- The UK government announces a £75 million investment in regional innovation hubs, Launchpads.
- The program aims to support small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in various sectors, including renewable energy, digital health, and agri-tech.
- Each Launchpad will receive up to £7.5 million from Innovate UK to fund innovation projects.
- The investment follows successful pilot programs in Liverpool and Teesside and aims to boost local economies.
- The funding was allocated after a competitive bidding process involving more than 40 proposals from across the UK.
UK Science Minister George Freeman has announced a £75 million investment in regional innovation hubs, also known as Launchpads, to boost local economies and pioneer solutions in sectors ranging from healthcare to net zero emissions. The investment follows successful pilot programs in Liverpool and Teesside and will be facilitated by Innovate UK.
Expanding Across the UK
The UK Government’s program will roll out eight additional Launchpads across every nation of the UK, building on existing clusters of high-tech innovation. These include renewable energy in Southwest Wales, agri-tech in East Anglia, and digital health in Yorkshire.
Funding and Support
Each Launchpad will receive up to £7.5 million in bespoke funding from Innovate UK. This will allow SMEs in each region to bid for support tailored to their unique needs, helping them drive innovation, expand operations, and boost local economies. The program encourages collaboration with local leaders and provides specialized support, including funding for research and development.
- Teesside University has led in net-zero research projects focusing on waste diversion technologies.
- Liverpool City Region has backed 23 green projects, including an eco-friendly concrete block for coastal protection against climate change.
George Freeman MP emphasized that the UK’s innovation economy extends beyond the ‘golden triangle’ of Cambridge-Oxford-London. He stated that supporting these regional clusters is central to making the UK an ‘Innovation Nation.’
Competitive Bidding Process
The funding was allocated after a competitive bidding process involving more than 40 proposals from the UK. These were evaluated by a panel of Innovate UK directors, sector experts, and academics.
The project aims to establish world-leading, globally interconnected innovation clusters. These clusters are expected to catalyze increased employment, economic growth, and productivity within these regions.