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Science-industry-government collaboration wins initial support for Mersey Basin proposal

If successful, proposal could deliver up to £50 million investment

Thursday, 21 March: Industry, local government and science are joining forces to improve productivity and jobs growth in the North West.

The “Mersey Basin” collaboration has won £50,000 seed funding from the Government’s Industrial Strategy to help develop a full bid for up to £50 million.

The project focusses on the M56/M62 corridor, stretching from the Liverpool City Region, Cheshire & Warrington through to Manchester, which has a high concentration of materials-based companies and significant numbers of small-and-medium sized companies.

Although the region includes world-class facilities in new materials, digital manufacturing, high performance computing and artificial intelligence, overall productivity is lower than the national average, and local supply chains are under-developed.

“The Mersey Basin project wants to link these assets in a better way, to help companies improve the use of new techniques to boost productivity and create jobs,” said Alison Kennedy, the lead for the bid and Director of the Hartree Centre at the UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) Daresbury Laboratory.

“The initial seed corn funding announced today will be used to further map and engage companies in the targeted industry sectors, to identify what specific innovation-led interventions would most effectively meet their future business growth needs.”

She said the project would use artificial intelligence tools to improve both the design and production process of highly complex materials. It would focus on five materials sub-sectors: sustainable solutions in Fast Moving Consumer Goods and packaging;  smart coatings and sensors;  energy; medicines/biofilms, and; advanced manufacturing.

Funding is provided through UKRI’s Strength in Places Fund, established as part of the Industrial Strategy. The Mersey Basin project, and others, will submit their final bids in late 2019.

The project partners include the Hartree Centre at Daresbury, the University of Liverpool, IBM Research, the Henry Royce Institute, the University of Manchester and the Alan Turing Institute.

More information about all 24 projects funded by Strength in Places can be found on the UKRI site.

Last updated: 21 March 2019

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