To develop exciting business opportunities and boost local economies
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 the globally-recognised 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 investigative and action-focused
‘Innovation Collaboratories’ to collectively 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.
The groundbreaking project is supported
by Lancashire County Council and Blackpool Council, through £448,235 funding from the UK Government’s Community
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
“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.”
The two latest Innovation
Catalyst programmes are designed and delivered by Lancaster University, in
partnership with Blackpool Council and Lancashire County Council. They follow
recent successful catalysts by the University’s Centre for Global
Eco-Innovation and Cumbria Innovations Platform (CUSP).
The two latest programmes –
launching this March – will focus on:
- 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.
Councillor Jane Hugo, cabinet
member for climate change at Blackpool Council said: “It’s important for
Blackpool to explore all the potential and exciting opportunities the emerging
digital and renewable sectors can bring to the town, especially in terms of
new, long-term skilled employment for our local community. It is equally
important to recognise and harness the green possibilities wherever we can in
any new developing sector, making sustainable choices for the future, that will
help us to reduce our carbon footprint and to reach our goal of being carbon
neutral by 2030.
“The Innovation Catalyst
initiative is an excellent way for like-minded individuals from both public and
private sectors to pool their creative resources and ideas in order to find new
ways of regeneration for the future and we look forward to seeing the
County Councillor Aidy Riggott,
cabinet member for economic development and growth at Lancashire County
Council, added: “The Innovation Catalyst being piloted by Lancaster
University will bring the public and private sectors together to share their
transform productivity and growth in the local economy.
“This is exactly the kind of
project that will support levelling up in the Government’s Priority Places of
Blackpool, Burnley, Pendle and Rossendale.”