Lancashire businesses to take part in innovation catalyst projects

Lancashire businesses are set to take part in innovation catalyst projects

By Tim Gavell
Thursday, 17th March 2022, 4:55 am
Updated Saturday, 19th March 2022, 5:13 pm

Lancaster University is piloting two new place-based business innovation initiatives to bring leaders together to come up with solutions to some of society’s biggest challenges.

The fully-funded Innovation Catalyst programme has been designed by Lancaster University Management School and is aimed at dynamic organisations interested in collaborating with academic and industry experts to develop effective long-term solutions around clean growth and secure digitalisation for their industries.

Over a four-month period, the invited business leaders will work on a series of schemes to map out their shared geographical challenges and innovation needs. Student talent will be a key resource to unlocking new ideas, while Innovation Fellows will identify appropriate access to University expertise and facilities to help make the plans a reality.

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Some of the firms taking part in the Innovation Catalyst

The project is supported by Lancashire County Council and Blackpool Council, through £448,235 funding from the UK Government’s Community Renewal Fund.

Christopher Lowerson, Community Renewal Fund Programme Manager at Lancaster University, said: “The Innovation Catalyst is unlike any programme we have run before. It is not a content-led workshop concept, but is something more unique.

“We create a stimulating environment for carefully-selected business leaders who have the desire to innovate and be at the forefront of creating an exciting future for their region. We let them drive the conversation, but bring relevant stakeholders and other experts in at key points to inject new knowledge, fresh ideas, stimulate thinking, challenge and share the latest research – which helps facilitate and accelerate innovation.

“When we ran our initial Innovation Catalyst programme in Cumbria, in the space of a few short months we were seeing an ecosystem start to form of businesses, industry experts, academics, and support service providers which, in time, should have the resilience and ability to solve both individual and shared challenges.”

County Coun Aidy Riggott

The two latest Innovation Catalyst programmes are designed and delivered by Lancaster University, in partnership with Blackpool Council and Lancashire County Council.

They are:

Bringing together key stakeholders to form a taskforce which can identify challenges and accelerate the development of a net carbon zero data centre in Blackpool, to drive economic growth.

Build resilient, sustainable innovation ecosystems in the manufacturing and engineering sectors across Lancashire, particularly focussing on challenges posed by the net carbon zero agenda and cyber security threats.

County Councillor Aidy Riggott, cabinet member for economic development and growth at Lancashire County Council, said: “The Innovation Catalyst being piloted by Lancaster University will bring the public and private sectors together to share their expertise and transform productivity and growth in the local economy.”

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