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Funding awarded for innovation projects

Nearly £10m of funding has been awarded to organisations in the Marches to develop innovative projects tackling issues as diverse as sustainability, an ageing population and Covid challenges.

Innovate UK approved nearly 30 projects for the funding in 2020/21, with the majority awarded for business-led innovation in response to the global disruption caused by the pandemic.

One of the largest awards made nationally was for a collaborative project led by Veolia, which will result in the development of the UK's first dedicated recycling line for trays and non food bottles, unlocking the UK tray recycling capability. The project was awarded £34.7m and will take place over 3 years.

The figures were revealed today by the Marches Local Enterprise Partnership’s business support service, the Marches Growth Hub (MGH). The MGH works with Innovate UK to promote funding for research and development projects in Herefordshire, Shropshire and Telford & Wrekin.

LEP Access to Finance champion Paul Kalinauckas said Innovate UK funding was vital to developing and delivering projects which make a real difference to regional economies and communities.

“Nearly 30 different projects secured funding in our region tackling issues such as an ageing society, health and nutrition, waste in manufacturing,  home learning and working during the pandemic and innovation in medtech and healthcare in direct response to the Covid crisis.

“It is fantastic to see not just the innovation being explored in these projects, but also the wider economic, social and environmental challenges which are being addressed.

“This is just one of a huge number of finance programmes and opportunities the Marches LEP and Marches Growth Hub help support which can provide companies with much-needed funding to drive growth.”

Telford software development company Bronze Labs is behind the Tribe Project – which won nearly £50,000 for a collaborative bid to develop technology to support the co-ordination of volunteers and communities during the Covid lockdown.

Richard Howells, managing director of Bronze Labs, said: “Our proposal centred on a digital approach to facilitate the scaling of 'trusted' community groups which responded to COVID-19 community demand. The focus was on providing a solution to facilitate coordination, planning and action of broad spectrum community need between voluntary organisations and local government.”

The company developed app technology to categorise and ultimately predict the movement of community 'need' across society through use of machine learning. The Tribe Project has used the technology to support and co-ordinate volunteer efforts including reaching vulnerable members of society during the Covid lockdowns.

Other successful funded projects include:

Pictured: Richard Howells, MD, Bronze Labs