• Access to Innovation Ecosystem

    Access to Innovation Ecosystem

    An innovative idea needs assets and knowledge to get it to market.

    We can connect you with research expertise and specialist equipment from five universities – Durham, Newcastle, Northumbria, Sunderland and Teesside – to help you access knowledge and facilities which will support you quickly through the product development process.

    In Durham, we also have four national centres in Healthcare PhotonicsFormulation, Graphene Applications and Printable Electronics which contain a wealth of equipment and expertise to help you prototype and scale up your product without the need for large capital investment before you know it works.

    These centres take the risk out of the product development process by working with SMEs and large companies to help them develop new concepts to market. All of them are managed by CPI, the UK’s national technology and innovation centre to serve and support the process manufacturing industries.

    CPI is also part of the High Value Manufacturing Catapult, the catalyst for the future growth and success of manufacturing in the UK.

    Did you know? NETPark is the only science park in the UK to have two Catapult Centres. The other is the North East Satellite Applications Centre of Excellence, funded by the Satellite Applications Catapult and UK Space Agency.

    Read on below for a list of support in the North East:


    North East Business and Innovation Centre

    SME Innovation Programme

    The NE SME Innovation Programme tackles perceived barriers to innovation by helping SMEs understand and undertake the innovation process, facilitating access to expertise and enabling them to achieve sustained growth through commercial success.

    Financial support in the form of an SME innovation grant to leverage expertise which bridges capabilities and lessens the risk associated with the innovation process, resulting in an increase of one or more of the following:

    • Broadening product base
    • Introduction of a new service
    • Introduction of a new market
    • Innovative approaches to operating methods
    • Better use of new technology
    • Increasing sustainability. Read more

    RTC North

    The Innovation Pathway

    The Innovation Pathway increases the competitiveness of North East SMEs operating in or around the healthcare sector. It delivers a programme of support for the uptake and /or commercialisation of new products, processes and intellectual property identified within the North East NHS Trusts. Read more

    Innovate2Succeed (Enhancing Management Innovation Capacity in SMEs)

    Innovate2Succeed (i2s) provides tailored support to SMEs to help them enhance their innovation management capability, resulting in increased effectiveness in generating and commercially exploiting their ideas. Beneficiaries undergo an in-depth diagnostic assessment of their business and a bespoke package of support is designed and delivered to embed innovation management capability within the company. Read more


    North East Business and Innovation Centre

    North East Innovation Supernetwork

    The Innovation Supernetwork enhances innovation activity in the region by increasing collaborative working between clusters and networks, promoting best practice in innovation support amongst these clusters and networks, strengthening the area’s innovation profile and supporting collaborative, cross-sector innovation projects involving North East SMEs.

    The Innovation Supernetwork uses conferences, online tools and expert advice to facilitate the development of a collaborative innovation culture in the area, allowing North East businesses to become involved in larger and more impactful innovation projects which will accelerate their growth and generate economic benefit for the North East. Read more


    Centre for Process Innovation

    Emerging Electronics Manufacturing Centre

    This programme supports the design, development, testing and commercialisation of interactive (smart), industrial and consumer products. The Emerging Electronic Manufacturing Centre brings together investors, entrepreneurs, SMEs, large corporates and universities to establish collaborative partnerships, address manufacturing challenges and exploit the opportunities offered by the emerging ‘Internet of Things’. Read more

    Centre for Innovative Formulation

    The Centre supports regional/national formulation SMEs to extract additional value from enhanced engineered surfaces and materials. Products can be improved in five ways:

    1. Improving the product per se
    2. Enhancing shelf life/ stability
    3. Enhancing manufacturability
    4. Making products more easily used by end customers
    5. Enabling substitution of sustainable component raw materials.

    Dedicated innovation expertise covers the concepts of segmentation, routes to market, proposition definition and competitive advantage. Assistance with technical and patent literature surveys will also be offered. Read more


    Newcastle University

    Creativity Works

    Creative and cultural SMEs are typically agile and adaptive but are often constrained by scale and resources. Creativity Works utilises expertise from four universities to embed innovation potential, processes and know-how within North East creative and cultural SMEs, enabling growth and fostering best practice; exploits the potential for creative and innovation spillover, driving collaboration between creative and cultural SMEs and emerging areas including manufacturing, data and health. Read more


    Arrow – Innovation Support

    Arrow is your gateway to the wealth of knowledge at four world-class universities, Durham University, Newcastle University, Northumbria University and the University of Sunderland. It links businesses with knowledge and research to help foster success in our region.

    Businesses supported by Arrow are matched with the expertise and university best suited to your project’s requirements. Whether you’re looking for testing facilities, scientific insights or a research partner, Arrow will help you access the bespoke support you need and to unlock innovation and accelerate your pathway to success.

    Arrow short innovation projects are fully-funded and open to businesses based in County Durham, North Tyneside, Newcastle and Northumberland. It has already helped over 150 businesses in the region innovate, and new funding means that more businesses of all sizes can access a wider range of expertise from across four leading universities. Organisations who have previously undertaken an Arrow project are also able to apply again.

    If you have any kind of data-related challenge, ask us for help. We have a great track record supporting businesses by connecting them with the National Innovation Centre for Data (NICD) at Newcastle University. Further resources can be found at Durham University too – we’ll find exactly the right expertise to help you. But we can also tap into all sorts of other expertise and facilities across the Universities and their associated business schools.

    Arrow is part-funded by the UK Government through the UK Shared Prosperity Fund with the North of Tyne Combined Authority and Durham County Council as the lead authority in their respective areas.

    If your business is ready to innovate, and based in County Durham or North or Tyne, then get in touch with Arrow to discuss your ideas or projects and to see if Arrow is the right fit for you. Find out more https://arrowinnovation.org.uk

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