Innovation Birmingham to launch West Midlands Regional Innovation Centre

A new regional hub funded by Climate-KIC – Europe’s largest public-private partnership focused on tackling climate change – is being launched at the Innovation Birmingham Campus. The West Midlands Regional Innovation Centre will receive in excess of €1million of funding per annum, spread across a number of local initiatives.

Innovation Birmingham is creating five new jobs to run the Centre. Katharine Fuller has been recruited as Senior Project Manager for EU Projects to lead the new team, joining from her previous role as Birmingham City University’s EU Funding Manager.

The Centre’s main initiatives are; Pioneers into Practice – a grant-funded European exchange programme for low carbon specialists; the Low Carbon Accelerator Programme for start-up businesses; and a range of grant-funded education programmes aimed at students, professionals and organisations.

200 people are registered to attend the launch of the West Midlands Regional Innovation Centre at the Innovation Birmingham Campus, which is being held on Thursday 6th March 2014 as part of the UK’s Climate Week initiative. The launch event will showcase the range of initiatives and provide information about how to access the available funding and support.

Dr David Hardman MBE, CEO of Innovation Birmingham said: “Since the closure of Advantage West Midlands, we have been lobbying our European partners to increase the amount of funding for climate change initiatives across the West Midlands. We are delighted to have secured over €1million per annum to allocate across a number of low carbon projects, which will support the work of organisations, professionals and students.”

The West Midlands Regional Innovation Centre is one of six across Europe that are working to develop the low carbon economy within their regions. The other Regional Innovation Centres are located in; Valencia (Spain); Emilia Romagna (Italy); Hessen (Germany); Lower Silesia (Poland) and Central Hungary. The Centres are supported through the Climate Knowledge Innovation Community (KIC) project, which receives funding from the European Commission through the European Institute for Innovation and Technology.

Katharine Fuller (pictured), Innovation Birmingham’s Senior Project Manager for EU Projects said: “The West Midlands Regional Innovation Centre will be a real asset to the city’s climate change agenda. Support and grants are available to assist start-ups – as well as larger organisations – to develop innovative low carbon products and services. In turn, the Pioneers into Practice exchange programme is focused on developing the skills and experience of those already working in the sector.

“The €1million per annum of funding that we’ve been able to secure for the West Midlands is a reflection of the rapid growth of the region’s sustainable energy market. The low carbon agenda is capturing the interest of serial entrepreneurs, as well as prompting industry professionals to step away from a corporate career path and start their own business. The initiatives and funding that will be available will have a wide reaching impact.”