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Our Comment: Cleantech innovation boost for the region

SWM have been supporting green growth and zero carbon innovation for over a decade, through the running of the Innovative Zero Carbon Working Group, and our wider work alongside the Innovation Alliance for the West Midlands.

We have contributed to the creation of an admirable innovation ecosystem in the West Midlands, which currently has the fastest growing tech sector in the UK. This is all despite the fact that the West Midlands has received far less than its fair share of public sector funding for R&D in recent years.

To address this historical underinvestment, and in recognition of our well-developed innovation ecosystem, the Government announced in its 2022 Levelling Up White Paper that the West Midlands would receive a share of £100 million under the Innovation Accelerator (IA). This aims to bolster the region’s innovation and R&D capability and spark commercial growth and investment, leading to a boost for the local economy. The funding has been allocated using a pioneering ‘locally-led’ approach. The West Midlands Innovation Board (part of the WMCA) has had responsibility for developing and co-ordinating applications for this funding, so that the IA builds upon the region’s comparative advantages and has as big an impact as possible. As such, the IA is focusing on two key areas; CleanTech and HealthTech and MedTech.

The winning projects have now been announced! They are:

  • West Midlands Innovation Programme, led by WMCA. This project will allow the continuation of the Innovative Working Groups (including the Innovative Zero Carbon Working Group, run by SWM), and the general support given to the CleanTech and Health and MedTech sectors across the West Midlands. This project will allow SWM to increase its work in the region to support zero carbon innovation and green growth.
  • Digital Innovation Transformative Change, led by Connected Places Catapult. This is a cross cutting project to assist the CleanTech and HealthTech and MedTech sectors.
  • Clean Futures, led by Connected Places Catapult. (CleanTech)
  • The Biochar Clean Tech Accelerator – Empowering Regional Clusters, led by Aston University (CleanTech)
  • West Midlands HealthTech/MedTech ‘6D’ Innovation Accelerator, led by the University of Birmingham (HealthTech).

The projects are due to start in May 2023 for two years. As the Zero Carbon Lead for the West Midlands Innovation Programme, I am thrilled to be able to step up our support for innovation and green growth in the region. To hear more, get in touch, or sign up to the Innovative Zero Carbon Working Group directly!

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