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Regional Strategic Prioritisation Criteria

The WMCA set out to fund a variety of projects across different technologies, technological maturities, markets and cluster areas and targeting businesses at different scales and stages of growth.

WMCA worked in parallel with Innovate UK. The West Midlands (though Innovation Board processes and the Economic Growth Board) determined the projects that will be funded. In doing so, the West Midlands built upon assurance by Innovate UK about deliverability and value for money, determining regional priorities using the bespoke criteria below shaped by the Innovation Board.

A West Midlands Selection Panel selected a balanced portfolio of projects which passed the Innovate UK threshold and scored highly on regional prioritisation. The recommended balanced portfolio of projects was presented to the Innovation Board for endorsement.
The WMCA Assurance Team supported by members of the Economy Team used the below strategic criteria to score the proposals.

1.1 Regional Economy (40%)

  • The project is of sufficient scale to deliver significant economic impact.
  • The project aligns with the West Midlands Plan for Growth and the details and opportunities identified as strategic priorities in ideation workshops.
  • The project is clear about its target SME business base and approach – such as business start-ups and/or established firms; certain sizes or locations.
  • The project will deliver/develop an increase in capacity and capability to perform R&D within the West Midlands with evidence of commercial growth and economic impact.
  • The project positively helps level-up economic performance in the West Midlands and supports inclusive growth across the region.
  • The project is clear about how it delivers additional local and regional benefits by aligning with existing public sector R&D activity.

1.2 National Economy (10%)

  • The project credibly contributes to nationally significant innovation activity or enhances/enables delivery from a nationally significant innovation asset in the West Midlands.
  • The project demonstrates support for national innovation priorities, and complements and/or levers national Research Development & Innovation activity.
  • The project enhances the UK and West Midlands opportunity to secure foreign direct investment or trade opportunities and it is clear how these will be leveraged.

1.3 Societal Challenges Across the Region (10%)

  • The project helps the region tackle wider societal challenges, such as:

  • The #WM2041 commitment to be carbon neutral by 2041.
  • Addressing inequalities identified by the Race Equality Taskforce.
  • Addressing established inequalities including those for women, disabled people and people from disadvantaged socio-economic backgrounds in the West Midlands.
  • The project demonstrates a long-term, large-scale commercial/ market opportunity for the West Midlands, with strong business commitment.
  • The project describes how it will sustain its activities, impacts and track benefits beyond the timescales of the Innovation Accelerator pilot.
  • The project outlines how it will leverage private sector or further public sector funding beyond any match funding.
  • The project will use business and public institutions in the West Midlands to enhance project outcomes and deliverables. As appropriate, this may also apply to partners outside of the West Midlands with justification.
  • The project contributes to the strategic plans of more than one partner to increase R&D excellence and lever further public R&D investment in the West Midlands.
  • The project has considered how it will align with and complement the region’s existing research, development and innovation assets and programmes.