After successful pilot programs in Liverpool and Teesside earlier this year, an additional eight Launchpads, overseen by Innovate UK, will be introduced across all regions of the UK.
These initiatives will leverage existing hubs of high-tech innovation in each area, including renewable energy in Southwest Wales, Agri-tech in East Anglia, and digital health in Yorkshire.
The Launchpads program is designed to bolster emerging clusters of SMEs by allocating up to £7.5 million from Innovate UK for innovation projects spearheaded by local businesses.
Steve Baker, the minister of state for Northern Ireland, said: “This new network of UK government innovation clusters provides the ideal environment for local firms to exchange ideas with experts across the UK, to progress and thrive, and will provide a wealth of economic opportunities.”
The £7.5 million bespoke funding from each Launchpad will allow SMEs in each region to bid for support that is tailored to the unique needs of each business cluster, helping them drive innovation, expand operations, and boost their local economies.
Welsh Secretary of State David TC Davies said: “It is fantastic that £7.5 million of UK government funding is coming to Southwest Wales to support the growing net zero industry in this part of the country.
“There are some really innovative businesses who are already collaborating with each other and researchers to develop industries of the future, and this Launchpad funding will deliver what they need to take their work to the next level.
“The UK government is committed to creating jobs and growing prosperity in Wales, and this is exactly the type of intervention that will help to foster a modern 21st-century economy in the Neath Port Talbot area.”
Launchpads concentrate their support in specific areas of the UK with strong innovation capabilities.
This strategy aims to foster robust collaboration with local leaders and offer customized support, encompassing research and development funding, access to specialized innovation resources, and avenues for SMEs to engage in idea-sharing and collaborative ventures.