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Innovation Accelerator Q & A

Programme Management

How many EoIs were received and how many have moved onto the next stage?

In total 60 Expressions of Interests (EoIs) were received from identified areas of interest – HealthTech/ MedTech, CleanTech & Building. 35 applications have successfully moved onto the next stage.

How the Innovation Accelerator funding will be distributed?

This funding opportunity will not be subject to Innovate UK’s normal process. Proposals will be assessed on whether they exceed a quality threshold. Following the assessment process, the West Midlands Innovation Board and Innovate UK will select a portfolio of projects from those which best deliver the IA partnership plan.

The Innovation Board will seek to create a balanced portfolio of projects with a spread between the Cluster areas.

Innovate UK managed project in the past had very little flexibility over activities, timelines and spend. Will they be more flexible with IA projects?

The scope of the West Midlands IA has been developed by the West Midlands Innovation Board through the West Midlands IA Plan.

The list of eligible IA activities is extremely broad. The list below is subject to change, but as of 20/09 draft, your project can focus on one or more of the following:

  • research commercialisation

  • support to spin-outs and start-ups, including for innovation investment

  • knowledge exchange and activities to support the adoption and diffusion of new knowledge, technologies, and processes used by businesses

  • research and innovation networking activities

  • talent and skills development for enhanced Research & Innovation

  • translational R&D carried out by either the research sector or businesses, including collaborative research and development (CR&D)

  • demonstration

  • underpinning infrastructure development; the need for new ‘centres’ will be challenged on the basis of forward sustainability, beyond this funding support

  • attracting R&D and innovation focused inward investment

The timeline for the IA programme is determined by the UK’s spending review period.

The maximum spend per enterprise is determined by the UK’s subsidy control rules, and a maximum cap per project is in place to ensure a portfolio of projects can be funded.

Will Innovate UK assessors be looking to align with the Levelling Up paper policies or regional economic needs?

Innovate UK assessors will assure the quality of the project, whereas the strategic fit is ensured by the project’s scope aligning to the West Midlands IA Plan developed by the West Midlands Innovation Board.

Levelling Up White Paper description of the IA heavily implied that region-based innovation support programmes such as Strength in Places future competitions. Is that still the UKRI/IUK thinking (at least within the current CSR timelines across all sectors)?

In this UK spending review period, there are no further rounds for funding for Strength in Places Fund.

What are the timescales for the delivery of the projects?

Successful applicants/projects as per current timelines will run from April-23 to March-25 (2 years).

What reporting structure will be required over the project lifecycle?

You may wish to review, “What happens if you are successful”

If successful, can projects start early?

The funding model agreed with government is for project spend to commence in April 2023