West Midlands Innovation Accelerator
West Midlands Innovation Accelerator
About the West Midlands Innovation Accelerator
Announced in the Government’s 2022 Levelling up White Paper, The West Midlands Innovation Accelerator serves the purpose of forging a new co-design relationship between the region and Government, ensuring the region benefits from the commitment to increase in overall UK public Research and Development (R&D) funding to £20bn by 2024/5.
The Innovation Accelerator will be funded through a share of a new £100m fund, to be divided by three regional Innovation Accelerators over the next three years, to bolster the region’s innovation and R&D capability and capacity to spark commercial growth and investment.
“To accelerate the growth of regional clusters of excellence in HealthTech & MedTech and CleanTech, delivered through the exploitation of applied and translational research; the application of regional strengths in engineering, manufacturing and advanced computing; and supported by a robust regional innovation framework”
The Innovation Accelerator will be used to accelerate our region’s engineering R&D and Innovation strengths that lie at the very heart of our universities, economy and our manufacturing supply chains, pivoting them to springboard the growth industries of the future. By precision-injection of resources and expertise into just the right economic spaces we will stimulate and mobilise vibrant clusters of highest growth potential as force multipliers.
The West Midlands Innovation Accelerator will:
- be focused on specific clusters of comparative advantage identified in the West Midlands Plan for Growth.
- support cross-sector R&D and innovation. This means using the region’s strengths in R&D – particularly in engineering and advanced manufacturing – but helping to stimulate applied and translational R&D in diversified fields and grow private R&D investment.
- position the region on the global scale as a beacon for Foreign Direct Investment.
- provide a sustainable framework for building innovation capability and capacity.
- be driven by market demand with strong private sector business leadership.
The West Midlands Innovation Board (WMIB) is responsible for developing and coordinating the plans for the Innovation Accelerator and supporting the delivery of those plans throughout the pilot period and beyond by deciding the local objectives for the IA, helping select priority projects and monitoring the regional impact of those interventions.
The WMCA ran 2 ideation workshops to provide partners the opportunity to provide market validation of the Innovation Accelerator intervention requirements.
You can access the workshop presentation below:
Aligning with the West Midlands Plan for Growth, the Innovation Accelerator will build on our Manufacturing and Engineering strengths and be focused on two key areas:
HealthTech and MedTech
- HealthTech: prevention, monitoring of wellbeing, mental health, and telehealth. Which includes wearables, software applications, data, connectivity, AI (Artificial Intelligence) and in practice management.
- MedTech: equipment, medical devices, machines, diagnostics, software, and tools. Better treatments and improvements on things like laser surgery and managing patient health journeys.
The 4 Ds should be considered - Data, Diagnostics, Digital health, and Devices:
- Data to prevent illness, enhance wellness and quality of life and optimise the effectiveness of interventions, using datasets to design, test and commercialise innovation.
- Diagnostics, personally targeted and digitally enabled care is growing (in part as an effect of the pandemic) and will continue to do so.
- Digital Health, trials of Artificial Intelligence (supported by 5G) and expertise to navigate the regulatory framework.
- Medical device manufacturers are increasingly using AI to better assist healthcare
The West Midlands Plan for Growth describes the opportunity to create additional growth of £400m - £430m by 2030, meaning a further 5,300 to 5,900 jobs.
CleanTech covers a wide range of technologies and applications, and the Innovation Accelerator will support the region to develop its R&D capability and capacity to spark growth and deliver our net zero ambitions.
Clean Tech: products, processes, or services (and associated supply chains) which reduce or eliminate:
- Emissions to the environment
- Use of natural resources (whilst often harnessing sources of renewable energy)
CleanTech is distinct but complimentary to industrial decarbonisation. The West Midlands Plan for Growth covers specialist aspects of CleanTech including:
- Manufacturing of future housing/buildings, with potential to add an addition £220m to £320m and around 3,500 jobs by beating the average growth profile for UK by 1%, through focus on sustainable construction methods.
- Low carbon utilities, with potential to add £420 to £470m and 4,500 jobs by becoming the UK’s leading region in growth profile, utilising existing strengths and productivity, and adopting green technologies at a faster rate than rest of the country.
Next Steps & Timeline
- Expressions of Interest closed on 1 August 2022.
- EOIs will be filtered to ensure that they align with the overall objectives of the Innovation Accelerator and clearly address challenges in the clusters of focus.
- During August, the WMCA, supporting the Innovation Board, will encourage collaboration, mutual alignment and avoid duplication where possible in the EOIs.
- Following this stage stakeholders will be asked to develop their EOIs into fully costed proposals based on IUK criteria, between early September and the end of October.
- IUK will assess proposals in November.
- The Innovation Board and Economic Growth Board will decide at the beginning of December which proposals which pass the IUK assessment will be funded by the Innovation Accelerator.
- Successful projects will begin in quarter 1 of 2023 and must be completed by end of March 2025.
If you have any questions related to the Innovation Accelerator programme, please email Iain Mansell, at: Iain.Mansell@wmca.org.uk.