The Tees Valley has been chosen as one of just two locations to pilot a new initiative to build on local innovation strengths – with an initial £15million investment available to support businesses.
Part of UK Research and Innovation, Innovate UK’s Launchpad pilot will invite small and medium enterprises (SMEs) to apply for competitive grants starting at £15,000 for innovation projects that focus on the region’s energy and renewable sector. Grant funding of up to £1million is available for projects that provide exceptional impact to the cluster of SMEs.
Successful applicants will receive wrap-around support from local and national organisations, with innovation funding and support available in areas such as Hydrogen, Carbon Capture, Utilisation and Storage (CCUS), Offshore Engineering, Materials and Processing, and Circular Economy.
Details of the initial funding competition have been revealed and local stakeholders can now sign up to engagement sessions on Friday 30 September and 14 October.
The new Launchpad funding is designed to build on innovation clusters that have significant growth potential and to deliver jobs, growth, and higher productivity, supporting Government’s Levelling Up agenda.
Tees Valley Mayor Ben Houchen said: “Our region is at the forefront in driving forward the UK’s net zero ambitions, with innovation in offshore wind, CCUS and hydrogen delivering thousands of jobs in cleaner, healthier and safer industries of the future for local people.
“We’ve all heard of the landmark investments and world-first schemes that are being pioneered in our region, but this is a brilliant opportunity for our local business, large and small, to help drive innovation and play a role in our journey to Net Zero.
“I would urge businesses from across Teesside, Darlington, and Hartlepool to find out how they can get involved and take advantage of the support available to help turn innovative ideas into action.”
Innovate UK CEO Indro Mukerjee said: “Innovate UK has been building strong regional partnerships across the UK to support local innovation and commercialisation. Today’s launch of the Tees Valley launchpad is an important step and another example of active collaboration with regional partners to deliver growth and productivity through innovation.”
The area is at the forefront of the UK’s clean energy ambitions, with a number of transformative projects already secured.
Work is under way on SeAH Wind’s mammoth £400million offshore wind monopile manufacturing facility at the Teesworks site. Teesworks will also be home to Circular Fuels’ pioneering £150million waste to gas facility.
The Net Zero Teesside project is aiming to create the UK’s first decarbonised industrial cluster by 2040. NZT Power’s gas-fired power plant with carbon capture, utilisation and storage (CCUS) capabilities, will take carbon produced from the facility and transport it to the North Sea for storage.
Led by Bp, the NZT project will also establish two large-scale hydrogen production facilities – HyGreen Teesside producing green hydrogen, H2Teesside producing blue. Kellas Midstream is also establishing its own blue hydrogen facility – H2NorthEast – in the region.
To find out more about the Tees Valley Launchpad competition, visit: https://bit.ly/3DTSkKb
To sign up to a local stakeholder engagement session, visit https://teesvalleynetzerolaunchpad.meeting-mojo.com/