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Bringing wind power back into shipping and bracelets to help diagnose ADHD among city region projects to share over £2m of innovation grants

  • 13 projects selected to receive nearly £2.1m from second round of Innovate UK’s Launchpad programme
  • Ground-breaking national scheme piloted in the Liverpool City Region
  • Total of 37 business-led projects selected for £7.5m of Launchpad grants since February
  • Latest projects include turning non-recyclable textiles into building blocks and developing energy efficient water filtration
  • Projects announced at special event to celebrate first year of partnership between Liverpool City Region and Innovate UK

Grants of between £93,000 and £496,000 have been offered to 13 Liverpool City Region projects in the second round of a programme designed to drive innovation beyond southeast England.

The city region was one of only two areas chosen to pilot Innovate UK’s ground-breaking Launchpad programme which over two rounds has now offered £7.5m of grants to 37 locally based projects.

Launched in September last year, the programme focusses on developing innovations to transform the city region’s advanced manufacturing cluster, with an emphasis on digital technologies and net zero outcomes.

Innovate UK is the UK’s agency responsible for driving innovation. Innovate UK CEO Indro Mukerjee joined Liverpool City Region Mayor Steve Rotheram to announce the latest projects today at an event in St Helens to celebrate the first year of a landmark partnership between the city region and the UK’s agency responsible for driving innovation.

In Round 2, three Collaborative R&D schemes have been selected, including:

  • Sci-Tech Daresbury campus based Evove Ltd who have been awarded £496,297 to develop and manufacture products to make water filtration less energy intensive. Membrane filtration is used for desalination and other purposes and the global market is worth £25bn. The project promises to bring high value manufacturing jobs and export opportunities to the city region.

A further 10 schemes were awarded up to £100,000 each, including:

  • Sci-Tech Daresbury campus based Addhere Technologies were awarded £99,000 to develop the innovative manufacture of bracelets that help diagnose Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD)
  • Wirral-based GT Green Technologies who were awarded £99,066 for a project to bring wind power back into commercial shipping. Their trademarked Air Wing propulsion system has the potential to help reduce carbon footprint of global shipping and help LCR Freeport towards its net-zero targets
  • Liverpool-based Fusion Implants Ltd who were awarded £99,512 to develop digital treatments for dogs with elbow disease – including manufacturing 3D implants
  • BossIt were awarded £98,627 to develop a new structural construction system that turns recycled plastic and non-recyclable textiles into a composite building block

Steve Rotheram, Mayor of the Liverpool City Region, said:

“If centuries of being at the helm of generation-defining discoveries and ingenious inventions has taught us anything – it’s that innovation is in our DNA. We’re fortunate to be home to an abundance of talented and creative individuals who shape our region’s reputation as a hotbed for creativity and it’s a testament to their talents that we were chosen as a Launchpad by Innovate UK.

“We’re using this second round of investment to our advantage by providing some of the most pioneering local projects with ambitious funding to take their business to the next level and provide secure, well-paid jobs. We might already be home to a thriving innovation economy – but I’m not content with resting on our laurels. If we want to become the UK’s next science and innovation superpower, then we need to think bigger and better than the rest.”

Innovate UK CEO Indro Mukerjee said:

“Innovate UK is building strong regional partnerships across the UK to support local innovation and commercialisation. The Innovate UK team and I are pleased to collaborate with Mayor Steve Rotheram and the Liverpool City Region team to support economic growth and productivity. The Innovate UK launchpad programme, and our other partnership activities, continues to strongly contribute to boosting business-led innovation across the region.”

Nearly £5.5m was awarded to 23 Liverpool City Region innovation projects in Round 1 of Launchpad – with schemes ranging from developing green energy technologies to protecting coasts with eco-friendly blocks.

The second round of competitive grant applications opened for Liverpool City Region advanced manufacturing projects in February this year and offered funding of between £15,000 and up to £1m for businesses of all sizes.

Ongoing support is available to businesses in the advanced manufacturing innovation cluster via LYVA Labs, who were appointed cluster manager for the advanced manufacturing Launchpad, having won an open competition earlier this year.

Formerly LCR Ventures, LYVA Labs was set up with £10.5m of Combined Authority funding to help innovators turn their ideas into high-growth businesses and good-quality jobs.

Innovate UK’s decision to work with the Liverpool City Region as a pilot area reflects our highly developed place-based innovation approach. It also followed publication of the Liverpool City Region’s first Innovation Prospectus that highlights world-leading strengths in infection prevention and control, materials chemistry, and AI solutions, plus emerging capabilities in net zero and maritime technologies.

Since then, Liverpool City Region has agreed the country’s first place-based partnership and action plan with Innovate UK, has signed a landmark innovation deal with South Korea’s second city, Busan, as part of a major government UK-South Korea innovation twinning programme, and been designated one of 12 UK Investment Zones.

The city region has also published a refreshed Innovation Prospectus which showcases more than £11bn of city region investment opportunities, including a £1.9bn R&D project pipeline, plus the Mersey Tidal Power and HyNet megaprojects. It also highlights the area’s distinctive innovation assets and clusters, fertile innovation ecosystem, and exceptional partnerships between industry, research and technology organisations, and the public sector, coordinated by the Combined Authority.

It is estimated that realising the Liverpool City Region’s ambition to invest 5% in R&D by 2030 would deliver a gross economic benefit of £41.7bn GVA, a 10% increase in productivity and create 44,000 new jobs.

The Launchpad programme is designed to build on Innovate UK’s commitment in its Plan for Action to help build local strengths and help businesses benefit from them, in support of the government’s levelling up agenda.

Launchpad’s key objective is to ensure more places in the UK host world-leading and globally connected innovation clusters – creating more jobs, growth and productivity in those areas.

The Combined Authority, Growth Platform – Liverpool City Region Growth Company, STFC Daresbury Laboratory, and other key local stakeholders were directly involved in developing the national pilot Launchpad programme.

Projects funded through round 2 of the advanced manufacturing Launchpad that have already started include:

  • Digitalisation of canine elbow disease surgery, by Fusion Implants
  • Eliminating barriers to entry of a production scale continuous flow reactor for the chemical industry, by Ashe Morris
  • Supply-Works – Unlocking the power of network effects for supplier intelligence and visibility in the medical devices sector, by Senti Tech
  • AirWing Wind Propulsion Advanced Manufacture Development Liverpool, by GT Green Technologies
  • Locblock turning a plastic and non-recyclable textile waste issue into a housing solution: Phase 2 – System and prototype completion, by
  • X-AudioPD: USB Power Delivery Speakers for Multichannel Audio, by Sonalux
  • NetGrow – Network Portal for Growth and Opportunity for SMEs, by Valuechain Technology
  • Digital Manufacturing Process Design for AI-Driven Customization in Wearables Production: ADHD Pioneering Diagnosis and Treatment Support, by Addhere Technologies
  • BAC – DTDA (Digital Twin Development Accelerator), by Briggs Automotive Company
  • Automated Cooking Oil Storage and Recycle System, by Bomac Electric
  • Spacer production scale-up via proprietary 3D-additive manufacturing for industrial desalination, led by Evove
  • Development of intelligent multisensory technology for proactive asset management, led by Central Electrical Armature Winding Company