Innovate UK announce £7.5M South West Marine and Maritime Launchpad funding to support innovation and growth
Maritime UK SW has announced that the Great South West, which covers Cornwall, Devon, Dorset, Somerset and the Isles of Scilly, has been chosen as the country’s Marine and Maritime Launchpad, recognising its leadership in the sector.
As part of the programme, the region is set to receive up to £7.5m of investment to drive innovation and business growth, building on its strengths in marine and maritime.
The Marine and Maritime Launchpad has been developed jointly by the Great South West and Maritime UK South West alongside regional partners (in its role as the programme board for the Great South West) and Innovate UK.
UK registered organisations can now apply for funding from Innovate UK for business-led projects that grow activities in the marine and maritime cluster in the Great South West. The competition for funding opens on 23 October 2023 and closes on 6 December 2023.
Kevin Forshaw, Chair of Maritime UK South West and Director of Industrial and Strategic Partnerships at University of Plymouth, said: “The innovation funding announced in the Great South West Marine and Maritime Launchpad is a fantastic opportunity to boost levels of innovation, exploiting what is already a world-class ocean economy cluster to create commercial solutions to the challenges facing our sector. I am proud to Chair the Maritime UK South West cluster, and help support government, industry and academia to collaborate and develop the South West regional economy, creating a cleaner, high growth, digitally enabled sector”.
Innovate UK’s Launchpads programme recognises industry clusters with the potential to deliver jobs, growth, and productivity, and unlocks funding from £15,000 to £1m, to support SMEs driving innovation in their area.
SMEs working in the region’s marine and maritime sectors are invited to enter a competition to secure funding from the programme. The competition opens on 23rd Oct.
Maritime UK South West are organising a free Marine and Maritime Launchpad briefing and networking event at Plymouth Marine Laboratory on 3 November. The event will provide briefings on how to apply with case studies from SW businesses and ample opportunity for Q&A and networking plus an option to join online. The event will also look at opportunities for the sector in decarbonisation and working across the region together to alleviate talent shortages.
To stay informed of subsequent Launchpad calls and briefings, the SW support offer for marine and maritime, events, skills and funding subscribe to the monthly Maritime UK SW Newsletter.
Indro Mukerjee, CEO of Innovate UK, said: “Innovate UK has been building strong regional partnerships across the UK to support local innovation and commercialisation. Today’s launch of the Marine and Maritime Launchpad is an important step and another example of active collaboration with regional partners to deliver growth and productivity through innovation.”
Find out more about the Launchpads programme and the Innovate UK briefing event: https://iuk.ktn-uk.org/programme/launchpads/
Paul Wickes MBE, CEO of Cornwall Marine Network, said: “As the business support delivery arm of Maritime UK South West, CMN is delighted with the £7 million investment by Innovate UK which will further boost marine innovation across Cornwall and the wider South West. The new Launchpad funding will provide significant opportunity for local businesses, many of whom have or are developing world-leading products, to capitalise on the outstanding progress achieved to date with previous marine technology funds. It will ensure that together this industry and academia partnership continues to develop, and commercialise new ideas and products that move the marine industry closer to net zero by 2050.”
Details of the Marine and Maritime Launchpad
- Funded by Innovate UK is designed to support outstanding innovation projects by businesses active, or growing activities, in the marine and maritime innovation cluster in the Great South West – this is defined as Cornwall & Isles of Scilly, Devon, Somerset and Dorset.
- The vision for the Launchpad is to create a global centre of excellence for the testing, development and manufacture of autonomy, digital and clean ocean technologies for the rapidly growing global ocean economy.
- This is one of eight regional Launchpads funded by Innovate UK this year, following successful pilots in the Liverpool City Region and Tees Valley clusters in 2022. The regional Launchpads align with the Government’s goals in the Levelling Up White Paper.
- Under the Launchpad, up to £7.5m is available in the region over three years. UK registered organisations can now apply for funding from Innovate UK for business-led projects that grow activities in the marine and maritime cluster in the Great South West.
- The competition for funding opens on 23 October 2023 and closes on 6 December 2023.
- Companies can choose to apply for two different types of funding: smaller-scale financial assistance for a single company (between £25k and £100k), or larger-scale collaborative research and development projects (between £150k and £1m) as part of a consortium. As part of the Launchpad, Innovate UK also invites bids for funding for managing each regional cluster.
- Projects under the Great South West Launchpad can focus on:
- Marine autonomy. Disruptive technology to replace traditional ship-based alternatives for equipment inspection and other marine monitoring operations and enhance safety of the seas
- Clean maritime. Achieving net zero through transition to alternative fuel powered vessels using energy from low or zero emission sources or highly efficient batteries, as well as integrating ports into a decarbonised energy network and supplying the fuels of the future.
- Digital ocean technologies. Leading sensor and communications technology advancement and their connectedness and interoperability, to inform offshore operation by enhancing our understanding of the ocean and any impact upon it
- The Marine and Maritime Launchpad is promoted in partnership with Cornwall & Isles of Scilly LEP, Heart of the South West LEP and Dorset LEP.
- The Great South West has a prominent marine and maritime sector, contributing £1,417m of GVA in 2019 and generating over 29,000 jobs. 25% of all UK marine manufacturing jobs are based here, with significant shipyards in Devonport, Appledore and Falmouth and supply chains across the area. Cluster strengths are anchored by the highest concentration of marine engineering in the UK. The region boasts the UK’s highest concentration of environmental scientists delivering ocean monitoring, digital and clean technologies.
- Maritime UK South West is an independent business, research government cluster, working in partnership with Cornwall Marine Network to represent the Great South West area. Maritime UK SW is a member of Maritime UK and acts as a national lead on innovation.
- The vision is to create a global centre of excellence for the testing, development and manufacture of autonomy, digital and clean ocean technologies in alignment with the priorities of the Ocean Futures partnership – a strong thematic cluster, creating a hotbed of innovation with an international reach.
More information and competition links: