Ten Greater Manchester projects will receive funding and support after being selected to become part of the city-region’s Innovation Accelerator programme.
Greater Manchester was asked by UK Government to pilot the Innovation Accelerator programme alongside Glasgow city-region and the West Midlands. The programme provides a total of £100m shared across the three regions, as well as support for developing each area’s innovation ecosystem.
The funding, awarded by the Department for Science, Innovation and Technology (DSIT), has been allocated to innovative projects in sectors where Greater Manchester has existing research strengths, including advanced materials, artificial intelligence (AI), diagnostics and health innovation, and net zero. Projects will support businesses with adopting new technologies and people developing new skills, while attracting private R&D investment, creating jobs and stimulating economic growth.
As part of the programme, the Innovation Greater Manchester board, a business-led partnership that brings together the private sector, academia and local government, has worked with Innovate UK and DSIT to select projects and co-design an Innovation Plan. This approach has empowered local business, civic and academic leaders to effectively target R&D funding for the benefit of the local economy and communities.
The projects receiving funding are:
Future Homes Project – The University of Salford – a partnership between industry and academia to use the unique facilities at Salford Energy House and Energy House 2.0 to develop net zero technologies for homes.
Greater Manchester Electro-chemical Hydrogen Cluster – Manchester Metropolitan University – building on the work of the Manchester Fuel Cell Innovation Centre to accelerate the development and adoption of clean and efficient electro-chemical hydrogen technologies.
Pilots for the Sustainable Materials Translational Research Centre (p-SMTRC) – Rochdale Development Agency – building on the world-class advanced materials research in Greater Manchester to provide sustainable materials for manufacturing supply chains.
Manchester Turing Innovation Hub (MTIH) – The University of Manchester – linking businesses to cutting-edge artificial intelligence (AI) research and technologies to help enhance their productivity.
Immersive Technologies Innovation Hub – The Landing at MediaCityUK – exploring applications for immersive technologies in the entertainment, education, health, built environment, and manufacturing sectors, helping businesses to design, develop and test new solutions for the metaverse.
DEVOTE Programme – The University of Manchester – a collaboration between industry, universities and healthcare professionals to support the development and implementation of time critical genomic testing technologies.
Energy Accelerator for Non-Domestic Buildings – The Growth Company – developing, testing and deploying net zero innovations to help commercial and public sector buildings to decarbonise.
Centre for Digital Innovation (CDI) – Manchester Metropolitan University – working across four technology strands – artificial intelligence (AI), cyber, industrial digitalisation (ID) and immersive technology (IT) – on R&D, skills development, business models for SMEs, and community outreach.
AR EdTech For Hydrogen Skills – Blair Project – an education technology (edtech) platform providing hydrogen skills training content for the manufacturing, construction, transport and energy sectors.
GM Advanced Diagnostics Accelerator – Health Innovation Manchester – a partnership between Health Innovation Manchester, Manchester University NHS Foundation Trust, and University of Manchester – a series of projects looking at Greater Manchester’s major morbidities (liver, heart and lung disease including lung cancer) in which academic and industry excellence from advanced diagnostics, digital and data will be brought together to improve health outcomes for residents.
Cllr Bev Craig, Leader of Manchester City Council and Greater Manchester’s Economy Lead, said:
“The Innovation Accelerator programme is a tremendous vote of confidence in the world-leading research that goes on across Greater Manchester’s innovation ecosystem.
“Rebalancing R&D spending is an important element of levelling up our national economy. Providing funding and support for regional innovation ecosystems will lead to higher levels of private sector investment, creating high-quality jobs and stimulating economic growth.”
Mayor of Greater Manchester, Andy Burnham, said:
“Greater Manchester’s selection as one of three Innovation Accelerator regions demonstrates the Government’s confidence in our innovation ecosystem. The projects being backed are undertaking world-leading research to address some of the biggest challenges we face.
“They also align with the sectors where Greater Manchester has emerging or established strengths, like advanced materials, artificial intelligence (AI) and diagnostics. We look forward to working with partners to ensure this funding supports the growth of our future industries and delivers greater prosperity for our people.”
The projects receiving Innovation Accelerator funding align with the four frontier sectors identified as key growth opportunities by the Greater Manchester Local Industrial Strategy – sustainable advanced materials and manufacturing, health innovation and life sciences, digital and creative, and net zero – and focus on the three “Technology Families”, as defined by the UK Innovation Strategy, where the city-region has clear comparative advantages.
Greater Manchester will use the Innovation Accelerator pilot to begin to deliver broader aims outlined in the Innovation Greater Manchester vision for sustainable and inclusive economic growth through innovation.
Lou Cordwell, Chair of the Greater Manchester Business Board (LEP), said:
“Innovation is in Greater Manchester’s DNA. Across three industrial revolutions we have been the birthplace of social and economic progress. Looking to the future, we have a critical role to play in the fourth industrial revolution and in Government’s plan for the UK to be a science and technology superpower.
“The Innovation Accelerator is significant step towards developing the innovation ecosystem we are trying to build in Greater Manchester. Our vision is for more high-quality jobs and more productive companies, ensuring that everyone in the city-region benefits from the economic growth created by innovation.”
Chris Oglesby, Chair of the Innovation Greater Manchester board, said:
“The breadth and quality of the ground-breaking innovation that goes on in Greater Manchester was clear to see in the bids we received for Innovation Accelerator funding. The projects selected will have a lasting impact, stimulating our innovation ecosystem so that the whole of the city-region benefits.
“We see the Innovation Accelerator as a catalyst for realising the wider Innovation Greater Manchester vision for good-quality jobs and better productivity across all parts of our city-region.”
Minister of State for Science Research & Innovation at DSIT George Freeman said:
“Through Record investment in our UK science, technology & innovation sectors, the Innovation Economy is creating new career opportunities in the campuses, clusters & companies of tomorrow.
“That’s why UKRI is putting clusters at the heart of its of its £25bn budget up to 2025, and why our £100m Innovation Accelerator Program provides £33m each to 3 emerging clusters to attract industrial co-investment and become major, globally competitive centres for research and innovation.
“The Greater Manchester Cluster is becoming a world class hub of R+D in AI and advanced computing, advanced manufacturing and Net Zero Cleantech and associated technologies.
“I’m delighted that local leaders have come together to use our £33m to launch such exciting programs with industry and Universities in this exciting area.”