Priority Axis 1 - Research and Innovation
Promoting Research and Innovation
The United Kingdom has a proud history in science and innovation, and the West of England, globally renowned for science and engineering, contributes with its own legacy; from Isambard Kingdom Brunel’s accomplishments, to Concorde and the Bloodhound SSC supersonic car.
Moreover, we have the largest concentration of silicon designers outside of California’s Silicon Valley and we’ve been producing specialist microprocessors and silicon chips here for 30 years. Such technology is utilised worldwide, including in ground-breaking developments close to home, such as those at the Bristol Robotics Lab, in autonomous vehicles, 3D printing, the Internet of Things and quantum computing.
We know that exploration, understanding, and progression, in continuance of human endeavour, is reason in itself to continue doing so, but we also know that research, development and innovation (R, D&I) drives long-term economic prosperity. The benefits are numerous, from increased, better quality jobs to improved services and productivity. We need to exploit the clear strengths we have to ensure more local entrepreneurs and businesses succeed and stay in the West of England to innovate, develop & commercialise.
We envisage ERDF will enable businesses to identify and fill new market opportunities, to invest in research and development, and to develop or embrace new ways of delivering their products and services. Projects will draw on national and local strengths, as defined in Smart Specialisation strategies. Such a strategy is currently being developed for the West of England. The Smart Specialisation strategy for England can be found here.
ERDF Investment Priorities under Priority Axis 1 are as follows:
1a – Enhancing research and innovation (R&I) infrastructure and capacities to develop R&I excellence, and promoting centres of competence, in particular those of European interest.
1b – Promoting business investment in R&I;
Developing links and synergies between enterprises, research and development centres and the Higher Education sector, in particular promoting investment in product and service development, technology transfer, social innovation, eco-innovation, public service applications, demand stimulation, networking, clusters and open innovation through smart specialisation;
- Supporting technological and applied research, pilot lines, early product validation actions, advance manufacturing capabilities and first production, in particular in key enabling technologies and diffusion of general purpose technologies.
Calls and current position
A call for applications delivering under Priority Axis 1 was released on Friday 17 March 2017 and closes on the 13 May 2017, the Call Specification can be found here.
The following projects successfully secured ERDF funding in 2016 and are now live:
IEP Innovation Enterprise Programme
The Innovation and Enterprise Programme (IEP) will be delivered by the University of the West of England, Bristol (UWE), and consists of two distinct, complementary strands of activity:
- The Centre for Graduate Entrepreneurship (CGE) will support graduate led Small to Medium Enterprises (SMEs) (any graduate within three years of graduation based in the West of England LEP area) in carrying out research and development projects, retaining and nurturing graduate talent to form and grow innovative businesses in LEP priority sectors through pre-commercial incubation.
- The Innovation 4 Growth (I4G) funding scheme, which builds on UWE’s successful track record of supporting (SMEs) to innovate and grow through innovation, development funding, and support, helping create new to market products and services, SME growth and jobs in the innovation economy within the area.
HTH Health Technology Hub
The Health Technology Hub delivered by Bristol UWE, will provide a world-class resource supporting technology development for the advancement of independent living and home-based diagnostics, instigating collaboration and stimulating activity to provide an effective arena for research and innovation.
This will be achieved by synergistically combining expertise relating to West of England smart specialisations from partner organisations - creating a vibrant, interdisciplinary mix of knowledge and skills to support business in bringing to market new solutions to health/social care issues. As a consequence, the health and well-being of the population will be improved, health/social care budgets will be reduced and regional economic growth will be enhanced.