First 50 businesses in £9.8M Eco-Innovation Centre

Dr Matt Fulton: “Protecting the environment can make good business sense”

Fifty businesses have been selected to work intensively with university researchers and graduates on environmentally friendly products and services in a radical new research centre.

The Centre for Global Eco-Innovation is run by the University of Liverpool, Lancaster University and Inventya Ltd. The centre secured £4.9m from the North West Operational Programme for European Regional Development to provide research and development expertise to hundreds of the region’s businesses, bolster the region’s economy in key export markets and drive forward improvements in green technology and services.

Developing new products, processes and services

Each successful business has been matched with a graduate who will undertake a three-year programme of collaborative research to develop new products, processes and services for the global marketplace that have positive environmental benefits.

Some examples of research projects include:

* Energy saving in buildings through design, monitoring and advanced control techniques.
* Water improvement through techniques in catchment management, understanding and control of points of pollution.
*Materials savings through application of specialist manufacturing techniques and nanotechnology

The graduates are using these collaborations as the basis of a PhD programme of study starting October 2012.

The centre will also provide expert help to a further 235 regional businesses to develop new, greener products and services, resulting in significant savings in terms of greenhouse gas emissions, water, waste and energy, make measurable contributions to the region’s economic recovery and deliver a significant number of new jobs to the region.

Interdisciplinary range of expertise

Dr Matt Fulton, Project Manager at the University of Liverpool, said: “This is a great opportunity for the University to increase its reach into the local business community and firm up existing relationships; demonstrating research excellence can deliver real benefits to the SME community.

“Protecting the environment can make good business sense and we’ll be developing a wide range of environmental products and services designed to increase commercial competitiveness.  In only a couple of months we were oversubscribed with proposals from regional SMEs, highlighting that the regional business community is awash with ideas.

“Our graduate researchers will be working on a variety of projects spanning the School of Environmental Sciences, Engineering, Electrical Engineering and Electronics, Architecture, the Management School and Computer Science.   We are hoping that bringing together such a huge interdisciplinary range of expertise and experience will result in additional unforeseen benefits to the academic, commercial and environmental aspects of the research, cementing our position as a valuable resource to local industry.”

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