£2 million investment for North West materials and manufacturing R&D

£100,000 R&D funding could be available to advanced materials and manufacturing start- ups, companies and entrepreneurs in the North West through a £2 million launchpad competition announced by the Technology Strategy Board (TSB), in partnership with the Science and Technology Facilities Council (STFC). The competition opens to applications Monday 4 March.

Designed to accelerate new business projects and their commercial success, the funding competition will stimulate small start up businesses centred around the cluster of materials and manufacturing industries at Sci-Tech Daresbury and at the Knowledge Centre for Materials Chemistry at the Runcorn Heath Business and Technical Park.

The competition aims to draw investment and people with innovative ideas into the area, encouraging networking and strengthening this growing cluster of businesses. It is open to applicants who are either located in, plan to move in to or start up in one of the clusters, or who are collaborating with a company already in one of the clusters.

Each cluster has a ‘Cluster Champion’, chosen by the TSB, which will be responsible for delivering business support to successful applicants. 

As its chosen Cluster Champion, STFC, through its Daresbury Laboratory, will deliver business support services to those applying for the North West Materials and Manufacturing launchpad. As part of its support to these businesses STFC will:

• Deliver an investment readiness programme to ensure projects are ready to attract funding, culminating in a pitching event to investors
• Work with applicants to look at what technology gaps they have and identify whether these can be filled via STFC or other research institutions
• Identify what facilities they will need to access to take forward their concept to market
• Provide training and mentoring on key business issues
• Provide access to a comprehensive network of campus and innovation partners

As part of the scheme, successful applicants will be required to secure match funding within a 12 month period to receive their grant from TSB, and they will be supported throughout this process by STFC.

Paul Vernon, Head of Campus Development at STFC, said: “Using our own business support expertise and research facilities, we will be working with organisations across the cluster to ensure that entrepreneurs and small businesses are in the best possible position to accelerate the growth of their project or idea.  A key part of this will be delivering an investment readiness programme and funding event to provide an opportunity for entrepreneurs to pitch their ideas to potential investors.”

“Importantly, for applicants that have not been successful, we will also be identifying how we can help them accelerate their business ideas to ensure maximum impact from STFC’s capabilities and expertise.”

Nigel Walker, TSB’s Access to Finance Lead, said: “Many innovative ideas for high-tech products or services fail early on through lack of either funding or access to the necessary facilities and business expertise. Partnering with STFC and others enables the TSB to not only provide the much-needed funding to bring these innovative business ideas closer to market,  but to ensure they get the additional support and skills they need to make their commercial idea a success and contribute to economic growth and job creation in the UK.”

STFC has a clear track record in supporting early stage businesses through its Innovations Technology Access Centre, as well as its management of both the CERN and the European Space Agency’s business incubation centres in the UK and its own innovation vouchers and funding schemes. 

Sci-Tech Daresbury is a national science and innovation campus regarded as one of Europe’s leading centres for innovation and business. It assumed official status in April 2012 as one of the UK Government’s flagship Enterprise Zones and is now home to more than 110 thriving start-up businesses, several of which have chosen to relocate to Daresbury from overseas. The Knowledge Centre for Materials Chemistry coordinates, develops and exploits cutting-edge research in materials chemistry, providing fast track industry access to world leading research facilities knowledge, and has delivered more than 60 collaborative projects with STFC and other leading research institutions in the past 4 years.

The materials and manufacturing Launchpad builds on the success of the TSB’s £1.25 million investment in London’s tech and digital hub, Tech City in 2011, and there are plans for a series of digital and creative clusters across the UK.  This includes a Space Cluster at Harwell Campus, which is already underway, in which STFC is also the Cluster Champion.

The competition for the materials and manufacturing North West Launchpad opens on 4 March and closes on 17 April 2013. 

Interested applicants need to complete a short form and submit a two-minute video describing their project idea.

There will be a briefing session for interested parties at Daresbury Laboratory on 19 March.

For more information please visit the TSB’s _Connect website (link opens in a new window) or contact STFC’s Martin Morlidge at 01925 603614.


Further information

Interested applicants can sign up to a Launchpad group (link opens in a new window).

A webinar will also be held Thursday 7 March. To register interest please email maureen.laughton@ciktn.co.uk.



Wendy Ellison

STFC Press Officer
Tel: 07557 317200
If you have an urgent out of hours enquiry, please call the duty press officer on 07092 982664.

Further information on the Knowledge Centre for Materials Chemistry can be viewed here (link opens in a new window).  

Sci-Tech Daresbury

Sci-Tech Daresbury is a world class location for high-tech business and leading edge science based in Cheshire.  It provides a unique environment for innovation and business growth, with knowledge sharing, collaboration and networking. Home to the ground-breaking STFC Daresbury Laboratory and the Cockcroft Institute as well as over 100 high-tech companies, the site was originally established in 2006. In December 2010 a new private-public joint-venture partnership was created to spearhead the longer-term development of the Campus. Partners in the private-public joint-venture partnership are developers, Langtree, the Science and Technology Facilities Council (STFC), and Halton Borough Council.

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Last updated: 09 September 2015


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