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Collaborative Networks Programme

Tees Valley Combined Authority supports businesses, universities and research and technology organisations in the Tees Valley local authority areas of Darlington, Hartlepool, Middlesbrough, Redcar & Cleveland and Stockton-on-Tees.

The Collaborative Networks Programme is a 3 year, £1.4M programme to deliver support for Tees Valley businesses in collaborating to bring new products and processes to market, improve productivity, create employment, reduce carbon and grow the regional economy.

Over the 3-year period, we will be delivering a range of services and support to assist micro and small to medium sized enterprises to collaborate with each other, along with universities, large enterprises and public organisations, who are committed to introducing new innovations. These include:

  • Consortia Development Grants – up to £25,000 for building collaborative partnerships and delivering collaborative activities.
  • Consortia Support Services – sign posting, support and mentoring to develop collaborative innovations and to access supply chain opportunities through collaboration.

The initiative supports collaboration across the seven priority sectors identified in the Tees Valley Strategic Economic Plan, including:

  • Advanced Manufacturing
  • Process, Chemicals and Energy
  • Logistics
  • Health and Biologics
  • Digital and Creative
  • Culture & Leisure
  • Business and Professional Services

Cross sector collaborations that support industrial digitalisation and the circular economy are particularly encouraged.

The second tranche of Consortia Development Grants will be available from March 2020 with the first deadline for applications on 18th May, 2020.


The Consortia Development Grants can support 100% of project costs subject to a de minimis exemption being completed. They are available to small to medium enterprises (under 250 employees) located in Tees Valley. The lead Tees Valley SME can collaborate with any type of organisation regardless of geography provided that the benefit to Tees Valley due to the collaboration is clearly defined.

Establishing a Collaborative Partnership: Pre-collaborative activities that lead to a collaboration partnership being established. The specific need for innovation within the business and the benefits of collaboration must be clear at the time of application. It is anticipated that total costs will be below £5,000 and that projects will be completed within 6 months. (Projects that exceed this threshold may be considered subject to a strong business case and clear route to collaboration being evident.) Activities can include, business planning, partner search and identification, market research and small-scale proof of concept.


Collaborative Activities: Collaborative activities with an already developed partnership to introduce innovations to a Tees Valley SME or large enterprise. The maximum grant will be £25,000 and projects will be completed within 12 months. Activities can also can include business planning, market research and small-scale proof of concept but may extend to feasibility studies, pilot actions or demonstrations, depending on the maturity of the collaboration.

Please Note

  • You cannot be eligible for both grants simultaneously.
  • Companies already leading on an approved project cannot apply to lead until the completion of their first project.

How to Apply

The Collaborative Networks Programme Grant Application Pack is available to download here.

Please use our postcode checker first to see if you could be eligible to apply.

There will be a series of Microsoft Teams dial-in opportunities to give applicants further guidance on the process and programme. These will take place on:

  • Thursday, 19th March at 2pm
  • Wednesday, 25th March at 2pm
  • Tuesday, 31st March at 2pm

To register for one of these meetings, please contact the Technology and Innovation Team at and they will provide you with dial-in details.

The SME is required to return a completed Application Form to the Technology and Innovation Team at Tees Valley Combined Authority by 18th May, 2020. The application will be reviewed against the eligibility criteria prior to a full assessment. A total of £300,000 is available for this call with awards being made on a competitive basis.

All applicants will be contacted by the Technology and Innovation Team to advise on the eligibility of their application by 26th May 2020 with the successful projects being informed by 13th July 2020.

If you have any queries, please contact the Technology and Innovation Team: Tel. 01642 527701 or by post to Tees Valley Combined Authority, Teesside Airport Business Suite, Teesside International Airport, Darlington, DL2 1NJ.