SMEs across the North West have a final opportunity to tap into a regional support programme to help develop new products, processes or services that deliver positive environmental impacts.
The regional eco-innovation programme is being delivered by The Centre for Global Eco-Innovation, a collaboration between Lancaster University, the University of Liverpool and commercialisation consultancy, Inventya.
The programme, funded by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF), aims to form collaborative research and development (R&D) and commercialisation partnerships with SMEs to support the development of new eco-innovative products or processes.
“Our aim at the centre is to link university R&D expertise with innovative companies, to boost their eco credentials and ultimately to have a positive impact on the environment”, said Dr Martin Andrew, project manager.
“Businesses which innovate in an environmentally sensitive way frequently grow faster than their competitors, so we are supporting growth and saving greenhouse gases.”
By the end of the centre’s upcoming three-year programme, which will support 200 businesses, the centre hopes to have achieved significant environmental benefits, including reducing carbon emissions by 27,000 tonnes and diverting 55,000 tonnes of waste from landfill.
“We’ve helped 250 businesses to date”, added Dr Andrew, “including a Lancaster University PhD project developing a new environmentally friendly de-icer treatment for planes and a company working on advanced controllers for wind turbines. Others have included smart city mobile application development and technology for sustainable housing.
“The North West actually has the largest number of people employed in the low carbon sector as a whole and these businesses should be nurtured.”
The centre is particularly seeking SMEs that are being prevented from developing their ideas for eco-innovative products, processes and services due to a lack of time or resources.
Interested SMEs must apply by September 2015 to take part in the programme. More information is available on the centre’s website.